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Long Live the Lie!

J Street a

Or What a Wild, “Anti-Israeli” Bunch!
On the weekend of June 7-8 the new feature film, “Long Live the Lie,” depicting “J Street 2014 National Summit” was screened in San Francisco; where else, you may ask, but in this world-renown bastion of liberal, gays, hippies, vegetarians, weirdoes, and many “anti-Israeli,” “anti-Zionist” Jews. The film – full disclosure: it was directed by yours truly, aspiring to be a documentary film telling the naked truth, but in reality almost totally fictional, coming from the head of a delusional filmmaker-blogger – described accurately the two-day conference, which was attended by over 600 people; or “advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace,” in the J Street jargon. No matter how you call them, these people, old and young – yes, unlike AIPAC, J Street has many young people among its members and supporters – were Israelis, Jewish Americans and Israeli-Jewish-Americans, but what united them all was “the fact” that they were all “anti-Israelis.” To the last one of them. Which means, of course, that they were also anti-Semites. Shame on them. And on their 180,000 or so “anti-Israeli” supporters throughout the land. Long live the lie indeed!

A word first, before the plot really kicks into gear, on the venues were the film was screened, before the widely enthusiastic “anti-Israeli” crowd. (I believe I saw some young women go-wild while “flashing,” but that might be just my twisted imagination, since a young woman friend of mine was there nursing her baby, bringing up the next “anti-Israeli” generation.) Anyhow, back to the show. The opening screening took place at Congregation Emanu-El, which – according to my sources – is nothing but a renowned wild-west kind of temple (established in 1850, it is the oldest Jewish congregation west of the Mississippi) of over 2,100 households. This reform congregation – see, reform, another word for liberal – is “dedicated to advancing our members’ lifelong involvement in Judaism, engaging them in communal prayer (avodah), the study of sacred texts (Torah), and the performance of compassionate deeds (g’milut hasadim).” Not one word about Israel, though. The proof is in the pudding, my friends.

The second, and main venue for the day-long, continuous film-screening of the “J Street Escape,” (a better title might be the “J Street Challenge,” but that was already taken), took place at the “Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.” Representing thousands of members in the city-by-the-bay and beyond, young and old, this is clearly an “anti-Israeli” organization, evident by the fact that the word Israel is not even mentioned in its title, and hardly in its activities. What other organization, you might rightly wonder, would allow such “anti-Israeli” gathering to take place within its walls? Anyway, after the day-long screenings, speaking and discussions, a gala dinner and screening were held at the Intercontinental Hotel. And while in all good conscious I cannot blame the management of that hotel of being “anti-Israeli,” obviously they agreed to lend their luxurious space after receiving an enormous amount of money from the many supporters – though that organization is still looking for its very own Sheldon Adelson to finance its operations in style – of this “anti-Israeli” J Street organization.

But then the plot really thickened with the appearance of our cast of character-actors, in this bluntly “anti-Israeli” film. Stay with me, please: former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (no comments needed, right?), Israel’s most recent UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev (no wonder she’s no longer there, huh?), and the former US Ambassador to both Israel and Egypt Dan Kurtzer (how was it possible for him to be ambassador in both places, anyhow?). Next we have four leaders of the pro-peace (told ya – they hate wars, don’t they?) movement in the United States: Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of J Street, who rejected the BDS’ methods, saying the “best way of addressing Israel’s problems is with love and concern, not big stick,” (of course, good luck to you if you believe him). Ken Bob of Ameinu, Debra DeLee of Americans for Peace Now (not only peace, they want, but peace now!) and Daniel Sokatch of the New Israel Fund (you know all about these “peaceniks and do-gooders,” don’t you?) Also present was Member of Knesset (Labor Party, of course, who else would participate in such an “anti-Israeli” event?) Merav Michaeli, who joined with Rabbi Sharon Brous and UCLA History Professor David Myers in discussing the responsibility of American Jews for Israel’s future. (Don’t make me laugh: send money, lots of it, and shut the… up!) But let’s cut it here, since the list of “anti-Israel” traitors went on and on.

What did they say, you ask? What did they talk about, you wonder? Isn’t it sublimely obvious? I heard it being said that “Jews are stake-holders in the state of Israel.” And that “One person’s meddling (in Israel’s affairs, that it), is another person’s “constructive engagement.” Constructive engagement?… Give us a break, will you? It is our way or the highway. Forget about being included in the “Big Tent.” Only people, organizations, who think and speak the way we do – the camp of the “flag-waving simpleton patriots” – can be included in that Jewish tent. I’d rather concentrate instead and have my full attention, close-up and spotlight directed not at them and their peace-loving, “anti-Israeli” rhetoric, but on a single individual. My “star” if you will, the young woman (who else?) of my dream and film, was Rachel Cohen. Yes, that’s her real name, not her Hollywood screen name. And admit it, you couldn’t find even if you look for it a more Israeli, Jewishly name. (With a name like that, on second thought, she must be “anti-Israeli.”) She – in her early twenties, I believe, a student at Johns Hopkins University – was the chairperson of the afford mentioned Plenary Session titled: “Beyond the Tent: What’s the American Jewish Community’s Responsibilities Toward Israel’s Future?” And in that role, which she performed convincingly and magnificently, she represented, as a student board member, J Street U.

Now you may ask, and rightly so, what in hell is “J Street U?” Another “anti-Israeli,” “anti-Zionist” organization? You bet ya. But let me tell you: J Street U is America’s fastest-growing Jewish student movement, representing 7500 students in 50 campus chapters. It is the magnet for liberal-minded (told ya) Jewish students who cannot see themselves toeing the loyalist pro-Israel lines taken by the more conservative campus groups such as AIPAC, Stand With Us, and Aish Hatorah. That said it all, don’t you think? Young Jewish students throughout the land dare to think for themselves when it comes to Israel, can you imagine, instead of blindly being horse-led to the water trough. And “fastest-growing.” I just couldn’t stand it anymore and turned off my camera.

But allow me, finally, to end with the credits of my “documentary” film: “J Street is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans fighting for the future of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people. We believe that Israel’s Jewish and democratic character depends on the two-state solution, resulting in a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security.” Fade to black. Can you believe all these “lies?” All these voices of peace and appeasement? Not me. I need a good war. War Now!

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.”
** “Leave a comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

Should American Jewry Save Israel?



In other words: Is it time – high time, in fact – for the Jewish people of America to take a more active, decisive role in Israel’s policies, decisions and the directions, and save it from itself? And please, save me the usual preaching about Israel being a democratic, sovereign country, capable of defending itself and doing the right thing. I know all that very well: I was born there, fought some of its wars, and still am a citizen of the country. But really, hasn’t Israel reached the point of no return, whereby it endangers, with its actions and inactions, as evident lately by the collapse of the latest round of peace negotiations with the Palestinians on the one hand, and by the rise of unlawful, vigilante settlers’ “price tags” attacks on the other, not only its own survival as a Jewish and democratic state, but the future of the Jewish people the world over?

In trying to answer this question, let’s tackle first another question: Does the survival of Israel, the most powerful country – certainly militarily, and politically too – in the Middle East really is in doubt? My initial reaction, and answer to this question has been negative for quite sometimes now. We are here to stay, we’ve proved it once and again. But there are dangerous undercurrents, which are hard to ignore, and shifting, shaking ground that threatens the stability and survival of the state. And lest you think I’m exaggerating, and overblowing the dangers to Israel’s existence out of all proportions, here’s what Yossi Sarid (former Knesset Member, Minister of Education, party & opposition leader) had to say about it, writing in Haaretz on May 9th, reflecting on Israel’s Independence Day’s celebrations, and referring to the 40th-year memorial service for Phantom pilot Capt. Yigal Stavy, at which his sister asked his friends: “I want to know, did Yigal die in vain? And a bereaved father answers, like the son in the Passover Haggadah who does not know how to ask a question: ‘For as long as we have a state, we can remember and pass on the heritage.’ He was not alone, and don’t play dumb: Who among you has not heard in recent years the most terrible of questions — ‘What do you think, will Israel survive?’”

Even if the answer to that question is emphatically yes, there still remains the second question that needs to be answered: Will Israel survive as a Jewish and democratic state? Because, with the absence of peace with the Palestinians, and with the continuation of the insane government settlement policy and activity in the West Bank – which according to most observers and participants in the long peace process, including the Americans, had brought about the collapse of the latest peace negations – what kind of country would it be? Take the A-Bomb question, for instance; i.e. the apartheid predicament. For “nearly 50 years an apartheid regime has ruled its occupied territories,” wrote an editorial in Haaretz on May 1, referring to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. And if so, would it be confined to the occupied territories, or would spread like cancer to other parts of the country? And would the camp of settlers zealots, those of the “price tags” despicable activities, such as the burning of Palestinian olive trees, torching innocent inhabitants cars, and desecrating mosques – “Hebrew neo-Nazi groups,” is how Amos Oz, Israel’s greatest of writers had called them – will they spread their poisonous venom to other parts of the country? Or wait a minute, they already did that, didn’t they?

How would Israelis and Jewish Americans, in light of these policies and activities, and also due to Israel’s further global isolation, defend Israel and its actions? And does Israel still possess the capability, the will and political know-how of redirecting its ship, and rescuing itself from the dangerous, storming sea she finds itself sailing in, without the help of America in general, and American Jewry in particular? It is doubtful Israel would exist today, the way we know it to exist, without America and Jewish Americans help and support – militarily, financially, politically, and morally – going all the way to the November 1947 U.N. partition resolution which gave the international stamp of approval to the birth of Israel. So why not doing it now, supporting Israel, even if it means opposing the direction the country is heading in?
Currently, the Jewish-Israeli conundrum points in two different directions. The forces of progress, peace, reconciliation, compromise and tolerance are clearly growing and winning the day among American Jews. At the same time, the forces of regression, extremism, war and intolerance are clearly winning the battle among the majority of Israelis. There is a need, therefore, for the Jewish American side to at least try to convince Israel to take a good look in the old Jewish mirror. See itself from the outside, in a different light, historically and culturally, even if just in order to try to understand things better.

After all, the existence of Israel, and its survival as a Jewish and democratic state is not only a matter for the Israelis alone to contemplate and deal with. It is a matter of survival for us all.

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.”

** “Leave a comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.


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