web analytics
November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

J Street’s Shameful Attacks On Pro-Israel Organizations

If J Street, the new left-wing Israel lobby, wants to be taken seriously by mainstream American Jewry, I suggest it immediately stop the patronizing argument that all those who disagree with the organization are ossified Jewish knuckle-draggers who see an anti-Semite behind every corner.
 
If accurate, the quotes attributed to J Street’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, in an article on his group in The New York Times Magazine this past Sunday, represent a breathtaking condescension toward ideological opponents that can only sow deep divisions within the Jewish community.
 
On why most of the pro-Israel lobbying groups support a hard line against terror, Ben Ami says they see “Israel as the place you can always count on when they come to get you.” Ben-Ami added that these groups stifle dissent because they argue that “we’re still on too-shaky ground to permit public disagreement.”
 
In Ben-Ami’s opinion, AIPAC is run by paranoid schizophrenics who fear another Holocaust may strike at any moment.
 
On Israel’s recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza, which J Street strongly criticized, “Ben-Ami acknowledges that moments of crisis for Israel tap into the ancestral impulses . ‘There’s their grandmother’s voice in their ear; it’s the emotional side and the communal history, and it’s the fear of not wanting in some way to be responsible for the next great tragedy that will befall the Jewish people.’ “
 
So if you support Israel’s right to defend itself against missiles raining down on its kindergartens and nursing homes it’s not because you believe in a country’s legitimate right to defend itself against attack but because your reptilian Jewish brain has still not gotten over your great-grandmother being disemboweled by Cossacks.
 
Is this the way to conduct an honest discussion about Israel’s future – by painting those with whom you disagree as a bunch of loons who see Nazis about to storm Brooklyn?
 
The truth, of course, is that many people – myself included – who support the organizations J Street seeks to demonize – AIPAC, the ADL, the ZOA, and others – do so not because we fear the imminent mass extinction of all Jews but because we seek to prevent the cold-blooded murder of even one Jew.
 
In the year 2009 there is no reason we should have to put up with any anti-Semitic or anti-Israel prejudice, even if that prejudice doesn’t lead to gas chambers. Israel shouldn’t have to tolerate any bombs going off in its midst, even if they kill only a handful of Jews.
 
We support Israel not because it’s the final bunker when the skinheads finally conquer Miami Beach but because, like all proud Americans, we love freedom and democracy and we’re thrilled the Jewish state is the bastion of those precious values in a region that utterly repudiates them.
 
I am not one to get easily offended, but Ben-Ami’s words in The New York Times borders on the anti-Semitic. His caricature of leaders of major Jewish organizations – heroes like Malcolm Hoenlein, Howard Kohr, and Morton Klein – as mistrustful cranks who seek to hijack American foreign policy is deeply troubling, as is his contention that Jews who believe a tough military posture – after all the terror Israel has experienced despite two decades of land-for-peace-deals – are paranoid brutes stuck in the past.
 
I am prepared to accord Ben-Ami the benefit of the doubt – that his left-wing posture on Israel and his strong support of President Obama’s pressure on its government stems from a sincere desire to bring peace to the Jewish state. Ben-Ami is the scion of Israeli patriots and while I strongly disagree with his politics, I do not question the nobility of his motivation. Will he not afford me the same benefit of the doubt?
 
I am not here to attack J Street but to make a point. We need many voices in the Jewish community and if J Street feels left-wing Jews were not being heard in the halls of Congress, then by all means let it be remedied by the establishment of an alternative lobby. That’s what democracy is all about.
 
But J Street’s cheap tactics of creating its name by attacking AIPAC, the ADL, and the ZOA is shameful. There is room in our community for many voices without creating a civil war. We can be a community of one heart even if we are not of one mind.
 
Finally, amid Ben-Ami’s cutting words about how we who are disturbed by Obama’s unrelenting pressure on Israel are just a bunch of unreasonable fossils, will he really overlook those – like Hamas, Hizbullah, and Ahmadinejad – whose stated intention is indeed the destruction of Israel?
 
Would he argue that the Iranian president’s bark is worse than his bite even as he slaughters his own protesting countrymen in the streets?
 
It’s only 70 years since the start of World War II, and there are still Jews who have not forgotten that when dictators say they want to wipe a nation off the map, and build weapons with that very capability, they ought to be taken seriously.
 

As Henry Kissinger famously said, “Even a paranoid has some real enemies.”

 

 

            Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of This World: The Values Network, has just published his newest book, “The Blessing of Enough: Rejecting Material Greed, Embracing Spiritual Hunger,” a man selection of the Sony EBook Store.

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “J Street’s Shameful Attacks On Pro-Israel Organizations”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Banner at Tehran military parade, Sept. 23, 2013. Although the English statement is relatively mild, in Persian and Arabic it says “Death to America.”
Iran Says Nuclear Deal ‘Impossible’ by Nov. 24 Deadline
Latest Indepth Stories
Jo-map

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

bulb

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

Medics evacuate the dead and injured after attack on Har Nof synagogue Tuesday morning.

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Kfar Kana Riots

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/j-streets-shameful-attacks-on-pro-israel-organizations/2009/09/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: