The Anti-Zionist Challenge to the Jewish Establishment

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com


jews boycotting israelOriginally published by the Jerusalem Post

There is a difference between speech and war. Both are forms of expression, to be sure. But the essence of the former is engagement, and the essence of the latter is destruction.

This distinction is apparently too subtle for many of Israel’s Supreme Court justices. On Sunday, the Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the 2011 Anti-Boycotts law. The law allows targets of boycotts to sue boycotters for damages in civil courts, and empowers the finance minister to revoke the non-profit status of NGOs that engage in boycotts. It is being challenged by a consortium of foreign-funded, radical, anti-Zionist NGOs.

The essence of boycotts is destruction, not engagement.

True, boycotters express an opinion when they boycott their targets. But just so, armies express an opinion when they bomb enemy targets.

The question is not whether in levying boycotts, the boycotters are expressing a position. It is whether the primary purpose of a boycott is to express an opinion or to annihilate its target.

As a form of economic warfare, boycotts aim to harm the profitability of targeted entities and either force them to toe the boycotters’ line, or force them out of business. That is, the aim is either coercive or eliminationist.

As a form of cultural warfare, the goal of boycotts of cultural or academic institutions is to place their targets outside of polite society, and so annihilate them culturally, professionally and socially.

In other words, unlike other forms of expression, the principle aim of boycotts is not engagement, or even incitement. It is destruction. Therefore, the question of whether or not boycotts are also a form of speech is entirely irrelevant.

But not for Israel’s Supreme Court justices. In their hearing on Sunday, the justices insisted that boycotts are primarily a force of engagement and as such, protected speech.

Or at least some boycotts are.

As they argued it, there is a distinction between boycotts of Israeli entities within and beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

In maintaining faith with the absurd claim that boycotts are indistinguishable from newspaper columns, and then making a distinction between boycotts within the armistice lines and boycotts of Israeli entities operating beyond them, the Court did more than show its hand. It exposed a leftist establishment’s incapacity to deal with the anti-Zionist Left.

For the past 25 years, the leftist establishment has coalesced around the view that there is a distinction between Israel within the 1949 armistice lines and Israel beyond those lines. The former is entirely legitimate.

The latter is the bane of Israel’s existence.

The justices tried to convince the attorneys for the petitioners to accept their view. But the anti-Zionist petitioners would have none of it. As they see it, since Israel is a democracy, and the vast majority of Israelis do not agree with their views, the entire country is illegitimate.

As Dan Yakir from Association for Civil Rights in Israelexplained, all of Israel is tied up to the so-called occupation.

So if the justices think it is okay to boycott the areas of the country that they would like to part with, they have to accept a boycott of areas of the country they wish to keep.

Building on this view, Adalah’s Hassan Jabareen insisted that all of Israel is politically disputed. And as a consequence, all of it is the legitimate target of boycott.

The petitioners’ rejection of all of Israel, rather than just parts of it, puts the justices and the leftist establishment as a whole in a difficult position.

They have to make a choice between the public, which sees no distinction between Ariel and Tel Aviv, and the anti-Zionists who also see no distinction between Ariel and Tel Aviv. That is, they have to decide what is more important to them – being Zionists, when that mantle is worn by the type of Jews they have spent their lives trying to distinguish themselves from, and being anti-Zionists, and so denying their right to exist.

The Israeli leftist establishment’s dilemma is not unique. The American Jewish establishment faces the same brutal choice. The American Jewish establishment followed along after the Israeli leftist establishment when it embraced the PLO in 1993. Ever since, the American Jewish establishment has drawn a distinction between consensus Israel, within the 1949 armistice lines, which they supported, and controversial Israel, outside those lines, which they marginalized, or debased.

And just as the activist Israeli Left has joined the campaign to destroy the Jewish state and so is now forcing the leftist establishment to either side with the public it holds in contempt or with the anti-Zionist Left that rejects Israel completely, so the activist American Jewish Left has become a leading voice in the campaign to criminalize Israel. Today it is forcing the Jewish establishment to make a choice between siding with all Israelis, including the Israeli Right, or siding with the likes of J Street whose aim is to delegitimize the organized American Jewish community’s right to defend Israel.

On Monday, a new documentary about J Street called The J Street Challenge, debuted in Miami. The film, produced by the social action group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, shows how J Street, which claims to be pro-peace and pro-Israel, seeks to eliminate American Jewish groups on the Right and weaken overall American Jewish support for Israel by delegitimizing the American Jewish organizational structure.

In July 2010, as the IRS was engaged in delaying and denying the applications for the non-profit status of groups that campaigned for limited government, J Street asked the IRS to cancel the non-profit status of American charities that support Israeli entities located in or operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

Since then, a dozen completely legitimate, law-abiding charitable organizations have been embroiled in lawsuits or audits and have been forced to fight for their institutional lives.

The J Street Challenge provides footage of speeches by J Street leaders and founders who question Israel’s right to exist and defame the American Jewish community for supporting Israel. In one such speech, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami used the classical anti-Semitic imagery of a Jewish hydra suffocating the world in his description of the American Jewish establishment.

As he put it, “I think we’re taking on much more than AIPA C. I think it is the Conference of Presidents. It’s the American Jewish Committee. It’s the lobbying structures of the Federations. It’s the network of JCRCs, the community relations councils. It’s a multi-layered, multi-headed hydra.”

The most outspoken critics of Israeli anti-Zionist NGOs and J Street are on the Right. And that makes sense. It isn’t hard for rightists to make the distinction between speeches and extortion.

But the primary target of these groups is not the Right.

It is the leftist Jewish establishment, in Israel and in the US. And as J Street’s nearly unchallenged rise in the US, and the Court’s self-defeating incoherence on the boycott campaign indicate, over the decades, the establishment Left has become so dependent on rejecting the Right for its own sense of identity, that it is no longer clear whether its members are capable of siding with the hated Right against their common foes.

The author’s new book, The Israeli Solution: A One- State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, will be released on March 4.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    The “jews” in the photo are JINOs (“jews” in name only).

    They are as “jewish” as osama bin laden.

    • Attila_the_hun

      Those are the grand children of reform Jews who in the 1940′s objected the creation of Israel in the first place.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        Don’t forget the neteuri karta jackasses.

  • Bklyn Farmer

    During the holocaust when the European Jews were literally being put into the ovens, the liberal Jewish American communities were unconcerned. Not only did they ignore the genocide but also hindered any public support by suppressing its public knowledge. The liberal US Jewish intellectuals were more supportive of Stalin than the doomed European Jew, and after the war the American Jew saw the Greenhorns as being too Jewish and therefore an embarrassment. So now should anyone be surprised by more of the same? Those that are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

  • evasmagacz

    You can boycott me and I will (sarcasm alert) break both your arms and drive a tank over your child’s legs. Afterwards we will have a chat and compare the notes on morality and equivalence of both forms of warfare.

    • Bklyn Farmer

      Just sit in your house and let me fire 8,000+ rockets at you and your children’s school bus and elementary schools then sneak into your home slitting the throat of you entire family including an infant child than kill an entire kindergarten class then we can talk about moral equivalence Deary.
      Oh yes one additional request, after I commit these acts of terrorism treat me as a hero, name schools, athletic fields, town squares after me and most of all when I am jailed make my release a precondition for “peace” talks.

      • john spielman

        excellent reply

        • Bklyn Farmer

          Thanks

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      evasmegma,

      You can be the next Saint Pancake.

    • iluvisrael

      stick to scrubbing toilets you Jew hating hag – the guilt the hungarians and poles had for their treatment of the Jews has turned into hatred.

  • The Facts

    500 lb. Gorilla in the room: Zionists are not, nor have they ever been the establishment.

    • Webb Cook

      Zionists established Israel.

      • The Facts

        Ms. Glick’s article and theories on the “Jewish establishment” are not confined to Israel.

        • Habbgun

          Awww…Factsy—wacksy….I told you to be more interesting or give it up. It’s like you are typing and running….bad strategy since I can take my time responding….like a movie monster stalking a victim…no matter how fast your run I catch up…..though you are a rather sorry movie victim. Not likable at all. An unhygienic Occupier bucket crapper……now that I’ve had my fun for the day I return you to your regularly scheduled miserable life.

          Oh btw….that link you sent me won’t cut it. I need to follow you to a political website with comments sections and lots of little Factsies who need to hear some unpleasant (for you at least) truths.

          • Webb Cook

            Mr. Factspatter is a bucket crapper? Who would’ve ever guessed?

  • Tradecraft46

    Thank you the article, which states the real issues involved.

    Many Jews in the US see Israel as being bad for business cutting the deal stream and adding complications to their long term plans.

    I think Israel has done a very poor job of protecting its people from violence and other action. Now is the chance to show some spine.

  • Lanna

    Liars never prosper, particularly those who are trying to undermine God’s people and God’s city…Your day is coming. Psalm 83 “O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. how your foes rear their heads, With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. Come, they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they firm an alliance against you..the tent of Edom and the Ishamelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Siser and Jabin at the river Kishon, who perished at Endor and became like refuse on the ground, Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.” Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.

  • mmichlin

    This is the first time I disagree with Caroline Glick. As much as BDS is evil and anti-Semitic I do consider this activity a protected speech. As much as I disagree with boycotters and their supporting NGOs, their activity is not criminal. They must be described as what they are – anti-Semites – and their sources exposed, but I don’t think they must be brought to any kind of court (civil or criminal) or their tax status changed.
    I do agree, however, that making a distinction between boycotting Israeli companies located inside and outside the “green line” is absurd.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Good points.

  • Ceekay

    Yes ,you J Street and of the New Israel Fund have a right To shut your mouth or pen ideas of boycott about matters that do not concern you ….Unless you did get your carcass over to Israel and joined the IDF ,or worked physically to increase the security or the wealth of the land .Your rights in the Diaspora as Jews as waned away to such low ebb ,that I recommend you convert to some other religion as you are unfit to be the descendants and inheritors of the 6 Millions murdered by the Nazis .You of the left and the right have lost your’ raison d’etre ‘. The pioneers of the first and second Alyah and the Holocaust survivors knew nothing of boycotts but hard toil and they built a land that now protects a Jew wherever he choses to live . Remember you piece of nothing ,do not dare to utter a word on the policies of the Israeli Government they know what is best for Israel and actually for you .I as an 82 year old said nothing up to now ,but read of those half educated Jews calling calling for Israel to be boycotted and allowed to be destroyed by promoting Quislings in the form of NGO’s .
    I truly tried at age 16 to make my way over to Israel to fight in her war of Independence and on my way from Belgium hitch hiking to get to Toulon where a ship was waiting for a group of volunteers to board .I was arrested by the French Gendarmes who stopped my progress any further .This has always been my regret in life that I was not there when it mattered .I have been since then many times ,but only as a mere tourist and atoned by contributing what ever I could financially ….and shut my mouth , please do likewise or walk away from trying to damage Israel and repeat three times ” I am perhaps a Jew , but I am not acting as one ,I am not a Zionist as I do not know what it means and implies ” By the way as a youngster I was a member of Hashomer Hatzayir ,the most leftist Jewish Group in the whole diaspora and one of the first kibbutz developers in Israel.