Photo Credit:
Mandy Patinkin speaking at a Peace Now conference

One would think that after several recent public relations disasters when Jewish or Jewish-connected organizations honor people who support political and economic warfare against the State of Israel, that Jewish groups would stop doing this.

But one would be wrong.

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First there was Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law School which presented a human rights award to one of the world’s leading defamers and delegitimizers of Israel, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

Then there was the 92nd Street Y which came very close to providing a public platform from which leading BDS advocate Roger Waters would spew his venom against Israel. Luckily for the 92nd Street Y, Waters had to change the date of the appearance, and the Y took that opportunity to slip out of the noose it had created for itself.

Then there was the incredible fiasco of the State of Israel itself inviting a long-time critic of the Jewish State, scientist Stephen Hawking, to a major scientific conference in Israel.  A little due diligence would have revealed that Hawking was already on record as embracing a hostile narrative against Israel. But no, Israel invited Hawking to give a talk at the President’s Conference.  Hawking rebuffed the Jewish State, backing out of his commitment because he wanted to support the academic boycott against Israel. And Hawking and, especially, those who make the demonization of Israel their life’s work, were thrilled to chalk up a victory in the BDS war against the Jewish State.

Now we learn that the American fundraising arm of a wonderful Israeli institution – Soroka Medical Center – is poised to honor yet another soldier in the delegitimization war against Israel.

On June 18 at the Harvard Club in New York City, the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center will hold its annual gala.  The Statesman for Health Award is being given to a man who helped the virulently anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace support the boycott of Ariel Cultural Center. Mandy Patinkin not only supported the Ariel boycott, he allowed his name to be used to recruit other celebrities to vilify the cultural center in the Jewish town of Ariel. Some statesman.

Patinkin has done more than simply sign a letter of support for artists boycotting a cultural center in Israel, he has also assisted in a fundraiser for Jewish Voice for Peace, and has long been a national board member of Americans for Peace Now.  Just last year, at a conference in Israel he talked about having had his eyes opened while on a tour of Hebron with his good friends from Breaking the Silence, an organization committed to demonizing the Israel Defense Forces as a military force of terror, bent on acquiring territory, and not a defensive, ethical military.

Patinkin, unlike some with whom he associates, is not an Israel hater.  He simply believes that Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are the nub of the problem and if Jews would just get the heck out of the area, peace would break out.

Patinkin said he supports Israel in a variety of ways, but says the “settlements ignite the situation” between Israelis and Palestinians. For Israel to build a new theater “in an illegal settlement” was adding fuel to the fire.

It is hard to listen to Patinkin and imagine anything other than that he has a warm, loving soul and just wants everyone to get along.  But he’s a big boy now, one with an audience who listens to him.  And with that following comes a responsibility.

The same is true for the American Friends of Soroka.

It is not enough to find a sweet Jewish man with a beautiful voice, one whose star is on the ascent because of his role in a huge television series hit. If the American Friends of Soroka wanted to honor someone, it would have been nice if they found someone who loves all of Israel, someone who doesn’t encourage economic warfare against any of it.

And now Jews are left with the choice of not going to a fundraiser for a wonderful, non-political medical center in Israel, or going and watching as an American Jew who encourages the economic boycott of a Jewish town is given an award.  It’s a tough choice that Jews should not make other Jews make.

 

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

24 COMMENTS

  1. Can't blame Mandy for not seeing things clearly. Back in 1969 at Camp Sura in Buchannan, Michigan, while working on the motor of the camp's motor boat, Mandy got gasoline in his eyes. Appearantly, when his eyes were flushed out in the sink of the kitchen must have missed some gas.

  2. Mr. King seems not to have read the article, but to have reflexively accused someone of excommunicating anyone who disagrees with "a few of Israel's policies." I didn't see anything in the article that says that. What the article does say is that an important Israeli institution should not honor someone — it could be a Jew or a non-Jew — who opposes Israel's right to defend itself from its enemies. You can oppose that position or not, but it is not the same as saying the people who hold these opinions aren't Jews. And sometimes the people aren't Jews in the first place! Surely Jimma Cawtah wasn't opposed as a speaker because he's not a "real Jew." He ain't any kind of Jew, thank God.

  3. Since you are not Jewish, you have no idea what you are talking about. I would never presume to tell you what you should think about your religion or "people."

  4. It is disgusting that a Jew would ignore his history and his own people and what the Fakestinians have done to the Jews and what they want to do to us. It is disgusting that he relishes in a successful career and uses his fame and name to hurt Jews. He is a Judenrat. A Ben Zona.

  5. No one said he was bad, or less Jewish, because of his views. Just as the very few Arabs who point out that Gaza is Egypt and the West Bank is Jordan, and Palestinians are a very new phenomena, are also not bad or lesser beings.

  6. No one said he was bad, or less Jewish, because of his views. Just as the very few Arabs who point out that Gaza is Egypt and the West Bank is Jordan, and Palestinians are a very new phenomena, are also not bad or lesser beings.

  7. All of this BDS nonsense makes "Nicht kaufen bei Juden" come alive. It always amazes me why so many so called Jews hate being Jewish. If being Jewish and being a supporter of Israel is bothersome to these people, I am sure that there are other religions that would accept them. More than 3/4 of the USA was created by settlers. What is so hard about that. At least the native Americans who were here first were a real people with real territory goals, unlike the fake Palestinians who came from other Arab areas and never were real dwellers in this region.

  8. All of this BDS nonsense makes "Nicht kaufen bei Juden" come alive. It always amazes me why so many so called Jews hate being Jewish. If being Jewish and being a supporter of Israel is bothersome to these people, I am sure that there are other religions that would accept them. More than 3/4 of the USA was created by settlers. What is so hard about that. At least the native Americans who were here first were a real people with real territory goals, unlike the fake Palestinians who came from other Arab areas and never were real dwellers in this region.

  9. What is sad is he got a lot of help in his career from Zionist Jews and now he spits on them joining an anti-semitic organization that has nothing to do with true PEACE but more appeasement to the enemy of humanity. I guess I will get rid of my Pantankin recordings and cookbook. Perhaps the local Islamic center will welcome them since they seem to support Hamass. I'm sure this "celebrity" will be happy this donation will go to help Israel's enemies more. What a putz!

  10. Jewish Voice for Peace doesn't disagree with "a few of Israel's policies". They do promote BDS, and they stand proudly with groups like American Muslims for Palestine that support "river to the sea" elimination of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. JVP is very different than Americans for Peace Now (I may disagree with the latter but I don't call them anti-Israel, and they don't support BDSl). The focus really should be on Patinkin's involvement with JVP. That's what should make him unacceptable as an honoree of any Israeli institution.

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