Surrendering to Anti-Israelism

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Pressure from the political left has shaken the pro-Israel consensus that has historically existed within the American Jewish community.  This consensus has been attacked by such “luminaries” as former New Republic editor Peter Beinart for requiring progressive Jews, especially younger and generally less affiliated Jews, to “check their values at the door” when it comes to Israel.  At the same time, the pro-Israel consensus has also had to confront the assault from Jewish or Jewish-affiliated activist groups from the burgeoning BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) movement against Israel. In essence, the pro-Israel consensus has come under attack from both the soft and hard left.

The soft left is unhappy with Jewish settlements in the West Bank and considers them to be an obstacle to peace with the Palestinian Authority, which they maintain would be easily realizable if only Israel would agree to withdraw from most of the settlements.  While 60-plus years of history argues against this, the proponents of the “settlements are the real problem” view maintain they want to end Israel’s international isolation, and achieve the peace and security the nation and its citizens have always wanted.   An equally, if not more important, side benefit is that a resolution to the conflict would make Israel less of a lightning rod in the salons that the soft left calls home.

The hard left believes Israel is an apartheid state (much like the former South Africa), born in original sin in 1948-1949, with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were supposedly “driven out” during the war that accompanied the creation of the Jewish State. Additionally, Palestinians are now suffering through a “brutal occupation” (the words always go together) of the West Bank, now in its fifth decade, which was instituted following the Six Day War.

Recently, the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, convening in New Orleans last October, established a new initiative to fight the BDS movement.  It created the Israel Action Network. Martin Raffel, the senior vice president of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, and the new director of the IAN, described the initiative:

The project, which I am directing, will work alongside Israel and key organizational partners in the US and Canada, not only to stand up against anti-Israel initiatives, but also to anticipate and prepare for future challenges and actively promote a fair and balanced picture of the Middle East among key constituencies.

The General Assembly reportedly allocated $6 million to the IAN effort, not an inconsiderable sum, given the funding issues described earlier.

Now comes word that the IAN has made a decision as to the organizations that fit under the umbrella of its anti-BDS movement efforts.   In a statement late last week, Raffel offered the following:

In my judgment, those groups that are unwilling to support the Jewish people’s right to build a national homeland in Israel — i.e., recognition of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state — place themselves outside the Jewish mainstream and cannot reasonably be seen as allies in our effort to counter the growing assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

But what to think about Zionists on the political left who have demonstrated consistent concern for Israel’s security, support Israel’s inalienable right to exist as a Jewish democratic state, and consider Israel to be the eternal home of the Jewish people — but have decided to express their opposition to specific policies of the Israeli government by refraining from participating in events taking place in the West Bank or purchasing goods produced there? I vigorously would argue that such actions are counter-productive in advancing the cause of peace based on two states that they espouse, a goal that we share. But this is not sufficient cause to place them outside the tent.

As the Reut Institute report on delegitimization stresses, it is these activists from the Zionist left who are best positioned to advocate to their liberal friends, who by all rights should be supportive of Israel as the region’s most democratic and most supportive society of women’s, LGBT, labor, and minority rights[.]

In essence, the Raffel statement acknowledged that there are two classes of BDS supporters — “good” boycotters and “bad” boycotters. The good boycotters need to be welcomed within the community’s big tent, since they share the broader Jewish community’s consensus view of Israel — i.e., good boycotters supposedly have “demonstrated consistent concern for Israel’s security, support Israel’s inalienable right to exist as a Jewish democratic state, and consider Israel to be the eternal home of the Jewish people.”  If such boycotters exist as Raffel articulates, I have yet to find them or hear from them.  In fact, the category of “good boycotters” is relatively indistinguishable from the “bad boycotters” when it comes to events and campaigns targeting Israel.

Raffel also argues that these acceptable boycotters are needed within the big community tent in order to help persuade the more hardline leftists that Israel deserves their support (for example, because of women’s rights, LGBT issues, labor, and minority rights).  Presumably, if the bad boycotters (the delegitimizers of Israel) were educated by other progressives about all the progressive features of Israel’s society, then the bad boycotters could be persuaded to move along the political continuum, maybe even becoming good boycotters themselves.

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  • waterwillows

    Once the Lord has made a decision, it does not matter about the 'good' or the 'bad' boycotts from anyone. The decision has been made and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Things will proceed EXACTLY as the Lord intends.
    There is much puffed up self importance that always brings its own downfall with it. A couple of companion travellers, those two.

  • sydchaden

    Jews are principally located in two parts of the world; the USA and Israel. The location is not accidental. The USA and Israel are the two places in the world where Jews may live in relative safety. However, while the Israeli Jews live under the threat of destruction by Muslim countries, such as Iran, Jews in the USA are not subjected to such threats. Liberal American Jews generally favor one-worldism, assuming that they could live in comfort and be accepted as world citizens. But, the one-world that they wish to live in is a world in which Israel is not welcome, and which is hostile toward Israel. This is why liberal American Jews are not outright Israel supporters, and join anti-Israel movements.

    • Barb

      Very insightful and 100% correct. I am a gay Jew, who is politically conservative (Yes, that’s what I said). I do not hide my support of Israel when discussing political issues with people. Coincidence? I think not. I have nothing to be ashamed of, regarding any part of my being, and that goes for my support of Israel. Liberal Jews are an enigma to me. I am ever puzzled how they can see the world as one that would welcome them. I know liberals tend to see the world as they wished it to be, but liberal Jews take it to a level that is beyond denial – it's full-blown delusion. As a result, they have sold their souls, and won’t realize it until they’re being herded onto a train to nowhere.

  • amos

    The leftist Jews for a Second Holocaust are the backbone of the BDS Klan

  • Jim

    For those Jews who of the "We can all get along ideology" they should all be honored with fine homes on Palastinian nearby lands. They would be with out IDF or police protection should the exact their friendly charms on the Palestinians
    At no time could they call on Israeli protections. Then they could prove their point and we could all agree. If not then they are wrong. No one would want to make their mistake.

  • Jim

    Better to boycott Chinese good.s It would help with unemployment. Boycotting Israel would be no help to lowering unemployment

    • nina

      An Israeli company which opened in Boston, brought in 6000 jobs.

  • Ariely

    Part 2
    Ops- i didnt said- oil!

    * Why they don’t: demonstrate,sign petitions,vote resolutions,demand boycode,burn flags,block embassy,conduct anti oppression weeks in universities.
    *They don’t demand to outlaw the hate preaching organizations.


    They are busy in a mission: Building the false myth of Israel.
    How should be called the human rights organizations claiming to :
    *Protect 21 century democracy and human right values
    But:
    *That are totally ignoring the above list?
    *Joining foreces with the ones that stand against everything they pretend to demand?
    Hypocrats.

    Hippocrates of all world!
    Wake up!
    Protect people to get the rights you claim to stand for!
    Stop being marionettes manipulated by lying propaganda

  • Ariely

    Part 1
    Ops- i didnt said –oil
    The human rights organization are silent for decades when:
    *Bombs killed Christian's prayers from Cairo to Bagdad
    *Non Muslims have been decapitated from Algeria up the Philippines
    *Slavery is still practice in Sudan and Golf states
    *Arabs kill Israeli civilians,later requiring to get immunity for their crimes when the defending Israel responses.
    *Women raped?the women is punished while the men are free
    *Non Muslim praying shrines destroyed,
    *Amputations and stoning punishment
    *Hate preaching,teaching worldwide funded by Arab countries(Refer to BBC program Panorama)
    *Hate TV shows dedicated to children garden,
    *The speech of the Muslim brotherhood leader in Cairo delivered in Arabic, before 1 million people saying is:
    !!!!! Hitler didn’t finish the job against the Jews.
    !!!!!! Now the Muslims brotherhood will finish the job.
    Watch BBC program Third eye Egypt
    *Dictators and Theocats are tourcharing and killing their own civilians

    • encausticus

      kudos

  • http://www.facebook.com/al-kidya Kim

    Watched the BBC program "Third Eye – Egypt" …thanks!
    Interesting…the Zaballeens are really struggling there.
    I hope they get what they wish for and that it isn't a Muslim Brotherhood formed government.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    The Jewish-American divide on Israel mirrors the divide of the larger population. Like most liberals, liberal Jews retain fantasies of Arab willingness to accept Israel and live in peace (AFTER Israeli territorial concessions, of course). Like most conservatives, conservative Jews know better.

    • Barb

      I just posted this in response to an earlier post, but it fits here, too, I think.

      Very insightful and 100% correct. I am a gay Jew, who is politically conservative (Yes, that's what I said). I do not hide my support of Israel when discussing political issues with people. Coincidence? I think not. I have nothing to be ashamed of, regarding any part of my being, and that goes for my support of Israel. Liberal Jews are an enigma to me. I am ever puzzled how they can see the world as one that would welcome them. I know liberals tend to see the world as they wished it to be, but liberal Jews take it to a level that is beyond denial – it's full-blown delusion. As a result, they have sold their souls, and won't realize it until they're being herded onto a train to nowhere.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        Great post, Barb. Keep trying to frame the argument to your liberal co-religionists…and to your fellow gays. Both groups seem to miss the boat entirely when it comes to the malevolence of Islam.

        • Barb

          I wish I knew why??? A sort of warped Stockholm Syndrome???

  • Waskow

    Hey everyone – let's all go to the home of Mikey Pseudo-Rabbi Lerner on Cragmont Street in Berkeley and hang anti-Hamas and anti-BDS posters there!

    He really likes it when people do that!

  • kafir4life

    I wouldn't do any business with anybody that dresses in full muslim garb or can otherwise be identified as a muslim. It works out really well, and is fully supported by the grand muffin, crabnutter micky from texas, the islamist that used to post at FPM. He indicated that we can do business with whoever we wish, for whatever reasons we wish. My reasons are just safety. Nobody would ever say that all muslims are terrorists (or terrorist supporters), but how can you tell? You can't! Even muslims themselves would never attempt to separate the ones that would kill with the ones that are ok with other muslims killing. Bottom line. Don't support terrorism by purchasing any muslim goods or services. It just makes sense. I wouldn't hire one either.

  • Monty Lasovsky

    As with the article on the murder of the innocents a week or so ago, we have to accept with difficulty that we have more anti-Israel/Semites within our own ranks the majority of whom are in the diaspora and can sleep well at night, i hope, without the fear of having their family's throats cut by some fanatic who thinks, not very differently i'm afraid from the so called/soft/left/hard liners within our midst. It appears that we not only have to fight the Jihadists but the so called/soft/left/hard liners in our own ranks. Now that is creating "legitimate" anti Semites for the world. If we have no sense of unity in thought and deed in these hectic anti Israel/Semite times, our very existence is threatened in a manner that is pathetically simple: we are doing to ourselves what the Jihadists/anti Semites have been trying to do all along and continue to do, BUT with the help of some of our own so called/soft/left/hard liners making it so much easier for the enemy"WITHOUT"-because they are being assisted extremely well by the "enemy "WITHIN"! The Israelis themselves have a similar problem both within the Knesset and outside of it ,in the public domain.
    We need some extraordinary help from people in the "without" and from people"within" if we are to win this fight for unified thinking and our own survival. Is this possible?

  • zsqpwxxeh

    The source of this rottenness lies in the unmistakeable Jewish attachment to socialism since the time of Karl Marx. Most American Jews today don't even bother to give lip service to the Torah and the commandments that are supposed to guide their lives. For all Reform and most Conservatives, tikkunning (fixing) the world via leftist policy is the central theme, not the Mosaic Law.

    A rabbi once told me that most American Jews are socialists first and Jews second. I didn't believe him at the time but evidence has borne out his point. They vote in overwhelming percentages for Democrats who would throw the state of Israel to the wolves…as long as the candidates are liberal they get the Jewish vote. Obama's stalwart supporters, complete with their National Palestinian Radio tote bags. Pathetic.

    • Chiggles

      I like to think that Yahweh sent Ayn Rand as an act of contrition for this.

  • DrNona3

    If the so-called 'good boycotters of Israel' are in that tent- then I cannot be. As I am Jewish and totally in touch with reality – that means the tent is thus revealed as invalid as any kind of Jewish gathering.
    So, I hope others who are similarly sane (not besotted with hatred for themselves and their own people) will exit the tent as I have done. I have not walked away from my heritage, Jewish faith or Israel. And my heart is open to all who walk away from that tent of delusions.

  • Alfonz Shmedlap

    M., 03/21/11 common era

    The anti-Israel Jews are simply "useful idiots" for the proposed "2-State Solution." Such a geographical arrangement would soon become a "2-State Final Solution 2."

    I now know that only 20% of the Jews left from Egypt with Moishe. Funny, I had never
    been taught that in Reform "Sunday school."

    • worried

      The 2 state solution are indeed the final solution 2.

      Very well stated!

  • damon

    Now the IDF will be monitoring and perhaps abducting peacefull economic resistance. Sickening little racist country. Cowards in Jetfighters and tanks killing oppmuressed kids weilding sling shots. You will not defeat spiritual warriors. I am afraid that soon the only world justice will be a Red Sea full of Yamukas (ugly hats), and soon the USA majority will hate Zionists as much as Hamas- truth is coming out and we haven't even told em Israel is behind high credit cared interest rates. lol____

    • MixMChess

      Looks like someone wandered over from stormfront. How is it cowardly to target Hamas terrorists? What about the "brave" Palestinians that slit the throats of children?

      • nina

        I am quite surprised that posters here bother to answer other posters who are clearly antisemites, and are spewing a pre digested anti Israeli defamation. There
        is no use refuting their bilge full of hatred, as they will not listen, and repeat again the same stories which have been disseminated by Islamists and their friends their popularity is based on antisemitism and a lot of petro-dollars.

    • Herb

      Those `oppmuressed' kids long ago graduated from slingshots (ever been hit by a steel ball bearing from one?) to rockets made in Iran. Palis are the most murderous people on Earth, not even their fellow Arab Muslims want them. And on that subject, there are currently about 350 million Jew-hating Arab Muslims in 22 Arab League nations, . There are around five million Jews in Israel, which is now in its 63rd year of survival in a hostile Middle East. Would somebody please do the math for me?

  • Monty Lasovsky

    To end the debate and request a few minutes silence on the internet and elsewhere, just log on to the latest issue of Cutting Edge News which i would dearly love to download here but for obvious reasons, this is not possible. The headlines content and pictures of the Fogel family massacre are so horrific that all the debate on this issue of Frontpage pales into insignificance and endorses the argument that the Jewish political divisions must end if the Jews and Israel are to survive.

  • Indioviejo

    Marxism is a religion, and so being socialist trumps being Jewish. Does Marx beat Jehovah? Apparently, it does for some people.

  • Rochelle Owens,Poet

    ANTI -ZIONISM = MCDONALDS BURGERS