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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘AIPAC’

Rejection of J Street Best Possible Outcome…for J Street

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A backlash has been growing in the aftermath of the failed bid by J Street for admission to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The group that represents the largest denomination of American Jewry, the Union of Reform Judaism, is demanding that the Conference change its one group, one vote policy while also openly threatening to leave the umbrella group. An official of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly is also demanding changes.

Meanwhile liberal commentators are blasting the Conference for its 22-17 vote to deny entry the left-wing lobby and making extravagant claims about this vote symbolizing the growing alienation of the Jewish establishment from the wishes of most of those it purports to represent.

Which means that, all things considered, the defeat at the Conference was the best possible outcome for the left-wing organization that came into existence not to fit in and cooperate with existing Jewish groups and coalitions but to blow them up. The negative vote enables J Street and its various left-wing sympathizers to play the victim and boosts their agenda to first delegitimize groups like the Conference and AIPAC and then to replace them.

But while it is understandable that the Reform and Conservative movements would join the lament about J Street’s defeat in order to assuage some of their liberal constituents who support the left-wing lobby, they should be careful about advancing any agenda that could undermine umbrella groups like the Conference.

While such organizations can seem at times to be irrelevant to the day-to-day business of American Jewry, they still serve a vital purpose. If the non-Orthodox denominations help J Street destroy them, they will soon learn that not only will it be difficult to replace them but also they and their constituents will not be well served by the politicized chaos that follows.

Only hours after its defeat, J Street was already attempting to make hay from the vote with a fundraising e-mail sent out to their list. It read, in part:

 

Thank you, Malcolm Hoenlein and the Conference of Presidents.

Yesterday’s rejection of our bid to join the Conference validates the reason for J Street: those claiming to speak for the entire Jewish community don’t in fact represent the full diversity of pro-Israel views in our community – or even its prevailing views.

 

Thus despite J Street leader Jeremy Ben-Ami’s public expression of disappointment about the vote, the group was clearly prepared all along to exploit a rejection to further its campaign to brand both AIPAC and the Conference as out of touch. J Street came into existence hoping to do just that, but over the course of the last five years failed miserably to do so.

Though J Street’s raison d’être was to serve as a Jewish cheerleader for Obama administration pressure on Israel, it has little influence on Capitol Hill and has even, to its dismay, sometimes been repudiated by a president it supports unconditionally. Thus it hopes to use this incident to gain more traction against mainstream groups.

But those, like Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev, who are using this vote to bash pro-Israel groups should be asking themselves why so many members of the Conference, which already includes left-wing organizations like Americans for Peace Now and Ameinu, would vote against adding one more to its ranks. The reason is that many centrist groups clearly resented J Street’s unwarranted pretensions to speak for American Jewry and to undermine the broad-based AIPAC.

The Conference was created to provide a way for a diverse and cantankerous Jewish community a single structure with which it could deal with the U.S. government. And though its members have often disagreed, and true consensus between left and right is often impossible, the Conference still provides Congress and the executive branch an address through which they can reach a broad and diverse coalition of Jewish organizations.

The Three Little Kosher Pigs

Monday, April 28th, 2014

It is always amusing to see the look on the faces of fellow American Jews when they discover that I am a Republican. Lacking originality, they typically say, “A Republican Jewish woman? Now that’s an oxymoron!” Well no, not at all.

Sadly, Israel has become a partisan issue. But it is the Republicans who are her staunchest supporters. Yet ironically, the vast majority of American Jews, whose progressive values are flaunted with elitist moral authority, have found a home in the Democrat party — the one whose members boo any mention of God and Jerusalem and whose policy makers formulate plans and strategies that are simply dangerous for Israel.

As we finish celebrating Passover during which time we remember our peoples’ exodus from bondage in Egypt to a life of freedom in Israel and observe Yom Hashoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day — it is an appropriate time to reflect on the state of Jewish Zionism in America.

What does it say about a people who align themselves with  political organizations that at best feign support for Israel for fundraising purposes but in reality take measures that could possibly harm that country’s long-term survival? In the face of existential dangers including growing Islamic fundamentalist death threats that are ignored around the world (including in the UN, EU and US) and growing apathy of Jews in the diaspora, perhaps a brief history of the Jewish peoples’ struggles against anti-Semitism is worth a revisit.

A modern version of Jewish history can be analyzed through the lens of the Three Little Pigs. In the Jewish version of this fable, the Jewish people are the three pigs (the kosher version, of course) looking to build a home to live as Jews in peace. The anti-Semites are the big bad wolf (of which there is no shortage) intent on ripping the pigs from their homes and destroying them.

The Jews in ancient times built houses of straw that were blown awayby anti-Semitic wolves during the Roman Empire, the Spanish Inquisition, and centuries-old pogroms. By the time they reached the shores of Europe in the later part of the 20th century, Jews built wooden homes believing themselves safe to practice their religion among the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We all know how that ended.

In the Jewish version of the story, the third pig represents two brothers that I’ll call Cain and Abel. Abel smartly moved to the land of Israel. The Jews in Israel learned their lessons of history, recognized their responsibility as God’s Chosen People, and built homes of bricks. And every time the big bad wolf attempted to climb down the chimney and destroy them, they further fortified their cities with concrete walls and missile defense systems. After thousands of years of wandering the global desert, they understood the gift – and obligation – bestowed upon them by God. To call these Jews survivors would be an understatement.

Cain moved to the U.S. and presents quite a different story indeed. American Jews have not learned the lessons of history and ignore their responsibilities to God and the Jewish people as a whole. Instead of building houses of bricks they have chosen to build a “big tent.”

They emulate their European ancestors who focused so intently on assimilating into society that they could not see the fires of the Holocaust burning around them. They worship false idols and pray at the Torah of abortion rights, environmentalism, and socialism much the way the Jewish people fell for the golden calf while waiting for Moses to descend Mt. Sinai with God’s Commandments.

Like their ancestors, American Jews may find themselves forced to wander a desert of secular empty activism in the hopes of one day returning to their homeland if they do not wake up to the dangers surrounding them. A big tent is no way to survive when big bad wolves are looking to destroy you.

Mayor Barkat to American Leaders: Ensure Jerusalem’s Unity

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat is currently conducting an official visit to the United States. During his visit in Washington he met this week (Apr. 1) with leading Congressmen, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R – IN) and Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs Congressman Edward Royc (R – CA).

Barkat presented Jerusalem’s development over the past years and reviewed the challenges currently facing the city. He discussed with the Congress members Jerusalem’s status in the international arena, and asked them to ensure that Jerusalem stay unified. On their part, the Congress members discussed the battle they are waging against the financial and academic boycotts on Israel and vowed to continue fighting the de-legitimization of Israel and Jerusalem.

Later on Barkat met with Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, and discussed with him the challenges facing the Holy City.

AIPAC hosted the Mayor at a special dinner where he dined with senior commentators, lobbyists and Israel supporters in Washington. Barkat presented his vision for Jerusalem, emphasizing Jerusalem’s openness and accessibility to adherents of all religions, and that the city has experienced economic and physical growth. Barkat thanked AIPAC members for their uncompromising commitment to Jerusalem’s safety and unity.

Pro-Israel Activists Must Go on the Offensive and Reach Out

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

If there is one thing that pro-Israel activists can learn from their adversaries, it is how to effectively convey their message and engage in outreach to other groups within American society. Unfortunately, as we speak, too often pro-Israel activists are too much on the defensive, not enough on the offensive, and fail to reach out to potential allies. They prefer to respond to the accusations made by the other side, rather than make claims of their own.

For example, when I worked as content manager for United With Israel, a hasbara organization with over two million followers on facebook, the organization decided to take a stance against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the position of US Secretary of Defense. At that time, I proposed that the organization should try to reach out to feminists due to his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, Democrats that opposed his nomination because he is a Republican, and gay rights activists who were disturbed that he opposed the appointment of an ambassador to Luxemberg merely because of his sexual orientation.

Naturally, pro-Israel activists had their own reasons for being opposed to his nomination. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defemation League stated, “Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel.  His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling.   The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former President Jimmy Carter.”

However, United With Israel decided not to reach out to disenchanted Democrats, gay rights activists, and enraged feminists, preferring instead to stick only to their own pro-Israel interests. Their behavior was systematic of failed Israeli hasbara tactics, which in the end resulted in Hagel’s nomination to be US Secretary of Defense. The pro-Israel interests were not sufficient to defeat Hagel’s nomination. For such a campaign to be successful, pro-Israel activists needed to reach out to the gay rights community, feminists, and the outraged Democrats.

Pro-Israel activists need to understand that they don’t have to have their interests always coincide with other interest groups in order to collaborate with them to achieve a common purpose. One can be a religious observant Orthodox Jew and have ones own opinion related to homosexuality, the Democratic Party, and abortion (even though most religious Jews would accept abortion in cases of rape or when the life of the mother is at stake).

Yet, one can still collaborate with people who value those interests in order to achieve a common goal. For sure, many of the Muslim anti-Israel groups that are reaching out to the homosexual and feminist community don’t agree with these interest groups on many fundamental issues. They understand that in the long run, overlooking those differences in order to obtain an ally is more important than any other consideration.

Another instance of our failed Hasbara approach is that all too often, our articles respond to allegations from the other side, rather than make accusations of our own. For example, when an Egyptian columnist recently stated that Israel should compensate the Egyptians for the jewels they stole from them during their exodus out of Egypt and for the Ten Plagues, I wrote an article attacking this Egyptian columnist’s statements in JerusalemOnline. I agree that it was important as a journalist to respond to his ridiculous assertions and expose them. Yet in retrospect, some Israeli columnist who speaks Arabic should have evaluated all of the articles written by Ahmad Al Gamal and written an article going on the offensive, with a headline to the effect stating, “Egyptian Columnist is an Anti-Semite.”

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

An Open Letter to Max Blumenthal

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

The following is an open letter written to Max Blumenthal after his lecture at Brandeis University on March 3, 2014, in which he verbally attacked Daniel Mael and Chloé Valdary for being Zionists:

Dear Mr. Blumenthal,

Our congratulations, sir, you’ve gone and done it! You’ve discovered our little secret! Our articles, our work in the Zionist movement for the past few years, the blood, sweat, and tears we have devoted to this cause, all of this has nothing to do with anything we firmly believe in. No, as it turns out, we are really puppets whose strings are being controlled by a mega Jewish, (ahem) Israel lobby, an all powerful Christian lobby with whom we have never actually had any association whatsoever, and also aliens from Mars who have deemed us to be the perfect pet project for their goals of world domination. We really have no idea how you have come to be so gifted in academic prowess as to make these conclusions, but we commend you for your wisdom, Mr. Blumenthal. Really, we bow to your intellectual preeminence.

As it turns out, we are either white, rich, evil, elitist Zionist who only cares about fellow white rich people, or black people who obviously have no capability to think for themselves. In fact, AIPAC flew us to policy conference so we could hang out with other rich whites and black preachers. You were also right about your anti-semitism: There is absolutely no possible way you are anti-Semitic. Even though you have mocked Jewish ritual prayer and advocated for boycotting the only Jewish state on the face of the earth, there’s absolutely 0% chance you could possibly hate the dignity and self-worth of your own people. We shouldn’t even touch on your wonderful love letter to Israel, Goliath.

The only possible explanation for our appearance is that we have been “sent” by the proverbial lobbying monsters mentioned above. We know, We know, we are utterly incapable of coming to any conclusions on our own with regard to this conflict; Our simple undergraduate minds are incompetent, and we have yet to acquire basic analytical skills at this point in our lives. In fact, this letter is probably being ghost written for us at this point in time. On the other hand, you, Mr. Blumenthal, have displayed such talent in moral acuteness as to deny an entire people their right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. For this, we commend you for your dedication to the cause of humanity and justice.

Since you have found us out, we may as well list a few other things the Zionists are planning. We actually work for an organization called ‘The Elders of Zion.’ Perhaps you’ve heard of them? At any rate, we are one of their agents. As you can imagine, we are paid hefty sums of money, 4.6 billion dollars a year to be exact. We are in charge of disseminating information around the globe, regulating UN meetings in New York, controlling seagull calls, and sending signals to sharks in the deep blue sea. We elders also work closely with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Cinderella’s sisters in controlling things that occur in the world. You see, we were the ones who made Cinderella’s glass slipper come off when the clock struck 12.

We are also behind the misinformation campaign that mischaracterizes Iran’s regime as evil and sinister. The Iranian regime is actually a democracy ruled by angels and ponies. The images on television of Iranian civilians being persecuted and oppressed are actually a vast conspiracy, a television show put on by Zionist actors and directors. The Iranian people are actually treated with kindness and goodness by their leaders; They are even given cute little treats from Candy Crush every day and some are even selected to visit Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory if they really behave.

Iran Accuses Israel of Faking Ship Raid

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Iran accused Israel of faking a raid on a ship laden with arms bound for the Gaza Strip.

“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza. Captured just in time for annual [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] anti-Iran campaign,” Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said Thursday on his official Twitter account. “Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week to attend the annual AIPAC conference, where he pressed for a tougher U.S. posture in nuclear talks underway between Iran and the major powers.

Israeli troops on Wednesday seized the Panama-flagged ship in the Red Sea. They said the ship was laden with M-302 long-range missiles to be smuggled into Gaza via Egypt.

The missiles, which Israel said originated in Iran, would allow rockets fired from Gaza to reach anywhere in Israel; currently, the range for rockets fired from Gaza is Israel’s south.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-accuses-israel-of-faking-ship-raid/2014/03/08/

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