web analytics
October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

American Campuses And Jews Who Know Not Zion

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

As another academic year begins at American colleges and universities, one can expect to see a continuation of the pattern in recent years in which many Jewish students either take a neutral stance in the face of the currently rampant campus assault on Israel or actually join in the assault.

Among the latter, some embrace the self-described “pro-Israel” but, in fact, Israel-bashing campus incarnation of J-Street, while others go further and enlist in the ranks of groups less coy than J Street, groups that, for example,  more unambiguously promote the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) agenda against Israel.

These include the explicitly anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). A number of Jewish students even join the cadres of the often openly anti-Semitic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), founded as an offshoot of the General Union of Palestinian Students and now the premiere BDS-cheerleading, Israel-demonizing organization on American campuses.

Significant voices in the Jewish community, looking at this phenomenon, and perceiving as well in some quarters beyond the universities a decrease in American Jewish identification with Israel, correlate these developments with supposed Israeli government failure to take steps towards advancing peace.

This argument has been made by, among others, Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, a newspaper produced with the support of the UJA-Federation of New York.

In an article that appeared earlier this year under the title “Frustration with Israel Growing Here at Home,” Rosenblatt discusses what he reports as having heard from members of the Jewish community, including community leaders, of grievances against Israel. Seemingly topping the list, and reflecting a view clearly shared by Rosenblatt, is “The hard fact… that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans, including many Jews, who want to see greater efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict and who put the onus for the impasse on Jerusalem.”

In the same vein, Rosenblatt observes, “Whether or not it is fair, the strong perception today is that the Israeli government is moving further right, and intransigent…” And “One national leader told me he’d like to fly to Israel, with a group of his top colleagues, to try to convince Netanyahu in dramatic fashion of the need for ‘a plan, any plan’ to break the impasse.”

And while these statements are couched as representing what Rosenblatt has heard from others, it is in his own voice that he states near the end of the piece “… Netanyahu and his government will continue to make decisions based on their own narrow and immediate political interests, and we can only hope they will coincide with national interests as well.”

The obvious implication is that the author does not see the prime minister as having been acting in Israel’s national interest, and that – reflecting the thrust of the article – Rosenblatt is referring specifically to the prime minister’s not being forthcoming enough in the quest for peace.

But can the falling away from Israel observed among many Jewish students on American campuses and among others in the American Jewish community genuinely be correlated with Israel’s not doing enough to advance peace?

First, is it true that Israel is responsible for the impasse vis-a-vis peace?

Any objective look at the history of efforts to achieve peace and at the reality on the ground today can only conclude that the claim of Israeli culpability is not credible.

Palestinian leadership is currently divided between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, which governs in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Hamas is openly dedicated not only to the killing of all Jews in Israel but all Jews worldwide. With Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians living there were free to turn the territory into another Singapore or Hong Kong and would have had wide Arab world and other support for doing so. That their leaders have chosen instead to eschew pursuing the building of a prosperous state for the sake of hewing to their genocidal priorities can hardly be blamed on Israel and cannot be remedied by any Israeli concessions.
The agenda of the Palestinian Authority differs little from that of Hamas. Abbas and his PA and Fatah associates insist on Israel’s illegitimacy and assert constantly that Jews have no historical, authentic connection to the land and are merely colonialist usurpers whose presence must be extirpated. The message hammered in their media, preached in their mosques, and taught in their schools is lurid defamation of Jews and the promotion of dedication to Jew-killing and to Israel’s destruction as the obligation of every Palestinian.

Abbas himself has repeatedly insisted that he will never recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders. He has rejected every offer of territorial compromise because proposals of a settlement have been conditioned on such Palestinian recognition of Israel and explicit acceptance of an agreement as a final status document. He and those around him refuse to forego future additional claims against Israel with the ultimate objective of the Jewish state’s dissolution. This was the same reason why Arafat in 2000 rejected Ehud Barak and President Clinton’s offers of a settlement and instead launched his terror war against Israel.

When Netanyahu imposed a ten-month moratorium on all construction within settlements, something no other prime minister had ever done, Abbas waited almost until the expiration of the moratorium to agree to a meeting and then predicated further meetings on an extension of the moratorium. Netanyahu has since been offering resuming bilateral negotiations without preconditions; Abbas refuses.

Abbas’s preferred scenario, like Arafat’s before him – the scenario Abbas is currently promoting at the UN and in Europe – is imposition of a territorial agreement on Israel backed up by international sanctions, an agreement that will entail no direct obligations on the PA but rather grant it a state without obliging it to forego further claims against Israel. It is the strategy enshrined in the Palestine Liberation Organization’s 1974 “plan of phases,” in which the PLO proposed to take whatever land it could gain by diplomacy and use that land as a base for pursuing Israel’s annihilation.

All of this is well known to anyone who cares to know. To correlate the falling away of support for Israel among some Jews, including some who have embraced stridently anti-Israel positions, with supposed Israeli intransigence vis-a-vis the quest for peace is disingenuous at best.

But there is a correlation to be made. Whatever weakening there is of Jewish support for Israel, on American campuses or elsewhere, can be correlated with the intensity of the local assault on Israel. Where the assault is most intense, so too is the falling away.

It has always been thus when Jews have been under siege, whether the target has been Diaspora Jewish communities or the Jewish state. Invariably some Jews have sought a solution to the painful onslaught by embracing the arguments of the attackers – however bigoted or absurd. They would either promote communal self-reform to, they imagine, placate the attackers; or detach themselves from the community to escape the assault; or even join the attackers to more dramatically disassociate themselves from the targeted Jews.

Israel’s experience of chronic besiegement has led to such reactions even within the country. Such predilections lay behind the Oslo process.

Arafat had never hidden his determination to pursue Israel’s destruction. Indeed, on the very night of the famous handshake on the White House lawn in September 1993, and the signing of the initial Oslo accords, Arafat was on Jordanian television from Washington explaining to his constituency and to the wider Arab world that they should understand Oslo as the first phase of the aforementioned “plan of phases” for Israel’s annihilation.

He and his associates repeated this and similar declarations of their ultimate objective, as well as engaged in other forms of anti-Israel incitement, throughout the weeks and months that followed. In addition, in the wake of Arafat’s arrival in the territories, terrorism reached levels of intensity never before seen in Israel.

Yet virtually half the population of Israel, and a much higher percentage of its elites, insisted on deluding themselves into believing that Israeli concessions via the Oslo process would placate the nation’s enemies and lead to peace.

Only after Arafat turned down all the concessions made by Ehud Barak at Camp David in the summer of 2000, likewise rejected President Clinton’s proposals, offered no counter-proposals, and instead launched his terror war, which over the ensuing few years killed more than a thousand Israelis and left thousands more horribly maimed, did those Israelis enthralled with Oslo begin to wake in large numbers from their delusions. Still more did so in response to Israel’s unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza in 2005 and receiving in return thousands of rockets aimed at its cities and villages and three mini-wars.

There remain Israelis who, despite all the intrusions of blood-soaked reality on their wishful reveries, continue to embrace fantasies of Palestinian leaders as peace partners and Israeli concessions as resolving the conflict. But they are far fewer now, as reflected in recent elections and opinion polls. It is significant, however, that greatly overrepresented among them are members of the nation’s elites – cultural, academic, journalistic, and elements of the political elite. Consequently, much of the chatter we hear from Israel, chatter dominated by those elites, entails reprises of Oslo-era delusions and gives a very misleading picture of what most Israelis think now.

Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor, touches on this in a cogent response to Rosenblatt titled “Why Israel Is Frustrated with American Jewish Leaders: Fringe Israeli voices that polarize and demonize our society are given legitimacy and resources in America” (published by Rosenblatt, to his credit, in The Jewish Week on January 27, 2016). Steinberg points out that many American Jewish leaders take their cue from such marginal voices. He goes on: “Like most Israelis, I also hope for a peace plan, but not any plan, and certainly not one that will bring us yet another disaster when it fails…. So no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR among liberal students, but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.”

But the problem is not simply that American Jewish leaders respond to fringe Israeli voices that demonize Israel and do so because such voices, while marginal within Israel, are overrepresented within the Jewish state’s vocal elites. Rather, too many American Jewish leaders are predisposed to embrace the message of those voices, the message that a solution to the conflict could be had if Israel would only will it. And they are predisposed to that message because too many American Jewish leaders are swayed by the indictments of Israel coming from strata of America with which they identify: the Obama administration, major constituencies within the Democrat party, elements of the cultural elite, the liberal churches, the professoriate and its campuses.

They are eager to embrace these groups’ indictments as fair and reasonable, even though they are not, and to seek modification of Israeli policies to assuage the indicters, all – as Steinberg suggests – with little consideration of what most Israelis think or of Israel’s actual predicament.

Again, this is an old story. Indeed, criticism of Zionist aspirations by some Jewish leaders and elements of the broader Jewish community, criticism in deference to external pressures, long predated the modern Zionist movement. In, for example, German states in central Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a major argument invoked against extending civic rights to Jews was that the Jews constituted a separate nation and so were unfit for such rights. A common Jewish response was to disavow any such national self-comprehension; and new, reformist congregations even stripped the liturgy of references to longing for Zion and Jerusalem to emphasize this new self-definition.

In addition, as is typical when minorities embrace the indictments of the surrounding majorities and seek to appease them via self-reform, Jews following this course did not acknowledge they were doing so to appease bigoted attackers. Rather, they cast their course as moral and ethical. They argued that while Judaism always had its universal mission, a mission of promoting a more ethical, humane order in the world, Judaism as a light unto the nations, that mission had become Judaism’s exclusive role over the preceding two millennia and any return to national aspirations was an atavistic step to be shunned.

(It took the Holocaust to swing many leaders of Reform Judaism in America, a branch of the faith derived in large part from reformist German Jewish congregations, to support the Zionist project and recognize the Jewish desire for national self-determination as not atavistic after all.)

The anti-Jewish indictment arguing that Jews did not deserve equal civic rights because they were part of a separate nation, and the accommodating response by major elements of the community, merged with a related indictment and related response.

An additional, common anti-Jewish line of attack was that Jews were uniquely disposed to focus only on their own narrow, parochial interests and disregard the plight of those beyond their own community. The response by some Jewish leaders and others within the community was to eschew Jewish communal issues – even as Jews were confronted with particular challenges and particular threats; to ostentatiously demonstrate their devotion to addressing problems other than those of their own community; and to depict the abandonment of the former and devotion to the latter as the moral, ethical course.

Essentially the same dynamic can be seen at play today as many Jewish leaders and the communal institutions they head give priority to accommodating those elements of American society critical of Israel, elements which they – in a skewed vision of reality that has its own distinct history – are predisposed to see as representative of the moral, ethical course which is the proper, universal Jewish vocation. They are more prone to giving ground in the face of criticism of Israel by those elements, however unfair and biased the criticism, than in looking closely at the threats Israel faces and its strategic challenges and vulnerabilities and responding forcefully to critics who ignore those realities.

It should come as no shock then, given all this, that so many Jewish students go off to college knowing little of those realities. How can it be otherwise when – even looking at students who grow up in households connected to Jewish institutions – what they and their families hear in their temples and read in their Jewish newspapers and imbibe from other community organs is as likely to be indictments of Israeli policy, all too fully internalized by rabbis and editors and organization heads, than any informed, reality-based,  clear-sighted, intellectually honest and unapologetic defense of Israel?

And what do Jewish students encounter on campus? One reality greeting them will be a well-documented increase in anti-Semitism, including even, in some instances, physical assaults on Jews, much of it incited and perpetrated by the, again, often openly Jew-baiting Students for Justice in Palestine (or, perhaps more properly, Students for Judaeophobia), whose objective is Israel’s annihilation. As noted, they will also encounter some Jews among the mostly Muslim cadres of SJP.

Also greeting them on many campuses will be what is, in effect, SJP’s Jewish auxiliary, Jewish Voice for Peace. Like “Students for Justice in Palestine,” “Jewish Voice for Peace” is a propaganda-driven misnomer; the only peace the organization proffers for Israelis is the peace of the dead. A perusal of its website reveals its parroting of virtually every anti-Israel canard promoted by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and their fellow travelers, and its endorsing of those groups’ goals.

For JVP, prior to the League of Nations action mandating creation of a Jewish homeland in “Palestine,” the area was not part of the Ottoman Empire but rather a Palestinian Arab state which the Jews subsequently usurped; and there was no Arab expulsion of close to a million Jews from Arab nations, and no Arab efforts to annihilate the Jews of the Mandate, and Jews have no right to national self-determination, and Palestinian Arabs have the right to pursue Israel’s dissolution.

That a small minority of Jewish students take the extreme step of affiliating with JVP or SJP should not be entirely surprising. Motivations no doubt vary from individual to individual. Some, for example, may simply be following a family tradition of bowdlerized, ultimately auto-genocidal, Jewish “morality,” while others may be rebelling against a more conventional familial Jewish connectedness.

But the broader reality is that, again, whenever Jews have been under attack there have always been some who seek to escape the assault by joining the attackers.

Perhaps this is even more the case in an academic environment, as students are particularly eager to be accepted by their peers and their professors and to deck themselves in the current campus fashion, whether its hue be far-Left red or fascist brown. The strange contemporary alliance between red and brown, far Left “progressivism” and Islamist fascism, seems particularly compelling for some.

J Street’s campus operation, which, like the parent organization, characterizes itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace, and which promotes the parent organization’s policies, has drawn a much larger following among Jewish students than JVP or SJP. But its pro-Israel claims run counter to those policies.

Israelis of almost all political stripes reject a return to the pre-1967 armistice lines, the so-called Green Line, in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The consensus is, as the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (the key UN document relating to the territorial issue) asserted, that those lines left Israel too vulnerable and invited further aggression against the country.

Yitzhak Rabin, in his last Knesset speech prior to his assassination, listed West Bank areas – an incomplete list, he indicated – that Israel would need to retain and populate in any final settlement to assure its security and survival. Yet J Street opposes any Israeli presence beyond the Green Line and advocates the United States supporting, via unilateral policy initiatives or a UN Security Council resolution or an initiative in conjunction with other major powers, reversing Resolution 242 and endorsing the Green Line as the basis for defining a future border.

J Street also advocates the United States instituting punitive measures against Israel for any activity beyond the Green Line. It also claims that American administrations have consistently viewed settlements beyond the Green Line as “illegal,” when in fact only the Carter Administration labeled them illegal and, as attested to by many experts in the field, there is much in international law that weighs in favor of their legality.

Israelis have fought three wars against Hamas in Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, with each conflict triggered by Hamas attacks, particularly rocket fire, against Israel’s civilian population. Yet J Street has repeatedly drawn a moral equivalence between Israel and its openly genocidal foe, and has often parroted Hamas claims and statistics about the course of the conflicts and the resultant casualties.

J Street is consistently silent about the goals of Hamas and of the Palestinian Authority, their mutual rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders in “Palestine,” and the PA’s rejection of all negotiation proposals offered by Israel or by the United States.

J Street asserts it opposes the “global BDS movement” that targets all of Israel for boycott, divestment and sanction, but does not oppose BDS efforts targeting the territories beyond the Green Line. It sees such boycotts as consistent with its goal of promoting Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line. But, again, the vast majority of Israelis, along with notable Western military and strategic experts, believe that such a withdrawal would render Israel fatally vulnerable.

In addition, the “global BDS movement” also promotes, like J Street, more circumscribed boycotts limited to the territories, as in its partially successful efforts to advance such boycotts in Europe. It does so because it knows that even such limited boycotts, which serve to weaken Israel’s presence in the territories, in advancing the goal of Israeli retreat to the Green Line serves also to undermine Israel’s strategic viability and ultimate survival.

J Street has worked with supporters of the Iranian government and strongly backed last year’s agreement with Iran that legitimized that nation’s nuclear program and released to the mullahs over $100 billion in embargoed funds in exchange for limited curtailment of its pursuit of operable nuclear weapons. It did so even as Iran has consistently reasserted its goal of annihilating Israel and consistently used its resources to arm and finance terrorist proxies, such as Hizbullah, that target Israel.

The leadership of J Street is obviously less interested in the concerns of most Israelis and the realities of their predicament than in aligning itself with an American administration ambivalent at best towards those concerns and realities and with other elites in America who share similar attitudes.

Among Jewish students, J Street’s true believers are drawn largely from those whose priorities are the same. Its Jewish student support is also drawn from those who see in J Street a middle course between unabashed advocacy of the rightness of Israel’s case and the legitimacy of its concerns and outright embrace of the assaults of those who want Israel destroyed, a middle course that many hope will pass muster as compatible with the campus zeitgeist. The group also attracts some of the innocent and uninformed who are sympathetic to Israel but know too little to appreciate the dangers that J-Street’s agenda represents for Israelis.

It is particularly among the latter two groups that the failure of much of American Jewish leadership as reflected in Gary Rosenblatt’s article looms large, the failure of leaders who bewail the falling away from concern with Israel’s well-being but seek to place the onus for the falling away on Israel.

The assault on American Jewish students is intense and entails not only the hate-filled attacks of fellow students but all too often similar hatred emanating from faculty, especially in the humanities and social sciences (and even faculty focused on Jewish studies, as recently reflected in the ugly, intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt anti-Israel screed produced by Hasia Diner and Marjorie N. Fried and published in Haaretz on August 1), as well as the widespread tolerance of college and university administrations for the assault on Israel and its supporters.

Students are rendered more vulnerable to the corrosive impact of the assault on their identification with Israel when Jewish leaders are remiss in their responsibilities to counter that vulnerability both by arming students with the truth about Israel and by providing a strong counter-force against those forces engineering the assault.

Rather than offering such a counter-force, some leaders of major Jewish organizations actually extend support to those engaged in the campus assault on Israel. Earlier this year, the current head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, a former high-ranking Obama administration official, spoke to J Street students and essentially endorsed policies toward Israel promoted in J Street’s campus activities. The ADL, both under Greenblatt and his predecessor, Abe Foxman, has also criticized state and federal efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation, including legislation to withhold funds from institutions of higher learning that enact BDS measures.

The ADL has argued that its stance is based on the defense of freedom of speech. But it requires considerable logical contortion to twist into a free speech issue withholding taxpayer funds from publicly supported colleges and universities that pursue policies biased against Israel and ultimately aimed at undermining that nation’s viability. The ADL stance seems rather to be directed towards conforming to the political predilections of particular echelons in America with which its leaders identify, and to doing so with little regard for the impact on Israelis and their well-being.

Among campus developments illustrative of the failure of American Jewish leadership vis-a-vis Jewish college and university students, few are as noteworthy as the relatively new “Open Hillel” phenomenon.

Hillel has long provided a center for Jewish activities and connectedness on campuses for those students seeking such connectedness and has, of course, been the leading organization in doing so. It reports that it has a presence at more than 550 colleges and universities. With regard to Israel, Hillel International guidelines declare that the organization is “steadfastly committed to the support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders as a member of the family of nations.”

The guidelines also assert that “Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; [or] exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

But in recent years, students on some campuses have taken exception to these guidelines and insisted, for example, that their campus Hillels host events co-sponsored by the virulently anti-Israel SJP and the hardly less anti-Israel JVP, both of which delegitimize and demonize Israel and seek to undermine its existence. Under the rubric “Open Hillel,” advocates of this course claim they are simply seeking to broaden the discussion of Israel beyond the positions articulated in the Hillel guidelines.

The first “Open Hillel” conference was held in the fall of 2014 and reportedly drew more than 350 participants. Jewish Voice for Peace played a prominent role in the conference program, as did other voices hostile to Israel and challenging of its very existence. An attendee, writing in The Tower Magazine, noted that “… while there were definitely some views expressed that were even more extreme than JVP, I never heard a single opinion expressed that could be called more ardently Zionist than J Street – which itself has a very problematic relationship with Zionism.”

Thus far only a handful of campus Hillels in America have declared themselves to have embraced the “Open Hillel” agenda. But in fact, many more do partner with organizations that support BDS at some level and promote other anti-Israel policies, most notably J Street but also at times groups such as JVP and even SJP. A key explanation for this is that many, likely most, rabbis serving as Hillel directors – either because of views held before coming to their Hillel position or because they have been won over to conforming to popular campus biases – are themselves sympathetic to the intellectually insupportable and morally obtuse blaming of Israeli policy for the absence of peace and for the wide hostility to Israel in academic circles.

In contrast, those Hillel directors who are fully supportive of Hillel International’s guidelines regarding Israel and are unabashed supporters of the Jewish state and its right to demand a genuine and defensible peace in return for concessions are a distinct minority.

Moreover, Hillel International has not aggressively sought to hold Hillel chapters to the guidelines on Israel as a condition for their continuing to use the Hillel name. Nor has the wider community of leading Jewish organizations openly addressed the highly problematic developments within this key Jewish campus institution, much less taken a stance on those developments. No doubt this is, again, in large part because so many prominent figures in those organizations are likely to be among the Jewish leaders who are not prepared to challenge Israel-baiting segments of society, such as major elements of academia, with which they identify, and prefer instead to blame Israeli policy for those groups’ hostility to Israel.

One hears some voices in Jewish leadership who are essentially sympathetic to the strong Hillel International parameters regarding Israel but at the same time argue that Jewish organizational life ought to provide a “big tent” and be open to Jews of all opinions who want to identify with the community.

Proponents of this view suggest, regarding Hillel, it ought to be seen as a positive that those Jewish students so critical of Israel nevertheless want to be part of campus Jewish communal life.

But of course they want to be part of Hillel not to share a common space with Jewish students different from themselves – Jewish students who, for example, see Israel differently from how they do. If that were their interest, they would create an “Open J Street” and “Open JVP.” Rather, they want to be part of Hillel so they can undermine support for Israel from within the flagship Jewish campus organization; so that they can use the organization in their quest to separate identifying with Israel – at least Israel as comprehended by and defended by the great majority of Israelis – from Jewish identity.

It is certainly true that one can identify as Jewish and even be committed to living life in a manner infused with Jewish content and yet be critical of the Zionist project or supportive of policies that would compromise Israel’s security and threaten its viability. But to welcome such people within a “big tent” of Jewish communal life is morally problematic. It entails giving communal sanction to those who would either deprive fellow Jews of the right of national self-determination accorded other groups or endanger the welfare and lives of the more than six million Jews for whom Israel is home.

Nor can the widespread hostility to Israel, nor the murderous hostility to all Jews that seeks justification in anti-Zionism, be legitimately invoked by Jews as a reason for challenging the Zionist project or Israeli policies vital to the security of the state. Again, it has been all too common for some Jews, in the face of anti-Jewish bigotry, even murderous bigotry, to blame other Jews rather than the haters.

More broadly, whatever the rationale or motivation, it is morally obtuse for Jewish leaders, such as those alluded to in the Gary Rosenblatt article cited earlier, to ignore the realities of Israel’s predicament and to insist on dangerous concessions by Israel to appease those indifferent to or hostile to the nation’s well-being, whether Jews or non-Jews, whether they are on American campuses or elsewhere.

Israel’s primary obligation is not to win a popularity contest either in the world at large or within some Jewish “big tent,” many of whose members have priorities inimical to the state’s well-being. Rather, its obligation is to protect and defend its citizens, build the state along the same ethical, Jewish and democratic principles that have been its essential guidelines since its founding, and to make its case as best its can to the world, including to the jaundiced within the Jewish world, but never to compromise its vital interests for the sake of advancing its case.

As Gerald Steinberg said in response to Rosenblatt, “… no, ‘any plan’ that helps Israel’s PR… but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.” If that displeases some in the American Jewish establishment, then shame on them.

Kenneth Levin

History Of Jews In Golders Green

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

After the Jews were allowed back into England around 1656, they came from Europe by ship into the ports on the English East coast, mainly London, but also to some of the smaller ports, such as Dover.

London during that time period was a small city, bounded by a medieval wall with many gates, some of whose names are still in use today: Moorgate and Aldgate, for example. Indeed in the city itself one of the main streets retains the name London Wall, and the remaining sections of the wall can be seen alongside it.

The Jews who landed at London’s port, located at the eastern end of the city, did not have the wherewithal to go far, and settled in what it still known as the “East End,” like what happened in the Lower East Side of New York.

In 1809, the underground railway was extended to Golders Green and beyond, and many Jews who could afford to began moving in that direction. This was probably the real start of the Jews settling in the NW London areas.

Mikvah

Mikvah

There has been a prominent Jewish community in this part of London since the first half of the 20th century. The Jewish community took root after Hitler’s rise to power, with the first German Jewish immigrants forming the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash. Soon after, Galician Jewish immigrants formed other synagogues. With these shuls came the start of Jewish schools such as Menorah before the onset of World War II.

By the 1950s, the Jewish population had tripled. Today there are close to 50 kosher restaurants and eateries under rabbinical supervision in Golders Green. There are also more than 60 synagogues dotted throughout the area serving the extremely Orthodox to the quite liberal. They continue into neighbouring Hendon. In addition, there are 30 schools (some in outlying areas due to space restriction), many of them private.

Dustan Road

Dustan Road

In 1922, a group of Orthodox Jews consecrated a synagogue at Dunstan Road, Golders Green, and since then many others have joined them in that 2-mile square of space. The synagogue still stands. During the week you will see many Jews dressed in traditional clothing and openly wearing head coverings. As can be found in other parts of the world today, the shuls do have security, but Baruch Hashem there has not been any trouble or difficulty in Golders Green to disturb Orthodox Jews. As a matter of fact, on Shabbat and all holidays, very many walk to shul with their talliseim worn openly over their coat and heads covered by a hat or a shtreimel.

Jews make up 37% of the population according to the 2011 census, whereas Christians made up 26%. Ethnically, the Golders Green ward was 64% white (43% British, 21% other, 1% Irish).

Today, there is also an eiruv and at least one mikvah.

Golders Green is well known as a secure and safe “hub” of the London Jewish community.

Murray Lee

Denied & Covered Up Since 2001: NY Radio Stars Blamed 9/11 On Israel & Jews

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

On Thursday Lidblog posted remembrances of that horrible day that changed the world, 9/11/01. It’s important to continue the story because September 12th is also imbued with memories of hatred, but a different kind.

After driving in to Manhattan on the day after the attack (Wednesday) we told everyone who showed up at the office to take the rest of the week off. America was in shock, New Yorkers were in shock, and my team was certainly in shock. Let’s face it with there was no way anyone could concentrate on something as trivial such as a children’s magazine (at the time I was the publisher of Nickelodeon Magazine).

That 9/12 drive home is scorched into my memory as much as the 9/11 drive described yesterday.  also. Not because of the still-opaque black curtain still obscuring the view of downtown Manhattan, or the sandpaper-like air that still filled my lungs every time I inhaled, but for the hatred coming from the car radio. Instead of trying to unite the country against the terrorist threat of al Qaeda, hosts of one of the top radio shows in afternoon drive, in the biggest radio market in America, spewed venom against an ethnic group in America. Normally that kind of hatred would lead to a suspension. However, rather than discipline their cash cows, the radio station covered up the incident by “conveniently” losing the tape of that day’s show.

Fifteen years later these hosts have never acknowledged their mistake and have never apologized. Even worse, they ignore the truth and deny what they did (one of them denied it as recently as Sept. 2016).

As I did every drive home, on Sept. 12th the car radio was tuned to NY Sports radio station WFAN. A good thing about leaving early was getting to listen to station’s afternoon stars, Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. These two were entertaining, not only because of their extensive sports knowledge, but because listeners could tell these two really hated each other; there was always an undercurrent of tension because an argument could spring up at any moment.

This day however, the day after the attack on American soil these two agreed. They agreed to launch a fact deprived commentary blaming both Israel and American Jews for the attack on America the day before.

As they went on Russo opined (and Francesca agreed) that American Jews needed to prove their loyalty as Americans; choose between Israel, which Mike called “a failed experiment,” and the U.S. The two bigots suggested Jews in America should take a loyalty oath to the country to prove that they were loyal to the US and not Israel.

How did WFAN react to this blatant Antisemitism? Suspension? On-air apologies? After all this is the station that six years later fired Don Imus their morning drive host and number one money-maker. Imus was fired for joking the Rutgers girls’ basketball team were a bunch of “nappy-headed hos.”  For the 9/12 display of bigotry, WFAN reacted by sweeping their comments under the rug, their two cash-cow of bigots denied it ever happened, and the station even claimed they “lost” the tape of the day’s programming.

NY Post columnist Phil Mushnick blasted the pair more than once for their denials.

In a rare case of concentrating on their mission instead of working to elect Democrats and pushing progressive causes, the Anti-Defamation League which was flooded with calls, sent a letter to the station which said in part:

“Since September 12th, ADL offices in the tri-state area have been flooded with calls complaining about comments made by “Mike and the Mad Dog” show hosts Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. The complaints focus on the hosts suggesting the motive behind the World Trade Center attack is U.S. support for the State of Israel or, more importantly, suggesting a divided loyalty for American Jews between our country and Israel.”

As of November 2009, the ADL never received a response from their letter:

“From: ADL Media [mailto:ADLMedia@adl.org]

Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 11:42 AM

Subject: RE: Abraham H. Foxman’s letter to WFAN in 2001

As far as we can recollect, we had no response from WFAN”

When the NY Post’s Mushnick wrote about the incident in the weeks after 9/11, the sports talkers took to the airwaves to express their denial.

A year after the 9/12 bias attack Mushnick responded:

“… Francesa’s claim that I fabricated quotes, then attributed them to him is a total lie because I never quoted either Francesa or Russo in that column. I couldn’t quote them because WFAN claimed that it did not tape that particular segment.
But I did hear them – first-hand, not “second or third-hand” – then wrote a column critical of them for characterizing the 9/11 attacks as the fault of Israel, and by extension, American Jews……The fact that no tape was, in Francesa’s words, “ever found” – he failed to mention WFAN’s claim not to have taped the segment I wrote about – was used by Francesa, Monday, as proof that I fabricated a story about him.”

 

Like Mushnick, I heard it with my own ears.

In a 2009 column Mushnick added:

Days after the 9/11 attacks, Francesa, global affairs expert (it’s a gift), launched two bigoted, backwoods and facts-depraving commentaries blaming both Israel and American Jews for America’s peril at the hands of terrorists.
Francesa also said the Jews he knows are disloyal Americans in that they would go to war to defend Israel but not the United States.
In the wake of an attack on the U.S. by Islamic lunatics, Francesa even called upon American Jews to prove their virtue as Americans, to choose between Israel, which he called “a failed experiment,” and the U.S.
As a third-generation American Jew, whose great-uncle was a WWI doughboy, and whose father was a WWII Naval Lt., then commander of the Staten Island chapter of the Jewish War Veterans, I was, shall we say, displeased by Francesa’s determination that the time had come for me to swear allegiance to the United States.
On Sept. 23, 2001 the above appeared in this column. In WFAN’s response, on behalf of Francesa, station boss Mark Chernoff denied that Francesa said any of that — despite thousands, including WFAN staff, having heard what I’d heard. My challenge to produce those tapes was ignored.

 

Website Bob’s Blitz has evidence that there were recordings of that day’s shows.

 Some have alleged that WFAN claimed after the shows in question to have ‘lost the tapes.’ Francesa claimed in his retort that WFAN never made tapes.
Here is what WFAN’s website looked like in September of 2001. Not only did they have Real Media files online…they had some from callers! That indicates that not only did they have tapes of specific interviews but that they were also running the recorder for the entire show as caller tapes were produced.
wfanseptember2001

 

Earlier this week, just days before the 15th anniversary of the day Mike and the Mad Dog flooded NY’s airways with hatred, Francesca (who now does afternoon drive on WFAN solo) responded to a caller who asked about the call for a Jewish loyalty oath almost a decade and a half earlier, by saying, “anything that was brought up is utter utter nonsense”

I am told that that his former partner Chris Russo also denies what thousands of people heard with their own ears. There is no way for me to report that for sure since I haven’t listened to WFAN since 9/12/01 nor have I tuned into the Chris Russo branded sports channel on Sirrus/XM, I do check search engines a few times a year in an attempt to find updates.
Like most Americans who suffered through those horrible days, the sounds, tastes and pictures of the ghastly attack on America are embedded in my memory.  In the aftermath of that beautifully clear day in mid-September 2001, most Americans, stood united against the hatred of al Qaeda. But here in New York City, two sportscasters chose not to stand united against the hatred of Islamist Terrorism; instead they chose to create even more hatred.

 

On Sunday we commemorate fifteen years since that first 9/11 horror and the one in Benghazi four years ago. It is well past the time for WFAN, Francesa and Chris Russo admit their mistake and apologize for their hatred. If you agree please contact Francesa, Russo and/or WFAN –tell them you saw proof of what they did, and ask why they never admitted their mistake and/or apologized.

Please help by contacting them in one (or many) of the following ways:

  • Email program manager Eric Spitz here espitz@wfan.com or call the station at 212-314-9200 to comment on Francesa.
  • As for Mr. Russo you can call Sirrus/XM corporate offices @ 212-584-5100 to tell them you think the Mad Dog should fess up and apologize.
  • Russo’s channel has a Facebook page were you can comment (click here).
  • Francesa doesn’t have a Facebook page, but WFAN’s page can be reached (and commented on) by clicking here.
Jeff Dunetz

More Israeli Jews See Trump as Better for Bibi While Arabs Choose Clinton

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

A full 62% of both the Jewish and the Arab public expect Hillary Clinton to win the November elections, while fewer than 25% think the winner will be Donald Trump; the rest do not know, according to the August Peace Index, a monthly survey of 400 Jews and 100 Arabs in Israel, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, which is an independent, leftwing think tank located in Jerusalem.

On the question of which of the two candidates will be better for the current Israeli government, 38.5% of the Jews in Israel pick Trump, compared with only 33% who think Clinton and Netanyahu are a good match. However, on the question of “whom would you want to win the US presidential elections?” 43% prefer Clinton, 34% pick Trump.

On the Jewish left, 86% prefer Clinton over Trump (9%); in the center 57% want Clinton over Trump (23%); the right prefers Trump (49%) over Clinton (23%), but more than 25% of rightwing Israelis said they did not know who was better.

In the Arab public, 40% think Clinton will be better for the Israeli government’s policy, while 31% think both candidates will be good for Israel and only 14% expect Trump to be better. On the question of “Whom would you want to win the elections?” 58% of the Arab public want Clinton over Trump (11%), with a whopping 31% saying they don’t know which candidate to support.

The August survey also inquired about the trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria, who is accused of killing an Arab terrorist who had already been neutralized in Hebron last March. 65% of the Jewish public justify Azaria’s action and uphold his claim that he shot the terrorist in self-defense out of fear that the latter was wearing an explosive belt. Only 25% support the military establishment’s position that Azaria violated the rules of engagement and shot the terrorist for vengeance. The rest, 10%, preferred not to answer.

Rightwing Jews support Azaria at an overwhelming rate of 83%. 51% of centrist Jews, and even 20% of leftwing Jews also support Azaria. Support for Azaria is at 84% among army-age (18-24) Jews, and even more, 95%, among Haredim, and 79% among national religious Jews. A majority of traditional and secular Jews also support Azaria.

51.5% of the Jews support a group of reserve soldiers who recently announced that they will not report to duty when called as long as Azaria has not been completely exonerated. 43.5% oppose the group. On this question, 71% of rightwing Jews support the protest; but only 31.5% of centrist Jews and 14% of leftwing Jews do.

The survey notes that these political camps are not equal in size, and the rightwing now constitutes more than half of the Israeli Jewish public.

JNi.Media

Palestinian Talmud Appropriated By Jews

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the satirical PreOccupied Territory website}

Jerusalem, September 6 – Advanced Jewish scholars have been studying and claiming as their own an ancient work called the Palestinian Talmud, in what Palestinian activists say is yet another theft by Jews of everything Palestinian.

The Palestinian Talmud, compiled in the fourth century CE from earlier sources, has been studied and analyzed for many centuries in yeshivas, though much less than its later Babylonian counterpart. Pro-Palestinian advocates are railing against this prolonged act of appropriation, which they claim is an attempt to negate Palestinian culture and recast it as Jewish in the ongoing Zionist effort to displace the indigenous Palestinian people.

“They even call it the ‘Jerusalem’ Talmud, as if that somehow makes it Jewish,” charged Ali Abunimah, who runs the web site Electronic Intifada. “It’s not even written in Hebrew,” he noted, but Aramaic, the vernacular in the Holy Land when the Palestinian Talmud was developed.

Scholars note that even the content of the Palestinian Talmud has been Judaized. “It looks like all obvious references to indigenous Palestinian culture have been scrubbed from the text, and replaced with discussions of Jewish ritual and legal matters,” argued Dr. David Duke. “Under normal circumstances I would steer clear of anything called ‘Talmud,’ which everyone who’s anyone knows is the source of so much mendacity and violence, but here we’re talking about something we call ‘Palestinian,’ so it can’t be as bad as the other kind.”

The dawning recognition of the Palestinian Talmud as Palestinian is but the latest element in increasing awareness of the existence of a distinct Palestinian culture that preceded the mass Jewish immigration to Palestine that began in the late nineteenth century. The land, then under Ottoman control, followed by British as of 1917, was referred to internationally as Palestine, not Israel, including such contexts as postage stamps, sports teams, pavilions at the World’s Fair, maps, and tourism promotions, among others, the predominantly Jewish content and participants of those institutions notwithstanding.

Duke also noted that the Palestinian Talmud, as Judaized as it has become, still does not receive the pride of place it deserves in Jewish study. Jewish scholars claim that the Babylonian Talmud was redacted later and accounted for the Palestinian Talmud’s content, and is therefore considered more authoritative, but that does not convince him. “There’s clear racism in practice here – yeshivas spend lots and lots of time on the Babylonian Talmud, and not nearly as much on the Palestinian, and that has to be because they know it’s someone else’s that they’ve stolen,” he added.

PreOccupied Territory

Police: Jews Forbidden to Pray without Permit Anywhere in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

In a hearing before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court regarding young women who prayed in the Old City, a police representative declared that Jewish prayer is illegal without police permit in the Muslim quarter and violates public order.

Over the past few weeks, young Jewish men and women have been arrested for praying near the gates of the Temple Mount, despite the fact that there is no law, nor “status quo” agreement that prohibits this practice. But on Tuesday, police stated for the first time that such behavior, namely Jews praying anywhere in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, constitutes a crime.

According to the legal aid society Honenu, three young women were arrested on Sunday while praying in the vicinity of the Lions’ Gate. They were interrogated on suspicion of violating the public order and were released during the night, on condition that they appear in court Monday at a hearing of police request to restrict their entry into the Old City.

Their Honenu attorney, David Halevi, was asking what crime his clients had committed by praying in the Old City of Jerusalem, an area which has been a magnet for millions of Jews who pray there. Police representative Safi Sarhan and Superintendent Roy Avrahami explained that the very act of prayer in the Muslim quarter and near the Temple Mount gates without coordination with and permit from police is a violation of the public peace.

“You may pray anywhere in the Jewish quarter, but as soon as you go without authorization and pray in the Muslim quarter it causes disorder. Inside the Muslim quarter and in the vestibules they are prohibited from praying,” Sarhan stated. When attorney Halevi asked on which law police based this statement, Sarhan said it was based on police discretion, since they anticipate that Jews who pray in the Muslim quarter would provoke a disturbance of the peace.

Quite disturbingly, Judge Yael Yitav accepted the police argument and barred the defendants for 15 days from the Muslim quarter, the Temple Mount, and an area of 25 yards around the gates of the Temple Mount. Her decision follows an emerging pattern of law enforcement in Israel, whereby instead of protecting Jews from the Arab mob that attacks them for praying, police punish the Jews who pray “without permission.”

The court’s decision appears to fly in the face of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed in the 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 (III), whose Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

According to Judge Yitav, in Jerusalem, the term “everyone” in article 18 excludes Jews.

Attorney Halevi said in a statement that “this is an illegal conduct by Israel Police, which, in order to secure industrial peace has opted without authority and without any crime being committed by my clients to remove them while severely harming their freedom of movement and with abuse of police powers.”

According to Honenu, over the past month alone the organization has helped 35 Jews who were arrested on the Temple Mount and its entryways, 27 of whom were arrested while praying or rounding the gates outside the Temple Mount. Out of this group 16 were ordered to appear in court based on police demand to restrict their access to the holiest area to Jews.

JNi.Media

Zionism Belongs to Jews

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

The Palestinian cause should belong to Palestinians, but sadly it does not, and that is one of the main reasons for its failure. In 1947, the trend was established when the Arab world pushed the Palestinians to reject the UN partition plan and to fight their Jewish neighbors instead of living at peace with them.

This trend has continued since then, with Palestinians being encouraged repeatedly by their “friends” to reject Israeli offers for peace. Today the so-called pro-Palestinian movement, including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, is driven largely by non-Palestinians and even non-Arabs, and it is far more anti-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

These foreign parties have no interest in helping the Palestinians build a peaceful state. Their interest lies in satisfying an ideological view of what the Palestinians need, which often is very far from reality. For example, they oppose Israeli businesses in the West Bank, regardless of the consequences to the Palestinians. Five hundred Palestinians lost their jobs as a result of the closing of SodaStream which the BDS movement targeted.

Palestinian human rights activists Bassem Eid wrote, “There is no connection between the tactics and objectives of the BDS movement and the on-the-ground realities of the Middle East. Israelis continue to come to the West Bank to do business, and most Palestinians continue to buy Israeli goods. Indeed, if you ask Palestinians what they want, they’ll tell you they want jobs, secure education, and health”.

The Zionist movement has benefited from being driven by Jews and not by foreign parties. This was caused ironically by a negative, which is that the Jews are isolated – they are demonized by Arabs as well as by Europeans who, hypocritically, have not forgiven Jews for the Holocaust. So Jews had to define and implement Zionism themselves, and they did it to meet their own needs, not the needs of ideology-driven (even if well-intentioned) outsiders.

While the Palestinian cause is still today dominated by non-Palestinians, Zionism remains in the hands of Jews, and it is essential that it continues this way. Zionism is a Jewish movement to achieve their own national aspirations. Non-Jews may sympathize with their objectives and may even actively support them, but non-Jews never should dictate the meaning of Zionism or its future direction. If they did so, it would defeat the purpose of Zionism by putting the future of Jews in the hands of non-Jews.

The Jewish control of Zionism is however threatened by non-Jewish groups and individuals who take it upon themselves to define what Zionism should be. An example is right-wing Christian groups who promote Israeli presence in the West Bank – CFOIC (Christian Friends of Israeli Communities) claims that Israeli withdrawal from Gaza or the West Bank is “counter to God’s plan”. At the opposite end of this issue, former head of the IDF’s Central Command, Major General Gadi Shamni, says, “Every step we take should stem from one strategic goal — separation from the Palestinians”.

Jews, particularly Israeli Jews, understand the situation on the ground because they live it every day. For outsiders, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, the issues are abstract and often driven by dogma. Even non-Israeli Jews have a stake in the future of the Jewish state that non-Jews do not. Knowing the difficult history of the Jewish people and the ongoing antisemitism worldwide, that stake is very real.

If non-Jews take a bigger role in driving it, Zionism will suffer from some of the same ills that the Palestinian cause has suffered from, and it will become more anti-Palestinian than pro-Israel. This would weaken Zionism and eventually destroy it because while the Palestinian cause benefits from the absolute support of nearly two billion Muslims, Jews receive no unconditional support from anyone – Jews must remain strong and united if they wish to survive as a nation.

While the non-Jews’ support for Zionism is welcome as it should be, they have a support role, not a leading role. Zionism belongs to Jews, not to outsiders driven by Christian religious zeal or by a need to boost their egos or their careers.

Fred Maroun

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fred-maroun-blogspot/zionism-belongs-to-jews/2016/09/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: