(Contributing to the article were Hank Sheinkopf and George Birnbaum}
Synagogues should not allow people who support a boycott of Israel to have a presence. Yet, Temple Israel of Boston is hosting an event on April 23rd, entitled “Challenges and Opportunities for Peace and Democracy in Israel” which features three radical extremists – Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street President & Daniel Sokatch, New Israel Fund CEO, at an event moderated by the Director of Programming at Encounter.
One wonders why this speaking series features solely extreme-left wing viewpoints? Would not a synagogue – a home of Jewish worship – seek to host a diversity of viewpoints rather than solely the very far left (which received barely any representation during the recent Israeli elections?)
Criticism of each of these organizations is common across the Israeli political spectrum, as the viewpoints Temple Israel will present represent the furthest left view-points one can find. Benny Yanay of an Israeli military organization called Consensus, who represents a reported 3,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces who said that “The New Israel Fund acts against Israel — against the soldiers of our country. It is supported by foreign governments and organizations so that Israeli soldiers will be weakened.”
The Deputy Speaker of the Knesset noted the NIF was bent on “erasing the Jewish identity from the Jewish State.”One can go on and on about how the NIF is Anti-Israel.
Encounter – who is moderating the discussion – is an organization which UK Media Watch recently covered, noting:
“The Jewish participants spent the entire time listening to Palestinian views. There was never an opportunity by Jewish participants to even briefly explain the Jewish/Israeli narrative. Indeed, such ‘counter narratives’ were explicitly forbidden by the program organizers.” “Not one Palestinian, when discussing their long-term vision for the region, advocated a two-state solution, nor expressed any empathy for Jewish aspirations.
Several presenters (such as ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Sam Bahour) quite explicitly advocated a one-state solution. One Palestinian presenter, named Shirin, told us that, in the absence of a one-state solution, there is going to be a bloodbath. In response to this, most participants clapped. “
“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism, and Zionists, with a passion.”
“To put this “peaceful” encounter, organized by Americans who fancy themselves progressive, in some perspective, note that one of the featured speakers was ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, Sam Bahour Bahour is affiliated with ‘Al Shabaka’ (a group which opposes all Palestinian Authority negotiations with Israel), has signed the Stuttgart declaration calling for a one-state solution (a resolution signed by activists representing both Islamism and the radical left), and, in a previous CiF piece, sanitized the death and carnage of the 2nd intifada as a mere “civil uprising” which the Arab world would be wise to emulate.
Does it really need to be asked how anyone claiming the mantle of peace can legitimize the call for the end of the Jewish state? At the end of the day, what programs like ‘Encounter’ truly represent are efforts to tell morally vulnerable U.S. Jews that their spiritual salvation, their moral redemption for the original sin of the Jewish state’s creation, lie in Israel’s complete capitulation.”
Tellingly, Birthright boycotts New Israel Fund, and the Likud Party says the organization is Anti-Zionist. Israel’s economic minister noted “…New Israel Fund, I will boycott whoever persecutes Israeli soldiers. I will not apologize for it. He continued, “The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal. I repeat: They say that our soldiers- you, I, your friends and your families, your children and their friends – that we are all war criminals. The New Israel Fund invests large amounts of money through its organizations with one purpose- to harm IDF soldiers who are physically protecting us with their bodies.