When Jewish Leadership Honors a Mass Murderer

arafat_graveBarry Shrage is President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation. He defended a pilgrimage of Harvard students who recently visited the grave of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat — at the expense of his organization. Supposedly civilized Americans proudly posed for pictures at the grave of a mass murderer.


Shrage is paid $482,000 annually, which makes him one of the most well-paid American Jewish “leaders.” When exposed by bloggers at TruthRevolt.org, he defended his action, claiming:

“CJP and a group of deeply committed student leaders were the subject of vicious attacks by ideologically motivated bloggers from across the country.”

He added:

“The blog that you may have seen attacking the ‘trek’ is a good example of the terrible polarization within the American Jewish community where a few bloggers at the extreme edge of the Jewish community can demonize those who try to deal honestly with the complexities of life in Israel.”

Shrage continued:

“We believe that understanding those challenges and opportunities from a first-hand perspective is the best way to create knowledgeable and informed supporters of Israel and to strengthen the bonds between the American and Israeli people.”

Shrage subsequently back-tracked from his earlier comments, but actions (and initial reactions) are quite clear. Donors to Hillel and the Jewish Federation should know that their monies are going to pay for students to visit Arafat’s grave. Surely just what Aunt Bertha intended her annual check to the UJA to go to – treks to the grave of the biggest mass murderer of Jews since the end of World War Two.

Mr. Barry Shrage: In Boston, why not host a forum to question if the Boston Marathon bombers were right by addressing a program on “those who try to deal honestly with the complexities of life as a Muslim in America.” Same rationale, right? Maybe a visit to the Middle East should involve discussions with Al-Qaeda who can help with your desire to “understan[d] challenges and opportunities from a first-hand perspective”? After all, using your ideology, how can we condemn that which we have not heard first hand?

Overlooked during this recent brouhaha is the fact that Shrage’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) is the largest donor in the Jewish establishment to Media Matters, the organization which has been condemned across the board by the Jewish community. Alan Dershowitz and others have said Media Matters has “crossed the line into anti-Semitism,” yet despite this, annually checks are written from CJP to this organization.

Similar to this most recent non-apology, Shrage’s organization made some odd excuses to justify previous behavior that crossed the line.  In response to an ad placed by the Emergency Committee for Israel, The Washington Post reported:

“The Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston has put up a confusing statement, taking umbrage at the ad and insisting ‘The grants in question come from Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Donor Advised Funds (DAF). These are charitable gift accounts established by donors. While owned and ultimately controlled by CJP, DAFs do not involve communal funds, but rather reflect the interests of those individual donors.’”

CJP then conceded: “Donations cannot be made to any organization that opposes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state or advocates for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS). We reserve and exercise the right to reject an individual’s grant recommendations in these circumstances. Beyond that, it is not CJP’s role to judge every activity of the recipient organizations.” Much like this time around, then, The Washington Post said the statement was “was hard to follow and didn’t seem designed to respond to the ad’s substance.”

Bottom line, in their own words and actions, donations to Hillel and the Jewish Federation go to fund Arafat grave visits, and support Anti-Semitic media outlets.  This, in part, is how Shrage earns his $482,000 non-profit salary. What else is going on that is swept under the carpet?

Behavior like this harms America and harms Israel.  Regardless of what good work Shrage may have done to date, this behavior clouds it.  Posing for pictures at the grave of a mass murderer?

Lenin called people who work against their people’s own best interests in support of their enemies “helpful idiots.”  Clearly, these actions fit in that category.

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  • Judahlevi

    Shrage and his fellow ideologues are bending toward being anti-Israel because their ideology is anti-Israel. They want to stay on the left even as the left becomes anti-Semitic. They will be forced to make a decision.

    It reminds me of the Jews who were National Socialists and stayed with the party even on its path to Kristallnacht.

    The left is collectivist and authoritarian by nature. As it gains power, it will not become better, but worse. Perfecting the world needs to be done with the permission of individuals who wish to use their own private property to do so. Trying to perfect the world by government fiat is, and always has been, a road to authoritarianism and disaster.

  • Larry Larkin

    Too right there is an ideological motivation behind the criticism. It’s coming from people opposed to the pathological ideology of the likes of Arafat and Abbas, mass murdering kleptocrat terrorists, who were driven out of Jordan when they tried to take it over, destroyed Lebanon as a functioning country when they tried to take it over, and who’ve spent the last 65+ years trying to destroy Israel and commit genocide against Jews.
    It’s always about ideology, everybody with any sort of brains has an ideology, it’s just whether or not the ideology you have supports or opposes barbarianism.

  • Carlos_Perera

    With apologies to Ionesco, I think this sorry event is explicable in terms of Mr. Shrage and the kids–more understandably in their case . . . they’re young and immature–wanting to have a compressed-hair horn and thick leathery skin like everybody they see around them in the Leftist zoo they occupy.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Shrage and his CJP are the reason why, if you’re an American Jew, you’re on your own–no help from fellow Jews on anything that concerns Israel, or even on anything that makes any sense.

  • Dyer’s Eve

    Was Arafat ‘mabus’? I think not. is Obama? Not sure. The search goes on. I’ll keep looking.

  • Reuven

    Shrage should immediately be fired. As for the Harvard students who honored Arafat, the only thing that can be said of them is what they did was an act of pure evil. Had they lived during the Shoah, I feel certain that they would have been kapos, eagerly shoving other Jews into gas chambers. These horrendous young people should be shunned until they stop making excuses for their banal deed, and sincerely show remorse.

  • Daniel

    Leftist Jews, we Jews have more traitors in our midst than any other group.

    • Joe The Gentile

      There is definitely a connection between being leftist and being culturally/ethnically/tribally self-hating. And since there is a connection between being culturally/ethnically/tribally self-hating and being a traitor, it is inevitable that there is a big connection between being leftist and being a traitor.

      Why are there so many leftist Jews? One theory I have is that leftism is largely a disease of the intellect, and will be likely to be found and spread more among those who are more in the intellectual arena, which is true of Jews. Any thoughts?

      • Michael Garfinkel

        The problem with Mr. Shrage, in particular, is not thllectual.

        His comments about

        • RAM500

          It’s those machers who lack intellect who most think they have it.

      • Kyra Nelson

        Leftist Jews are Jews who have forsaken the Torah and a life of Jewish Observance and engagement. They worship the idol of leftism instead.
        If a Jew doesn’t have a positive, meaningful identity, connected to the Creator and the Jewish community, they have a gaping black hole in themselves. They have nothing with which to offset the generation du jour’s all-consuming hatred of them. They internalize the hatred and act accordingly.
        All the rest follows from there. You won’t find a single Sabbath-observing Jew swallowing this crap. Just my humble opinion as a formerly secular, liberal Jew.
        Please correct me if I am wrong on this, Daniel.

        • Kyra

          Oops-I mean Ronn! Sorry about that & the grammatical error in there also

        • RAM500

          In fairness to such people, many were brought up in the Church of Liberalism and live among other liberals, which limits their exposure to truth.
          There are Sabbath-observers who are nevertheless political liberals, but these would not stoop to the behavior described in this article.

    • James Keir Baughman

      Amen, Daniel. An honest, courageous revelation. Sad, though, as I think of my many Jewish friends over the years, intensely loyal, working hard alongside us all to make this great Nation the wonder it has been.

  • Kafir911

    The Arab Muslims aligned themselves with Hitler in WWII, the Soviets during the Cold War, and now the Democratic Left. All are totalitarian haters of democratic principles, Jews and Christians. When is the world going to wake up and realize that Islamic doctrine is the modern day cancer on the planet?

  • Elliott

    Can anyone obtain the list of those Arafat worshippers?
    They should be publicly named and publicly shamed!
    How can a person who thinks of themselves as Jewish, even put a foot in the PA areas, let alone visit the shrine of a MASS MURDERER who would have just as HAPPILY murdered THEM if they had been in Israel when he was organising the murder of Jews?

  • KatieNorcross

    These idiots would vote for Hitler if he had a D next to his name.

  • wileyvet

    Maybe they thought it was cool like Hip Hop, Mr. Torossian.

  • Abberline

    For what it’s worth “Barry Shrage backtracks” http://blogs.jpost.com/content/barry-shrage-backtracks

  • Alec Stuart

    Would it be beyond the pale to suggest that as a Christian, I have a more meaningful connection to God than Mr. Shrage, who is clearly a non-observant, secular leftist Jew?

  • Lanna

    Nothing like being messed up in the mind. Arafat was one of the biggest terrorists to run the PLO, and one of the worst enemies Israel ever had, he broke his word numerous times on any peace agreements that were signed. There have been leftist Jews from the beginning of time, they also refused Apostle Paul’s Gospel, and to believe in their own Messiah, who was the true King, and for that reason, the gospel was given to the Gentiles, who were true believers. History repeats itself. Thats why I look at the records of these groups before I support or join them, they won’t get one dime when they are haters of their fellow Jews and Israel!