Tag: Post-Zionism


The Scourge of Anti-Semitic Jews: Barbara Kay, National Post, Apr. 13, 2016— A poster from the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, made the rounds on U.S. campuses recently.

Anti-Zionism Is The New Anti-Semitism, Says Britain's Ex-Chief Rabbi: Jonathan Sacks, Newsweek, Apr. 3, 2016— On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses.

Anglo Jewry Confronts Labour Anti-Semitic Surge: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2016—Ten years ago, I was accused of pandering to hysteria when I praised Melanie Phillips’ groundbreaking book, Londonistan, detailing the alarming growth of anti-Semitism in the UK and predicting further deterioration unless the British government drastically altered its approach.

Reciting Kaddish After my Father's Death, I Found my Place in the Universe: Terry Friedman Wine, Globe & Mail, Apr. 6, 2016— I am a mourner. A stranger in a strange land, with a blurry map and a tattered phrase book.


On Topic Links


Does My Family Own a Painting Looted by Nazis?: Eve M. Khan, New York Times, Apr. 5, 2015

The BDS Movement: On The Inside: Lee Kaplan, Israel Behind the News, Apr. 14, 2016

Bernie Sanders, a Strong Promoter of Extreme Anti-Semites: Manfred Gerstanfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 15, 2016

The Politicization of the English Language: Victor Davis Hanson, Jewish World Review, Apr. 7, 2016




Barbara Kay

National Post, Apr. 13, 2016


A poster from the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, made the rounds on U.S. campuses recently. It reads: “White man: are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy at the Daily Stormer.” If I had seen that poster in my youth, it would have felt like a punch to the gut. Objectively, I should still be sickened. But the world has changed a lot since I was young and naively swaddled in the belief that anti-Semitism had finally been vanquished.


It’s back and it’s back with a vengeance. Hitler only wanted to rid Europe of its Jews. When he died, his dream died, too. The new genocidal dreams are global and today’s would-be Hitlers are plentiful. When one dies, 100 more are recruited. This time around, a sizable number of our Jewish intelligentsia think the way that hate is framed in modern times — as Israel cleansing, rather than racial cleansing — is kind of cool. And it is my youthful naiveté that has been vanquished.


So my reaction to the poster had a surprising 2016 vibe to it: nostalgia. I liked the poster’s quaint transparency. Wow, a guy who hates Jews blows right past all the Israel “apartheid” and “colonization” nonsense and just cuts to the chase like in the old days. It’s refreshing in a way.


Mostly I appreciate that he’s not a Jewish intellectual pitching his hatred of other Jews as moral superiority. I appreciate that he doesn’t consider himself the reincarnation of the prophet Amos calling for justice to roll down like a mighty stream — for Palestinians, that is, not for his own people. That white supremacist holds terrible views, but at least he’s not disguising his anti-Semitism as righteous indignation on behalf of “the wretched of the Earth.” Like, for example, Michael Neumann.


Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., who claims that Jews bear a special responsibility to speak out against Israel. In a 2003 blog post, he wrote: “(My aim is to) help the Palestinians (and) I am not interested in the truth, or justice, or understanding, or anything else, except so far as it serves that purpose.… If an effective strategy means that some truths about the Jews don’t come to light, I don’t care. If an effective strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism, or reasonable hostility to Jews, I also don’t care. If it means encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the state of Israel, I still don’t care.”


Or like Nitzan Tal. Tal’s Hebrew University sociology department MA thesis was entitled Controlled Occupation: The Lack of Military Rape in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. The abstract of the paper states that “the absence of directed military rape constitutes an alternative way of realizing the same political goals (usually achieved by directed military rape).” In other words, Israel’s military not raping Palestinian women is an act of racism. As the young people say on Twitter: I.Can’t.Even…


Malevolent Jews like Neuman and Tal form a disproportionate wedge of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) pie. They certainly do not represent the traditional strain of vigorous debate that used to characterize Jewish life. No, the vitriol, the irrationality, the delirium of anti-Zionist loathing spewing from this bloc of Jewish progressive academics seems to me to be something — well, not exactly new, but more ferocious, more structured and better funded than at any other time in Jewish history. Most importantly, these single-minded activists have unprecedented access as authority figures to masses of vulnerable minds in an environment virtually cleansed of pro-Israel voices at the tenured level.


One can be critical of Israel without being an enemy to Israel, that goes without saying. I myself have written a number of critical columns on the Haredim situation in Israel. But anti-Zionist Jews who actively support the BDS movement are, ipso facto, enemies of the Jewish people. Aimed at Israeli universities, BDS is itself a form of scholarly apartheid. Since attachment to the Jewish homeland is the linchpin of Jewish identity, the only logical explanation for the tenacity of the BDS movement’s attempts to wrest the land in which Jews are the indigenous people from their own people’s grasp, is that they believe that Jews are inherently evil and, unlike every other ethnically indigenous people, undeserving of a homeland.


In the 12th century, the great Jewish scholar Maimonides defined a Jewish apostate, in part, as: “One who separates himself from the community … shows himself indifferent when (his people) are in distress … and goes his own way, as if he were one of the gentiles and did not belong to the Jewish people.” If only Jews against Jews did in fact go their own way — attacking Israel as unhyphenated Canadians — I would respect their choice. Where the canker gnaws is their appropriation of Jewish tropes of human rights to ingratiate themselves with our enemies, bellowing “not in my name” and lending a bogus Jewish “kashrut” stamp to Palestinian activists.


From my perspective, Jews who align themselves as Jews with Islamists in general, and Palestinian Islamists in particular, have succumbed to a cultural disorder. I call this disorder “pathological altruism,” the extreme end of liberalism where Robert Frost’s definition of a liberal as “someone too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel” turns into a sickness. And this sickness is not just prevalent at the margins. We recently saw pathological altruist and viciously anti-Zionist Max Blumenthal honoured with a podium by PEN Canada. I interviewed the group’s program director, who believes that Blumenthal is mainstream. It is a mistake to accord these pathological altruists dignity as social-justice warriors, or even over-enthusiastic progressives, because when we do that, when we treat them only, say, as Jews promoting a message with which we disagree, we are conferring normalcy and legitimacy on cultural fifth columns. Sorry, but that’s not tolerance; that’s cultural suicide…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]






Jonathan Sacks

Newsweek, Apr. 3, 2016


On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses. There are, he said, “worrying echoes” of Germany in the 1930s. Two days later, in The Times, Chris Bryant, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and a senior member of the British Labour party, warned that the political left was increasingly questioning the right of the state of Israel to exist, a view he called a “not too subtle form of anti-Semitism.” Across Europe, Jews are leaving. A survey in 2013 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe’s Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism, with numbers as high as 46 percent in France and 48 percent in Hungary.


Nor is this a problem in Europe alone. A 2015 survey of North American Jewish college students by Brandeis University found that three-quarters of respondents had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric. One third had reported incidents of harassment because they were Jewish. Much of the intimidation on campus is stirred by “Israel Apartheid” weeks and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. These have become what Easter was in the Middle Ages, a time for attacks against Jews. Something is clearly happening, but what? Many on the left argue that they are being wrongly accused. They are not against Jews, they say, only opposed to the policies of the state of Israel. Here one must state the obvious. Criticism of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. Nor is the BDS movement inherently anti-Semitic. Many of its supporters have a genuine concern for human rights. It is, though, a front for the new anti-Semitism, an unholy alliance of radical Islamism and the political left.


What then is anti-Semitism? It is not a coherent set of beliefs but a set of contradictions. Before the Holocaust, Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung tenaciously to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing. Anti-semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.


The legitimization has also changed. Throughout history, when people have sought to justify anti-Semitism, they have done so by recourse to the highest source of authority available within the culture. In the Middle Ages, it was religion. In post-Enlightenment Europe it was science. Today it is human rights. It is why Israel—the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East with a free press and independent judiciary—is regularly accused of the five crimes against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide. This is the blood libel of our time.


Anti-Semitism is a classic example of what anthropologist René Girard sees as the primal form of human violence: scapegoating. When bad things happen to a group, its members can ask two different questions: “What did we do wrong?” or “Who did this to us?” The entire fate of the group will depend on which it chooses. If it asks, “What did we do wrong?” it has begun the self-criticism essential to a free society. If it asks, “Who did this to us?” it has defined itself as a victim. It will then seek a scapegoat to blame for all its problems. Classically this has been the Jews.


Today the argument goes like this. After the Holocaust, every right-thinking human being must be opposed to Nazism. Palestinians are the new Jews. The Jews are the new Nazis. Israel is the new crime against humanity. Therefore every right thinking person must be opposed to the state of Israel, and since every Jew is a Zionist, we must oppose the Jews. This argument is wholly wrong. It was Jews not Israelis who were murdered in terrorist attacks in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen. Anti-Semitism is a form of cognitive failure. It reduces complex problems to simplicities. It divides the world into black and white, seeing all the fault on one side and all the victimhood on the other. It singles out one group among a hundred offenders for the blame. It silences dissent and never engages in self-criticism. The argument is always the same. We are innocent; they are guilty. It follows that if we—Christians, members of the Aryan race or Muslims—are to be free, they, the Jews, or the state of Israel must be destroyed. That is how the great crimes begin.


Jews have been hated because they were different. They were the most conspicuous non-Christian minority in pre-World War Christian Europe. Today they are the most conspicuous non-Muslim presence in an Islamic Middle East. Anti-Semitism has always been about the inability of a group to make space for difference. No group that adopts it will ever create a free society. The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. In a world awash with hate across religious divides, people of all faiths and none must stand together, not just to defeat anti-Semitism but to ensure the rights of religious minorities are defended everywhere. History will judge us by how we deal with this challenge. We must not fail.





                                                              Isi Leibler

                                                    Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2016


Ten years ago, I was accused of pandering to hysteria when I praised Melanie Phillips’ groundbreaking book, Londonistan, detailing the alarming growth of anti-Semitism in the UK and predicting further deterioration unless the British government drastically altered its approach. Many British Jews, especially those living in Jewish enclaves, were in denial, simply unwilling to face reality. Their attitude is brilliantly portrayed in Howard Jacobson’s 2010 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Finkler Question, which satirically portrays a British Jew desperately seeking to become socially acceptable.


The Anglo Jewish establishment has frequently been referred to as “trembling Israelites.” They were “shtadlanim” (court Jews) who, to quote a former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, crafted a policy based on “Why must one shout when a whisper can be heard?” Their overriding concern was to avoid rocking the boat by minimizing public protest wherever possible. Those who assailed Phillips as an extremist 10 years ago today would concede that her analysis has been absolutely vindicated, and alas, her predictions of intensifying anti-Semitism were understated.


Who then would have dreamed that the alternate government in the UK – the Labour Party – would not only be riddled with anti-Semites, but would elect a leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who praises Hamas; maintains that Hamas and Hezbollah are committed to peace; calls for a boycott of Israel; accepts Islamic demonization of Israel; and associates with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, whom he defends as “far from a dangerous man”; and endorses Raed Salah, who employed the medieval blood libel to justify Palestinian terrorism? It should therefore not be surprising that Corbyn refuses to purge the increasingly vocal anti-Semites from his party, despite widespread media exposure and repeated pleas from distraught members.


Jews are also shocked with the extension of this hatred which has penetrated leading universities, including Oxford. The depiction by Alex Chalmers, former head of the Oxford University Labour Club, of the anti-Semitism he encountered and the support of Hamas that obliged him to resign, is chilling. The Sunday Times disclosed that during the TV coverage of funerals for those murdered in the Paris kosher supermarket, the members mocked the Jewish victims, sang songs about rockets over Tel Aviv and related to Auschwitz as a “cash cow” for Jews. Not surprisingly, many Jewish students feel intimidated. To retain their social standing, a number choose to endorse the anti-Zionist chic. Others recuse themselves. Some argue that Jewish student bodies should not even engage in Israel advocacy and should restrict themselves to religious, cultural and social activities. Although Jews living in predominately Jewish areas are less affected, there has been an exponential growth of public anti-Semitic incidents, including acts of violence. Today in Britain there is open chatter that the creation of Israel was a mistake and there are intensifying calls to end the “apartheid Jewish state.”


These events have shattered the myth that anti-Semitism in the UK is restricted to Muslims and fringe indigenous elements. The BBC is not controlled by Islamists but its extreme bias and double standards have molded public opinion toward the demonization of Israel. Much of the anti-Israelism that initially emanated from Trotskyite elements has now become intrinsic to the DNA of many left-wingers. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is primarily promoted by indigenous leftist activists. Indeed, in some respects the situation is worse than the 1930s, when at least liberal and left-wing groups defended the Jews. Admittedly, the current prime minister, David Cameron, is a friend of Israel and the Jewish people, but opinion polls indicate that half the population considers Israel a rogue state. In a democracy, such trends ultimately impact on policy.


The current communal leadership is responding courageously, in contrast to its predecessors. Last year, the Board of Deputies elected as its 47th president Jonathan Arkush, a traditional Jew and a passionate Zionist, who dismissed the “court Jew” policy of relying almost exclusively on “silent diplomacy.” He was, from the outset, respectfully outspoken in his condemnation of Labour Party leader Corbyn’s failure to confront anti-Jewish bigotry in his party. Indeed, Arkush could well serve as a role model for many American Jewish leaders who in the past made a point of ridiculing British leaders for their timidity, but have been singularly silent in relation to President Barack Obama’s outbursts against Israel. Arkush stated: “If Labour is to be credible in exorcising its anti-Semitic demons, its leader must first clearly demonstrate that these relationships are problematic.”…                                                                                                                    

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.] 





RECITING KADDISH AFTER MY FATHER'S DEATH,                                                                          

I FOUND MY PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE                                                                                      

Terry Friedman Wine                                                                                                            

Globe & Mail, Apr. 6, 2016



I am a mourner. A stranger in a strange land, with a blurry map and a tattered phrase book. When my father passed away, early on a quiet, sunny June day, I suddenly became a Mourner. A new persona, a darkened mirror image of The Daughter. Judaism has been here before, of course. In the past few months, I have learned more about the rules, regulations and customs than I ever knew, or wanted to. And yet there is safety in having a guidebook, annotated over hundreds of years by wise and learned observers.


These ancient rules and regulations serve as boundaries to surround me – and I have come to realize that these structures are there to support, not oppress me. When I falter, I have them to lean on. When I stumble, I notice that someone before me has left crumbs and clues, though I can’t always decipher or even recognize them at first. My father, a Holocaust survivor, insisted that his children have a Jewish education in this New World so far removed from the shtetl. I am so grateful to my parents for this gift of identity and to the teachers who imparted to me the million details. Their commitment has continued to provide me with signposts at the beautiful lookout points and discreet illumination through the dark places.


My father was blessed in those final hours to wind down like a grandfather clock, his rhythm slowing into peace. In those first moments and hours, our family went through all those practical motions one must go through, the prescribed physical steps giving us handles with which to carry the overwhelming grief. Devastated, on automatic pilot, we put one foot in front of the other by stepping on the footmarks set out for us, watching for the next one, not raising our eyes. It was hearing myself recite the Mourners’ Kaddish at the cemetery that broke my days-long trance. Suddenly I became aware of, and understood, my place in the universe. The Daughter. The Mourner. The Keeper of My Father’s Presence.


The shiva period of focused support acknowledged my incapability of living in the world I had been part of until yesterday and sheltered me from it. For seven days, prayer services came to us; kind friends and capable family members ensured that meals showed up and were set out, served and cleared. People dropped in, hugged, shared stories. My mother, brother and I existed in a survival-mode cocoon, separately, together. And after a symbolic walk out of the house, into the community, we officially began to ease back into life.


I vowed to continue reciting Kaddish for the year I am officially in mourning. It wasn’t really a decision, but rather an instinct. It’s one of those clear points on that blurry map and I clung to it for dear life. Every single day I have found a minyan, a quorum – a symbolic and de facto community that supports me in my declaration that this year, this is who I am, and this is where I belong. Every day, my world pauses for half an hour while I duck into services. I have recited Kaddish in synagogues of differing denominations, in other cities, in our local park with the synagogue baseball team. Saying Kaddish is not traditionally an obligation for women and while there is no prohibition from doing so, it is not customary. I have been met with curiosity, vague dismay, encouragement, admiration.


Most surprising to me is my own determination. Inherently shy, I have found my backbone, or perhaps that unbreakable bond to my beloved father. In order to say Kaddish, one needs a quorum of 10, and there have been days where this was in peril. One regular at my usual synagogue once spoke of being in a restaurant, and noticing a man peer in and scan the crowd. “He’s looking for a minyan,” my friend understood, and got up to participate. “How did you know?” his son asked when he returned. “There’s a look,” he said. “You just know.” I have shown up to a synagogue, late for daily service but just as a (stranger’s) wedding was about to take place; to a local ballpark; to a Sabbath afternoon in New Jersey; to a jiu-jitsu class in the shul basement. “Please,” I’ve asked. “We need a 10th.” I’ve never been disappointed. I have that look.


This year, as per Jewish law, I do not attend parties. Well-meaning friends and relatives have tried to make exceptions for me, thinking that they are being helpful when they suggest loopholes through which I could participate. A common one is “your Dad wouldn’t want you to be left out. He’d want you to be happy.” Of course he would, more than anything in the world. But this is not about being happy. It’s about being protected. My joy in your happiness is sincere, but not all-encompassing. There is a dark hollow within me, and I don’t want to neglect it, ignore it or bring it to your celebration. I want to give it the respect it deserves. I don’t want to share it. Yes, I will miss out on some fine times, but I will never again have this unique opportunity to contemplate all I have lost, to discern what I will always have, where that leaves me, who I am and where do I go from here. When I stand up, every day, and recite those timeless words “Yitgadal v’yitkadash,” I am not only asserting my place in the community. I’m holding Dad’s.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic



Does My Family Own a Painting Looted by Nazis?: Eve M. Khan, New York Times, Apr. 5, 2015—For decades, it hung near the dining room inside a family home: a genre painting by a Dutch old master depicting an old man and his wife weighing and counting their gold coins. Judged a genuine work by Jan Steen and dated to the 1660s, it was once valued at $400,000.

The BDS Movement: On The Inside: Lee Kaplan, Israel Behind the News, Apr. 14, 2016—The term BDS refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conducted against the state of Israel, and also a way to attack the Jewish people both in Israel and worldwide. Partially funded by the PLO, the BDS movement grew out of the Arab League boycott of Israel begun in 1950 after Israel’s War of Independence.

Bernie Sanders, a Strong Promoter of Extreme Anti-Semites: Manfred Gerstanfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 15, 2016—In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League undertook a study of anti-Semitism in a hundred states and entities. The leading ten, each with at least 80% of the population holding anti-Semitic views, all come from the Arab and Muslim world. The 'West Bank' and Gaza, headed the list with 93%.

The Politicization of the English Language: Victor Davis Hanson, Jewish World Review, Apr. 7, 2016— Last week, French President Francois Hollande met President Obama in Washington to discuss joint strategies for stopping the sort of radical Islamic terrorists who have killed dozens of innocents in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino in recent months.















We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org


Mr. Prime Minister: Don’t Take Diaspora Jews for Granted: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014— Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week.

The Dark Side of the War on 'the One Percent': Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014 — Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them?Book

Review: 'Genesis,' by John B. Judis: Jordan Chandler Hirsch: Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014— The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year.  

Arab, Muslim and Pro-Israel: Abdel Bioud, Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014 — I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.


On Topic Links


Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014

Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014



Isi Leibler                                                                 

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2014


Under the leadership of the indefatigable Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a unique umbrella organization, is gathering in Jerusalem this week. Its members, leaders of America’s most prominent Jewish organizations, will be briefed directly by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and senior government ministers. Alas, unless the unexpected happens and the prime minister reads the riot act to his ministers, these American activists will receive mixed messages and are likely to return to the US more confused than when they arrived.

They will be baffled by what they learn about the current round of the so-called “peace negotiations.” It now appears that Israel will accept – with major reservations – the framework accord for negotiations as a non-binding document. In contrast, the Palestinians seem poised to reject it outright. And yet, despite the Palestinian intransigence, Israel will continue to be bombarded by demands to make further concessions.

They will find it difficult to make sense of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in the process. Encouraged by a flow of demands and petitions from Jewish liberals urging Netanyahu to be “grateful” to Kerry and “not sit idly by” (whatever that means) and risk forgoing the opportunity for peace, Kerry has displayed a complete lack of evenhandedness in the negotiations. He does not pressure the Palestinians, although he has made multiple threats against Israel, and proposed extreme and dangerous interventions, such as substituting the IDF presence in the Jordan Valley with electronic fences and NATO troops.

Disregarding the fact that he represents Israel’s ally, he has alluded to the “dangers” of boycotts, sanctions and delegitimization unless Israel becomes more accommodating – a thinly veiled threat that we can be sure the Europeans heard. Moreover, it was unconscionable that Kerry failed to relate to the vicious incitement of recent weeks, when released Palestinian killers were sanctified as national heroes and, in many cases, actually recounted their ghoulish murders of innocent civilians on state television.

But ultimately, Netanyahu and his government bear the main burden of responsibility for the bewilderment that Diaspora Jews (and many Israelis) are experiencing over the negotiations. While the prime minister initially robustly rejected key security concessions that Kerry demanded, he subsequently caved in to pressure and papered over the differences. Meanwhile, in absolute contradiction to the position adopted by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman – the traditional hardliner – then embarked on an “I love Kerry” campaign, preposterously suggesting that the deals proposed were the best Israel could ever expect. If Netanyahu orchestrated this as a “good cop, bad cop” performance, it seriously backfired. On the other hand, if the foreign minister is running his own mini-government, that is totally unacceptable.

This confusion has had major ramifications in the US, particularly for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the jewel in the crown of American Israel activism. But in recent months, its reputation was tarnished and its standing weakened by failed efforts that resulted primarily from mixed signals it received. Despite AIPAC’s strong Iranian sanction campaign (it obtained bipartisan endorsement and the backing of 59 members of the US Senate, just four votes short to carry the vote), it backed down from its effort due to massive pressure from President Barack Obama, who went so far as to misleadingly proclaim that passage of tougher sanctions against Iran was tantamount to a declaration of war. While Prime Minister Netanyahu initially encouraged AIPAC to proceed with its campaign he is also said to have pressured AIPAC to withdraw in order to placate Obama prior to their meeting in March.

AIPAC is also facing problems that are unrelated to Israel’s current lack of strategic clarity. It has become so obsessed with bipartisanship that the withdrawal of a number of Democrats made them fear a breakdown, and this is said to have also contributed to the decision to pull out its support for the initiative. In the process, AIPAC alienated and left some of its key congressional supporters out on a limb with the Republicans defiantly carrying on. With the increasingly aggressive attitudes against Israel emerging from leftist minority groups within the Democratic Party, complex challenges are likely to arise in future which cannot always be subordinated to the interests of bipartisanship. Nonetheless, the AIPAC debacle is symptomatic of the strained relationship between the Netanyahu government and Jewish organizations trying to support it. The government’s impulsive statements and ministers’ irresponsible public criticism and shrill outbursts have understandably exasperated even committed mainstream supporters of Israel and made them lose credibility…

[To Read the Full Article Follow This Link –ed.]




Jordan Chandler Hirsch                  

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2014


Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them? In a letter to this newspaper, the noted venture capitalist Tom Perkins called attention to certain parallels, as he saw them, between Nazi Germany's war against the Jews and American progressives' war on the "one percent." For comparing two such historically disparate societies, Mr. Perkins was promptly and heatedly denounced. But is there something to be said for his comparison—not of Germany and the United States, of course, but of the politics at work in the two situations? The place to begin is at the starting point: with the rise of anti-Semitism, modernity's most successful and least understood political movement.


The German political activist Wilhelm Marr, originally a man of the left, organized a movement in the 1870s that charged Jews with using their skills "to conquer Germany from within." Distinguishing the movement that he called anti-Semitism from earlier forms of anti-Judaism, Marr argued on professedly rational grounds that Jews were taking unfair advantage of the emerging democratic order in Europe, with its promise of individual rights and open competition, in order to dominate the fields of finance, culture and social ideas. Though some of Marr's rhetoric and imagery was based on earlier stereotypes, he was right to insist that anti-Semitism was a new response to new conditions, channeling grievance and blame against highly visible beneficiaries of freedom and opportunity.


These were some of its typical ploys: Are you unemployed? The Jews have your jobs. Is your family mired in poverty? The Rothschilds have your money. Do you feel more insecure in the city than you did on the land? The Jews are trapping you in factories and charging you exorbitant rents. Anti-Semitism accused Jews of undermining Christian authority and corrupting the German legal system, the arts and the press. Jews were said to be rabid internationalists spreading Bolshevism—and ruthless capitalists exploiting for their own gain the nation's natural and human resources. To ambitious politicians seeking office, to rulers of still largely illiterate populations, "the Jews" became a convenient catchall explanation for deep-rooted and sometimes intractable problems.


But though the origins of modern anti-Semitism may be traced to Germany, anti-Semitism itself remains sui generis and cannot be simply conflated with either Germany or Hitler. True, the latter gained power on a platform of anti-Semitism and then proceeded to put his Final Solution into effect, but the modern organization of politics against the Jews is independent of Nazism—and of fascism, since the Italian variant did not specifically target the Jews. Features of anti-Semitism are present in other political movements, on the left fully as much the right.


The parallel that Tom Perkins drew in his letter was especially irksome to his respondents on the left, many of whom are supporters of President Obama's sallies against Wall Street and the "one percent." These critics might profitably consult Robert Wistrich, today's leading historian of anti-Semitism. His "From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel" (2012) documents the often profound anti-Semitism that has affected socialists and leftists from Karl Marx to today's anti-Israel movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions. It was Marx who said, "The bill of exchange is the Jew's actual god," putting a Jewish face on capitalism and accusing both Judaism and capitalism of converting man and nature into "alienable and saleable objects."


Herein lies one structural connection between a politics of blame directed specifically at Jews and a politics of grievance directed against "the rich." The ranks of those harping on "unfairly" high earners include figures in American political life at all levels who have been entrusted with the care of our open society; in channeling blame for today's deep-rooted and seemingly intractable problems toward the beneficiaries of that society's competitive freedoms, they are playing with fire. I say this not only, and not even primarily, because some of those beneficiaries happen also to be Jews. So far, mainstream American politicians and supporters of movements like Occupy Wall Street have confined their attacks to the nameless "one percent," and in any case it is doubtful that today any U.S. politician would be electable on an explicitly anti-Jewish platform.


My point is broader: Stoking class envy is a step in a familiar, dangerous and highly incendiary process. Any ideology or movement, right or left, that is organized negatively—against rather than for—enjoys an inherent advantage in politics, mobilizing unappeasable energies that never have to default on their announced goal of cleansing the body politic of its alleged poisons. In this respect, one might think of anti-Semitism as the purest and most murderous example of an enduring political archetype: the negative campaign. That campaign has its international as well as its domestic front. Modern anti-Zionism, itself a patented invention of Soviet Communism and now the lingua franca of the international left, uses Israel just as anti-Semitism uses Jews, directing grievance and blame and eliminationist zeal against an entire collectivity that has flourished on the world scene thanks to the blessings of freedom and opportunity.


Herein lies a deeper structural connection. On the global front today, the much larger and more obvious beneficiary of those same blessings is the democratic capitalist system of the United States, and the ultimate target of the ultimate negative campaign is the American people. Anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of such a campaign will find much food for thought in Mr. Perkins's parallel.




REVIEW: 'GENESIS,' BY JOHN B. JUDIS                                            

Lance Esplund                                                               

Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2014


The library of books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vast, and it grows every year. John Judis's Genesis claims to distinguish itself by focusing on President Harry Truman's efforts "to resolve the conflict between Jew and Arab." Mr. Judis thinks that we can learn from Truman's failures and wants readers "to approach the subject from when the conflict actually began." But Genesis distinguishes itself in another way: It isn't so much a history as an inquisition—one that weighs the moral balance of the conflict from on high and finds Zionism, and its American supporters, guilty.


The author, a senior editor of the New Republic, begins by surveying the 50 years of Jewish-Arab tensions in Palestine that preceded the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. While rehashing the origins of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, he casts the movement for Jewish statehood as an inherently colonialist enterprise and the Arabs as its victims. The Zionist pioneers settling in Palestine, the author writes, committed "many of the sins that Western European countries had visited upon native populations," displacing locals and stifling their "natural development." In making this charge, he equates Europe's mightiest powers with its greatest victims, the Jews—a stateless people seeking refuge in their ancient home by legitimately purchasing and cultivating land. Throughout this preamble, Mr. Judis accuses the Zionist movement of rejecting compromise and "social justice." But regarding the most heinous Arab actions—such as the 1929 massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron or the five-country invasion of the nascent state of Israel in 1948, which followed the Arabs' rejection of the first United Nations peace plan—the author is more forgiving. These he largely plays down or characterizes as understandable responses to Jewish provocation.


There is a good reason why this partisan early narrative sounds familiar: It is nearly 200 pages of mostly regurgitated secondary sources. If Mr. Judis were dedicated to telling an original story about Truman, he shouldn't have devoted half of his book to this carbon-copy history. But he isn't primarily concerned with how Truman came to recognize the state of Israel or even, really, with the fate of Palestine. Instead, Mr. Judis is consumed by what he views as the pernicious influence of diaspora Jewish Zionists on the British and American governments. The author traces the sinister sway of Zionism to the drafting of the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 document in which Britain pledged to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, a chemist whose scientific discoveries greatly aided the British during World War I, "charmed his way up the ladder of authority until he reached the top," Mr. Judis writes, and then suckered some key British figures into supporting the Zionist cause. When, after the war, others attempted to dilute Britain's commitment to the Balfour Declaration, Zionist activists in Britain consistently "blocked" their efforts.


A running theme is that had these Jews been patriotic Britons, they wouldn't have lobbied for Zionism. Mr. Judis uncritically cites Prime Minister H.H. Asquith receiving a pro-Zionist memo from Herbert Samuel, a Jewish cabinet member, and noting in a private letter that "it is a curious illustration . . . that 'race is everything' to find this almost lyrical outburst proceeding from the well-ordered and methodical brain of [Samuel]." Mr. Judis thus deploys the bigotry of yesteryear to bolster his contemporary arguments.


What British Zionists did in London, Mr. Judis claims, American Zionists would do in Washington. By the end of the 1930s, Zionist activists, apparently not as all-powerful as "Genesis" would have readers think, failed to prevent Britain from decisively abandoning the Balfour Declaration. But as British power in the region receded following World War II, both Zionists and Arabs realized that their fortunes rested with the United States. Truman, who had no Middle East experience, was advised by Britain and by the U.S. Defense and State Departments to side with the Arabs. For three years, he anguished over whether to support Zionism. He weighed Arab sentiment against Jewish plight and political expediency against his sense of morality, while always seeking to uphold U.S. national interests.


"Genesis" reduces this tortuous deliberation into a simplistic tale of Jewish bullying. In its few pages of background on Truman's relationship with Jews and Zionism, the book discards well-documented complexity to insist that the president didn't sympathize with Jewish sovereignty. Truman, Mr. Judis says, was browbeaten by "unrelenting and obnoxious" pressure from Zionist activists. The president would ultimately bow before Zionist advocates "not because he believed in their cause," but out of electoral concerns. Mr. Judis accuses one figure, Abba Hillel Silver, of putting "the Zionist cause above party politics—and, in effect, above any domestic agenda." If a Democrat failed to fully endorse Zionism, Mr. Judis writes, Silver "tried to use the Jewish vote and Jewish contributions against him." Here and elsewhere, "Genesis" treats issue-driven voter lobbying, a staple of American democracy, as if it were high treason.

The author blames Truman's endorsement of a Jewish state—as opposed to a binational state in Palestine—on American Jewish liberals, who are the true targets of "Genesis." Mr. Judis is mystified by the fact that liberals who "supported labor rights, civil rights, and the first amendment," such as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, could also support Zionism. In doing so, he says, these otherwise stalwart progressive champions "abandoned their principles." Zionism, for Mr. Judis, is a kind of sin against liberalism. Near the end, he quotes a saying of Jesus: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" and castigates Israel's Jews for having "gained a world of their own, but at the expense of another people." An author who brandishes his liberal commitments at every turn ends up invoking a Christian teaching on greed to condemn the Jews for sacrificing another people at the altar of their own interest.




ARAB, MUSLIM AND PRO-ISRAEL                                         

Abdel Bioud                                                          

Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2014


I know, I know, I know what you’re already thinking: ‘’oh God, not another piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the same old arguments regurgitated over and over again, for the last 60 years’’. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bear with me.


I’m Abdel. I was born in Algeria and lived there for a little over a decade. During that time, I had the distinct pleasure to go through a brutal civil war where Islamists (supported financially and morally by Hamas, Iran and Saudi Arabia) where trying to take over the country to impose their worldview on everyone else. Friends and family members of mine were killed and the country almost went down the drain. My parents, who were executives at the time, were also involved politically. Specifically, they were leading political parties who’re trying to get religion out of politics– in the midst of an Islamic insurgency. You can only imagine how more problematic their personal and familial situation became: regular death threats, bullet proof door in our home, different itineraries and time to get to work, et cetera. In sum, it was a living hell. Oh, did I mention that I’m the VP communication for McGill Students for Israel? Now, why? Why does a guy who’s born in a country that does not even recognize Israel come to support it? Below is the case for Israel from the perspective of someone who grew up and lived in a self-proclaimed Arab and Muslim country.


As a libertarian, individual liberty and freedom are values that I cherish very dearly. So, in order for me to understand a situation, I use those two values as guiding principles to shed some light on what is really happening. By applying that freedom filter to the Israeli-Arab conflict, you get the following: All Arab countries are dictatorships. That is, you have ruling gangster families on top, who use their monopoly of violence (via the military) to kill/imprison anyone who questions their business plan.


The business plan is the following:


1. Use force to maintain power and keep disarmed humans living in fear. 2. Send kids to government controlled schools so they can get indoctrinated with four things: The ruling family is great (à la Kim Jung Il). Their country is the greatest. The Palestinian cause is something that is part of their identity. Force feed them Islam so it can be used as a tool to control (I use the term force feed because I was force fed Islam in the Algerian government school since day 1). 3. While people are brainwashed and live in fear, negotiate a percentage on those resource/construction contracts (SNC-Lavalin anyone?). 4. Profit.


It comes as no surprise that the output of such a disastrous mix can only be chaos. On one hand you have the insane families in power who are trying to steal as much money as possible, while using violence against their own people. On the other hand, you have the by-product of this insanity- the Islamists. That is, confused people who had their vision of reality completely distorted by the system they were born in. This vicious cycle has been going on for decades, the result of which was the so-called Arab spring or Arab winter (i.e. the by-product of the system, the Islamists, is taking over). Clearly, this circus will go on for another decade if not more.


Now, what about Israel? If you’re a citizen there, your basic freedoms are respected. You can live peacefully, raise a family, and send your kids to competitive and globally recognized universities. This simple basic respect for human dignity put them light-years ahead of any Arab state. As a human being who seeks to improve himself, Israel is a logical choice. It is the only place in the Middle East where your potential can be fully expressed. Based on the values it stands for and the principles that it was founded on, Israel is a force of good for that region and for the world. And remember, this is not coming from a Jewish or an Israeli individual. It’s coming from someone with a Muslim name and an Arab face (which looks pretty good by the way), who actually lived and was raised in an Arab country. It’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m just fantasizing from 5,000 miles away, like most people do.


From an individual and rational perspective, it is hard to argue against what I’ve said above. But even then, even if you drop any rational judgement and go tribal on this issue, the Jewish people are the Arabs’ cousins! If your cousins were being slaughtered and discriminated against all over the world (remember the MS St. Louis, the ship filled with Jewish refugees during WWII, that was turned away by Canada and the U.S. to go back to Europe?), wouldn’t you welcome them with your arms wide open? Jewish people have suffered greatly and the only people in the world that should have welcomed and protected them were their cousins, the Arabs. And it’s not like they had an option to flee to a “Jewish” country like you have for so-called Muslim and Christian ones. They were not welcome anywhere on planet earth. Do you fully realize the magnitude of this? The bottom line is this: this is a historical opportunity to start over but on the right foot this time. An opportunity to write history as it should have been from the beginning. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste; you might not have another one.


[Abdel Bioud is a graduate student at McGill Universitty and the is the vice president of communication for the McGill Students for Israel Association.]


CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!


Interview: The Sweeper of Dreams, with Alma Deutscher (Video): Youtube, Jan. 3, 2014

Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly—and Shows the Limits of Today’s Leaders: Aomar Boum, Tablet, Feb. 21, 2014 —In his 1886 best-seller La France Juive, Édouard Drumont—the spiritual father of French anti-Semitism—wrote, “All comes from the Jew, all returns to the Jew.”

Hillel Explains When ‘Open Hillel’ Will Result in Disaffiliation: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 20, 2014 —Over the last few months, Jewish student groups on two American campuses affiliated with the Hillel International Foundation publicly rejected Hillel’s guidelines for partnership.
Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 21, 2014 —Is it really possible to get all of the most important information about the no-longer upstart, but still disingenuous J Street into a one hour film, one that provides sufficient background information for the uninitiated to be able to grasp just what could be wrong with the organization that promotes itself as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”?





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Why Anti-Zionist Jews Are a Minority: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Feb. 16, 2014— It is a principle of journalism that news consists of those events that are out of the ordinary.

Why Religious Judaism Is Tied To Nationalism: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Feb. 18, 2014— This weekend, the New York Times ran a column by Mark Oppenheimer about what the author correctly identified as a small and curious minority of observant American Jews deeply opposed to Zionism.

Responding to the J Street Challenge: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2014 — Ever since its founding in 2008, J Street, the liberal Jewish advocacy group, has expended a great deal of time and energy trying to convince American Jews that it is a credible and more ethical alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Kerry's Israeli Supporters: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2014— Once again, on Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to extort Israeli concessions to the PLO by threatening us with a Western economic boycott.

On Topic Links


A Conflict of Faith: Devoted to Jewish Observance, but at Odds With Israel: Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2014

As George Kennan Inspired Truman’s Foreign Policy, Now Stephen Walt Inspires Obama’s: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 5, 2014

Go Left Young Man: Prejudice 101: Langdon Conway, Feb. 20, 2014

Richard Falk’s Final Report Accuses Israel of “Inhuman Acts” & “Apartheid”: UN Watch, Feb. 18, 2014

The Shame of Princeton: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 2014


WHY ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS ARE A MINORITY                                         

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, Feb. 16, 2014


It is a principle of journalism that news consists of those events that are out of the ordinary. The old cliché is that when man bites dog, it’s news. A dog biting a man is not. Thus, the conceit of the New York Times Beliefs column feature on Friday met that basic standard for newsworthiness. A story about religious Jews who actively oppose the existence of the State of Israel is one in which it must be conceded that the subjects are unusual.


The Pew Research Center of U.S. Jews published in October reported that 91 percent of Orthodox Jews, 88 percent of Conservative Jews, and even 70 percent of those who identified themselves as Reform Jews are either very or somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. That means any discussion about observant Jews who are anti-Zionists is, by definition, one about a very tiny minority. But considering that three of the five Jews whose views are featured in the piece seem to fall into the category of Modern Orthodox, of whom 99 percent told Pew they were very or somewhat attached to Israel with one percent saying “not very attached” and zero percent “not at all attached,” the trio constitute a sample of a group that is not merely a minority but one so small that it is statistically insignificant.


Once that is understood, it becomes clear that one of the main failings of the article is not only the fact that its author has no interest in challenging their views but that it fails to put that fact in proper perspective. The Orthodox trio and the one Conservative Jew and one Reconstructionist movement rabbi (whose views may not be all that out of the ordinary among that small left-leaning demographic) highlighted are a peculiar minority. But the willingness of the paper to give them such favorable attention illustrates once again the falsity of the notion that it takes courage for Jews to oppose Israel. To the contrary, as was made clear last week by the controversy over two Manhattan rabbis who defied many of the congregants by signing a letter denouncing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), those Jews who publicly denounce Israel can always look forward to the applause of the mainstream media.


While this quintet are entitled to their views about Israel and appear to be none the worse for wear for being so determined to flout the views of their co-religionists, two aspects of the article are particularly objectionable. One is the article’s assumption that there is something remarkable about the fact that they are able to go about their business while living in a Jewish community and attending synagogue without much trouble. The second is the failure of the piece to acknowledge that the views their subjects express are inherently bigoted.


It should be acknowledged that the article is correct when it states that prior to 1948, support for Zionism was not universal among American Jews. Many Jews, especially those affiliated with “classic” Reform temples, viewed it as a threat to the rights of American Jews to be treated as equal citizens in the United States. The reason the adherents of that view declined from minority status to statistical insignificance is that Israel’s creation did no such thing. To the contrary, the creation of a Jewish state only a few years after the Nazis and their collaborators had killed nearly one third of the Jews on the planet engendered the respect of other Americans as well as enhancing the self-esteem of every Jew in the world whether he or she was religious or a Zionist.


Israel gained its independence because the Jews had a right to sovereignty in their ancient homeland and not as compensation for the Holocaust. The sweat and the blood of the Jews who built Israel and fought to defend it earned that independence. But the Holocaust made it abundantly clear, even to those who had never previously given the idea their support, that without a Jewish state to defend them, Diaspora Jews who had not been lucky enough to make it the United States or the other English-speaking countries that had not succumbed to the Nazis would always be at the mercy of violent anti-Semitism. That was just as true of Jews who lived in Muslim and Arab countries (who were forced to flee their homes after 1948) as it was of the Jews of Europe. Theodor Herzl’s understanding of the inevitable fate of a homeless Jewry—a thesis that he adopted after seeing Alfred Dreyfus being degraded in Paris as a mob shouted, “Death to the Jews”—was sadly vindicated by the events of the first half of the 20th century.


Though their neighbors and fellow congregants treat them with the toleration that Israel’s foes do not extend to the Jewish state, the common failing of the five anti-Zionist Jews in the Times story is their failure to account for this basic historical lesson that the rest of their community understands. One need not support every action of the government of the State of Israel or have no sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians to understand that not only does Israel have a right to exist but that its fall would endanger the lives of its people and, by extension, Jews everywhere. The notion put forward by one of the subjects that “non-statist Zionism” would succeed was exploded several decades ago by the refusal of Arab opponents of the Jewish presence in Israel/Palestine to accept Jews on any terms…                                      

[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]                                                                                   




Liel Leibovitz

Tablet, Feb. 18, 2014


This weekend, the New York Times ran a column by Mark Oppenheimer about what the author correctly identified as a small and curious minority of observant American Jews deeply opposed to Zionism. The piece was well-written and compelling, and Oppenheimer’s five interviewees all came off as thoughtful and morally minded. But none, alas, sounded very Jewish. Uniting them all was a belief that Judaism, at its core, was somehow incompatible with the sort of earthly power on which states depend for their existence and which they apply daily in nearly every capacity. “I think nationalism and religion together are toxic,” said Stefan Krieger, a professor of law at Hofstra University. Corey Robin, a political science professor at Brooklyn College, put it even more poetically; “There are lots of ways to be Jewish,” he said, “but worshiping a heavily militarized state seems like a bit of a comedown from our past.”


You don’t have to be a noted rabbinical scholar to know that the past to which Robin alludes begins with a covenant that elects the Jews God’s chosen children and directs them towards the Promised Land, where they’re instructed to settle down and live according to the commandments of the Torah. Which, at first blush, seems like a strange idea: if the Chosen People are truly destined to serve as a light unto the nations, might they not better accomplish their mission by settling down among the goyim and preaching their truth to each nation in turn? Why shepherd them, like Abraham in his turn, to Canaan? Why insist on the establishment of a Jewish polity there?


The answer is a core tenet of Judaism, namely the realization that earthly power is indispensable. As Michael Walzer elegantly noted in his Exodus and Revolution, nothing inherent sets Canaan apart from Egypt and its houses of bondage; the Promised Land’s promise lies not in some external bit of magic but in the ability of the Jews to apply their sovereignty and turn their nation state into a concrete example of a just and merciful kingdom. In other words, Judaism suggests that if you’re going to live up to your calling and set a moral example, you do it not by shuffling off this mortal coil and declaring yourself too pure for the imperfect and compromise-ridden business of government, but by jumping right in and serving as an example of how a real nation addresses real problems right here in the real world.


Which is not to say that Israel’s current means of addressing its problems are perfect; far from it. But which is to say that seeking to define Judaism as antithetical to nationalism when it is, at its very heart, as much of a nationality as it is a religion, is a theological travesty against the ancient faith. Even the traditional religious opposition to Zionism, which Oppenheimer cites in his piece, stemmed not from a categorical rejection of a nation state but from a belief that such a political entity could be established only after the coming of the Messiah. Judaism, then, could certainly be understood as a critique of power, but never as a call for its abdication.


Oppenheimer’s subjects, however, don’t see it this way. Steeped in the kneejerk rejection of all forms of nationalism that is de rigueur in many parts of academia these days, they seem to tolerate the religion only if it deals in the ethereal realm of universal morals. Which, again, seems to have very little in common with our ancient faith. Of course, it’s poor practice to judge someone’s belief system on the basis of a few select quotes, however eloquent, in a newspaper article. The men and women Oppenheimer interviewed are all scholars and prolific writers, and this is a conversation well worth having. I’m curious to see how they would reconcile their seemingly modern ideas with the more traditional tenets of Jewish theology.                                                                                                                                                                                    



RESPONDING TO THE J STREET CHALLENGE                            

Ben Cohen

Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2014


Ever since its founding in 2008, J Street, the liberal Jewish advocacy group, has expended a great deal of time and energy trying to convince American Jews that it is a credible and more ethical alternative to traditional pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). J Street believes, not unreasonably, that there is a constituency for its work among those American Jews who are generally supportive of Israel but queasy over certain of its policies, most obviously creating and sustaining Jewish communities in the West Bank. Nor is this an unprecedented insight: from the 1970s onwards, there were organizations like Breira (“Alternative”) and New Jewish Agenda which aimed to give voice to the same disquiet.


J Street, however, is much savvier than either of those earlier incarnations. Unlike its ideological predecessors, there are no rumors circulating of its imminent demise. For the foreseeable future, then, J Street will remain a part of American Jewry’s political landscape. This reality is implicitly acknowledged in “The J Street Challenge,” a critical documentary film about the organization that has just been released by Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a Boston-based group run by the well-known anti-slavery activist Charles Jacobs. And it is a reality that, Jacobs and his co-producers insist, needs to be grappled with through honest debate and discussion.


The key question raised by the film is what it means to be “pro-Israel” not on a personal level, but within the context of the political lobbying and advocacy that swirls around American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (or, as Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse more accurately terms it in her interview in the film, “the Arab conflict with Israel”). And when you examine J Street’s record, it becomes very hard to dispute Professor Alan Dershowitz’s assertion that the organization—despite its much-vaunted tagline—is “neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace.”


To begin with, there are J Street’s funders. As the film documents, ferocious critics of Israel like the hedge-fund billionaire George Soros and Genevieve Lynch, a board member of the pro-Iranian regime National Iranian-American Council, have donated significant sums to the organization. And although it says it is opposed to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, J Street maintains close ties with those who advocate collaboration with the BDS movement in targeting West Bank settlements, like the writer Peter Beinart and the corporate lawyer Kathleen Peratis. This milieu is hardly conducive to J Street’s “pro-Israel” self-image.


Then there are J Street’s statements. As Dershowitz points out, you “rarely” hear J Street praising Israel. A far more familiar refrain consists of slamming Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as an obstacle to peace, or opposing tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime—positions that don’t raise an eyebrow when articulated by anti-Israel groups, but which sound rather discordant coming from a group that claims to support Israel. In that regard, much of the J Street documentary studies why the organization’s analysis of Israel’s situation is wrong. Its emphasis on Israel’s land policies in the West Bank, its tin ear when it comes to Palestinian and Arab incitement, its embrace of a strategy that would result in the U.S. pushing Israel to make decisions contrary to its basic security interests—these moral and strategic errors are all familiar to anyone who has followed the debate about J Street’s contribution.


More enlightening is the film’s examination of why J Street exercises such an attraction to a particular kind of American Jew. Many of the interviewees argue persuasively that affiliation with J Street is more of a lifestyle choice than a political statement, in that it allows liberal Jews to equate their identity with their fealty to the “progressive” values they see Israel as betraying. But is that how the J Streeters themselves view it? Since no J Street representative appears in the film, it’s hard to say for sure. According to the end credits, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, “declined” to be interviewed, which left the producers with no option but to use existing footage of Ben-Ami speaking to other audiences. J Street told me that Ben-Ami was not interviewed because he was not available at the time the producers suggested. Either way, the absence of a direct interview with Ben-Ami, in which he answers the points raised by J Street’s critics, slightly blunts the film’s impact.


The most heartening aspect of the film consists of young, pro-Israel activists eloquently expressing why they distrust J Street. Through their words, the viewer gets an insight into the courage and intelligence required to defend Israel on campus these days. Indeed, one of them, Samantha Mandeles, who currently works as campus coordinator for media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), is so impressive that I found myself wondering whether she’ll apply for the post-Abe Foxman national director’s job at the Anti-Defamation League—she certainly deserves serious consideration. In any case, seeing and hearing the next generation of genuinely pro-Israel Jewish leaders is reason enough to give “The J Street Challenge” an hour of your time.



KERRY'S ISRAELI SUPPORTERS                                                      

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2014


Once again…US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to extort Israeli concessions to the PLO by threatening us with a Western economic boycott. Kerry is obsessed with Israel’s economic success. Last May he told us that we’re too rich to surrender our land. Now he’s saying we’ll be poor if we don’t do so. The anti-Semitic undertones of Kerry’s constant chatter about Jews having too much money are obvious. But beyond their inherent bigotry, Kerry’s statements serve to legitimize the radical Left’s economic war against the Jewish state. Administration supporters and fundraisers from Code Pink and other pressure groups, as well as the EU understand that if they escalate their economic and political persecution of the Jewish state, their actions will be met with quiet understanding, and even support from the Obama administration. This is so even if the State Department issues indignant press releases expressing fury that Israeli elected officials have the chutzpah to object to Kerry’s behavior.

Israel has been subjected to plenty of abuse from American secretaries of state. But Kerry’s incessant talk of “illusory” Jewish money is unprecedented. Why does Kerry believe he can get away with this? The overwhelming majority of US lawmakers oppose economic warfare against Israel. The vast majority of Americans support Israel and believe that a Palestinian state will support terrorism and be hostile to Israel.

So if the American public opposes Kerry’s obsessive aggressiveness toward Israel, who is supporting him? Who is giving him cover for his anti-Jewish smears and his irrational focus on Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines? The answer is as infuriating as it is apparent. It is the Israeli Left and through it, much of the American Jewish community that enables Kerry’s diplomatic aggression against the Jewish state. Operating under their cover, Kerry feels free to engage in anti-Jewish bigotry directed against Israeli society. He believes he is immune from allegations of ill-will toward Israel even as he places the full weight of the US government behind a plan that will endanger Israel, bring no peace, destabilize the Middle East and fail to win the US any friends or allies in the Islamic world.

On the face of it, it is hard to understand why leftist Israeli Jews cheer Kerry’s aggressive attacks and threats. After all, they live here. They know as well as the rest of the country that if Israel bows to his will and surrenders Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the PLO the move will bring no peace. Rather it will unleash a Palestinian terrorist assault the likes of which we haven’t seen before. They know that the international delegitimization of Israel only expands with every Israeli concession to the PLO, and that giving up the store will bring us no respite from the Western world’s assault on our right to exist.

So what do they gain by giving cover to Kerry? Why do people like Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich applaud Kerry for placing unrelenting pressure on the government to take steps that the majority of Israelis oppose and urge him to keep it up? Ron Pundak, one of the original architects of Israel’s embrace of the PLO and the so-called two-state solution at Oslo in 1993 supplied the answer in a recently published paper. Last November the George Soros-supported International Crisis Group published a paper by Pundak entitled “Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” The purpose of his paper was to provide strategies for contending with the religious Zionist opposition to the two-state model. According to Pundak, non-secular Israelis oppose the two-state policy because it “is seen as… aimed at de-Zionizing the state.”

Rather than develop talking points to convince Israeli Zionists that they are wrong to view the two-state model as an anti-Zionist project, Pundak admitted they are right. Indeed, destroying the Zionist underpinning of the Jewish state is not a byproduct of the two-state model. It is the purpose of the two-state model. In Pundak’s words, “Peace is not an objective by itself. It is a way to transition Israel from one era to another: to an era of what I consider is a normal state. Israelisation of society rather than its judaisation…”

Pundak’s explanation is not new. Before the Sharon government surrendered Gaza to Palestinian terrorists and forcibly expelled its 8,000 Jewish residents from their homes, Haaretz published an unsigned editorial along the same lines. “The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different.”

The editorial concluded that all the talk about enhanced security or peace was pure nonsense. The purpose of destroying the communities in Gaza was to destroy the political and social power of religious Zionism in Israel. “The real question is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi route [between Gaza and Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance on the roofs of [the destroyed communities]. The real question is who sets the national agenda.”


For Pundak and his colleagues in the post-Zionist camp, Kerry is a key ally. And to the extent Kerry weakens the government and its supporters, he is a strategic asset. True, Kerry’s “framework” will bring no peace. But if what Pundak and his camp were after was peace, they wouldn’t have embraced the PLO to begin with. They would have cultivated pro-Israel Arabs who would lead their people into Israeli society.

That is, they would have done precisely what center- right governing coalitions – that included religious Zionists – sought to achieve, with significant success, in the decade and a half that preceded the phony peace-process. Israel is a democracy. And it is perfectly legitimate for Pundak and his colleagues to try to advance their policy goal of replacing Zionism with a de-Judaized state or anything else they wish. What is illegitimate is the means they have employed to advance their goal…
[To View the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]




A Conflict of Faith: Devoted to Jewish Observance, but at Odds With Israel: Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2014 — There is no question that Charles H. Manekin is a rarity.

As George Kennan Inspired Truman’s Foreign Policy, Now Stephen Walt Inspires Obama’s: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 5, 2014— The postwar American strategy of containing the Soviet Union had an architect—George F. Kennan, the mysterious “Mr. X” who wrote the 1947 Foreign Affairs article that drew from the “Long Telegram,” which laid out a blueprint for American policy that prevailed until the end of Cold War.

Go Left Young Man: Prejudice 101: Langdon Conway, Feb. 20, 2014— Recent attention has been drawn to a young professor (Annette Tezli) for her use of an overtly Bin Laden-excusing, anti-Israel textbook in a University of Calgary sociology course called “Canadian Society.”

Richard Falk’s Final Report Accuses Israel of “Inhuman Acts” & “Apartheid”: UN Watch, Feb. 18, 2014— A controversial United Nations human rights investigator is accusing Israel of “inhuman acts,” and calling on the body world to support a “legitimacy war” against the Jewish state.

The Shame of Princeton: Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 2014 — No matter how deep into the political fever swamps some scholars wade, it seems, progressive academe won't shun them.




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Danny Ben-Moshe
Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2012

On January 20, 1942, the Nazi leadership gathered in a villa on the outskirts of Berlin and adopted the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” The Wannsee Conference, as this became known, from the suburb where the meeting was held, formalized the process that exterminated so much of European Jewry. As we mark the 70th anniversary of that 90-minute meeting in which 15 people condemned millions to death, there are many crucial lessons to learn from the Holocaust.…

Firstly, the killing of a people begins not with violence, but through race-based hatred, progressing to institutionalized discrimination and only then culminating in murder. This is why anti-Semitism, racism and institutionalized discrimination must be addressed, for if left to fester the consequences can be tragic, severe and widespread.

Secondly, the Nazis may have come to power hating Jews, and by the time they launched World War II virulent anti-Semitism was a central policy, but they neither came to power nor launched World War II with the aim of exterminating European Jewry. Hitler wanted Europe “Judenrein” but it was only after plans to deport Jews to places such as Madagascar failed and no one else was willing to accept these Jewish refugees, and only after the mass killing by bullets failed to raise the ire of the local international community, that the Nazis felt they had the green light to take genocide to an unprecedented place.

Today, as Europe teeters on the edge of an economic abyss, as the movement of refugees and asylum seekers literally racing to cross borders soars on a daily basis, and as anti-Semitism evolves and shows no sign of abating, it is imperative that the evolution, nature and consequences of the Holocaust remain clear.

But Holocaust memory is under unprecedented attack.… New trends in denial are alive and well in new-accession member states of the European Union, particularly the three Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, with much support from rightwing political forces in Hungary, the Czech Republic and others. Articulated in the 2008 Prague Declaration, and actively pursued by the leadership of a number of Eastern European Union states, the “Prague Process” (as the Prague Declaration is referred to by its proponents) has been active in the European Union, most notably securing passage of a 2009 resolution calling for all of Europe to enact a single day of commemoration for Nazi and Soviet crimes. Other dangerous proposals being pushed include the effort to “overhaul” textbooks throughout the European Union to ensure “equal treatment” of Nazi and Soviet crimes, and efforts to criminalize the opinion that the Nazi Holocaust was the only genocide in 20th-century Europe.

Historical experience has made Jews empathetic to the suffering of others, and indeed the East European countries suffered brutally under four decades of Soviet rule. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, were deported, were forced into labor camps by Communist regimes whose cruelty was beyond doubt… But there was no Soviet genocide. There was no Soviet Holocaust. By blurring the definition of genocide, that earth-shattering term loses its meaning. If everything is genocide then nothing is genocide.

To mark the anniversary of Wannsee and to counter the dangerous trends in Europe today, I have released the Seventy Years Declaration on the Anniversary of the Final Solution at Wannsee, together with Professor Dovid Katz, author of the DefendingHistory.com blog. The declaration has been signed by over 70 parliamentarians from 19 European Union countries, including three former Europe foreign ministers, two vice presidents of the European Parliament and a vice president of the Bundestag. In addition to remembering the Final Solution plan with “humility and sadness,” the declaration explicitly rejects the notion of “double genocide.”

Seventy years after the Wannsee Conference, the reconciliation process for the crimes of World War II is not yet complete, particularly in the Baltics. Accordingly, the declaration calls for EU member states to “continue efforts to acknowledge their own roles in the destruction of European Jewry” and the “need for ongoing genuine Holocaust education and memorialization across the European Union.” The rise of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and xenophobia in general, and the implementation of double genocide policies in Eastern Europe, makes this an urgent imperative.…

 (Danny Ben-Moshe is an associate professor at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.)

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, January 16, 2012

One of the declared goals of the Netanyahu government is to ensure that Israeli schoolchildren receive a strong Zionist education. To this end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Gideon Sa’ar as his education minister.

Sa’ar has long distinguished himself as a critic of post-Zionist initiatives to transform Israel’s educational curriculum from a Zionist curriculum which in accordance with the Education Law of 1953 is charged with inculcating school children with “the values of Jewish culture,” “love of the homeland,” and “loyalty to the Jewish state,” into one that indoctrinates Israel’s youth to adopt a post-nationalist, universalist perspective that does not value Jewish nationalism and rejects patriotism as atavistic and even racist.

In light of the importance that the government has placed on Zionist education, it is quite shocking that under Sa’ar, the Education Ministry approved a new citizenship textbook for high school students that embraces the post-Zionist narrative.

This fall, the new textbook, Setting off on the path to citizenship: Israel—society, state and its citizens (“Yotzim l’derech ezrachit: Yisrael—hevra, medina v’ezracheya”) was introduced into the state’s official citizenship curriculum. In everything from its discussion of the War of Independence to globalization and transnational institutions, to Israeli politics, to the peace process, to Israel’s constitutional debate, to Operation Cast Lead, the textbook adopts positions that are post-Zionist and even anti-Zionist. It champions these positions while denying students the basic facts necessary to make informed decisions on how they relate to their country, their people and their rights and duties as citizens.

In a letter to Sa’ar written on October 4, 2011, Bar-Ilan University law professor Gideon Sapir set out four ways the textbook distorts history and reality. First, in its discussion of the historical background of Israel’s founding, the book gives only passing mention to the international legal foundation of the state—the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine from 1922. The Mandate called for the reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the land of Israel. It granted sovereignty to the Jewish state over all the territory that today makes up Israel, Judea, Samaria and Jordan. The textbook provides no map of the Mandate…

Second, Sapir noted that the book’s explanation of Israel’s constitutional foundations present the so-called “constitutional revolution” of the 1990s as utterly uncontroversial. Through the “constitutional revolution,” the Supreme Court effectively seized the Knesset’s legislative powers. And as Sapir notes, it justified the move through a distorted interpretation of laws “reading into them rights that were specifically removed from them by the Knesset.” In hiding the controversy surrounding the “constitutional revolution,” the textbook denies students the ability to understand…the current fight between the court and the Knesset regarding the separation of powers.

As Sapir notes, the textbook demonizes the political Right generally and in Israel in particular. While just last month Labor politicians and leftist commentators called for the government to deny due process rights to right-wing protesters, Setting off on the path to citizenship presents political violence as the sole province of the political Right. So, too, while the book claims the Left has a monopoly on human rights, it tells students that “nationalistic chauvinism is identified with the rightist character.”…

Finally, Prof. Sapir mentions that the chapter on the peace process between Israel and its neighbors blames Israel for the absence of peace. The chapter begins a discussion of prospects for peace after the 1967 Six Day War. In so doing, it places the responsibility for the absence of peace on Israel which, it claims, blocks peace by refusing to give Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians and the Golan Heights to Syria. The book paints sympathetic portraits of the Syrian regime, ignores then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer to relinquish the Golan Heights for peace, and makes no mention of repeated statements by Arab leaders calling for the destruction of Israel and denying Israel’s right to exist.

Aside from the points raised by Prof. Sapir, the book also criticizes Israel for not fully embracing the post-nationalist world order represented by the UN. It criticizes Israel for rejecting the legitimacy of the International Court of Justice’s nonbinding legal opinion from 2004 regarding the security barrier. At the same time, it makes no mention of the fact that the ICJ’s opinion denied Israel’s right to self-defense and that the judges themselves included outspoken haters of Israel.

So, too, in attacking Israel for not embracing the UN as the arbiter of issues of war and peace, by among other things, refusing to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission after Operation Cast Lead, the textbook makes no mention of the UN’s anti-Israel agenda [and] the UN’s diplomatic orgy of anti-Semitism at Durban in 2001 in which Israel was singled out as the most racist, illegitimate evil state on the planet. They are not told of the UN General Assembly’s insidious 1975 resolution defining Zionism—the Jewish national liberation movement—as a form of racism.

All of this actually makes sense. Because the textbook itself claims that the Jewish people are a religious group, not a nation. In a teaching note, the textbook recommends “explaining to the students that Judaism in its original meaning is a religion. The Zionist movement transformed the term, ‘Judaism,’ into a nation.” This shocking assertion, which channels the PLO’s genocidal, anti-Semitic charter while ignoring 3,500 years of Jewish history, is par for the course for the textbook introduced into Israel’s high schools under the Netanyahu government.

The question of how this book was approved was the subject of an in-depth investigative report written by Gil Bringer and published in Makor Rishon on December 9, 2011. In a nutshell, the story is yet another chapter in the well-known tale in which leftist politicians working hand in glove with leftist academics and leftist media, install leftist political activists in permanent, “professional” positions within the state bureaucracy in order to enable their radical policies to outlive their time in office….

[C]oalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin called for an urgent hearing on the textbook in the Knesset’s Education Committee. The hearing, which was scheduled to take place on January 4, was canceled. Ministry officials claim that the Sa’ar asked committee chairman MK Alex Miller to cancel the meeting and claimed he was handling the issue within the ministry….

Efraim Karsh

Stonegate, Institute, December 22, 2011

It is ironic that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel’s only university bearing the name of the Jewish state’s founding father, and established in the ancient desert he dreamt of reviving, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of proper scholarly endeavor.

So much so that an international committee of scholars, appointed by Israel’s Council for Higher Education to evaluate political science and international relations programs in Israeli universities, recently recommended that BGU “consider closing the Department of Politics and Government” unless it abandoned its “strong emphasis on political activism,” improved its research performance, and redressed the endemic weakness “in its core discipline of political science.” In other words, they asked that the Department return to accurate scholarship rather than indoctrinate the students with libel.

The same day the committee’s recommendation was revealed, Professor David Newman—who founded that department and bequeathed it such a problematic ethos, for which “achievement” he was presumably rewarded with a promotion to Deanship of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, from where he can shape other departments in a similar way—penned an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in which he compared Israel’s present political culture to that of Nazi Germany.

“I will no doubt be strongly criticized for making such a comparison,” he wrote, “but we would do well to paraphrase the famous words of Pastor Niemoller, writing in 1946 about Germany of the 1930s and 1940s: ‘When the government denied the sovereign rights of the Palestinians, I remained silent; I was not a Palestinian. When they discriminated against the Arab citizens of the country, I remained silent; I was not an Arab. When they expelled the hapless refugees, I remained at home; I was no longer a refugee. When they came for the human rights activists, I did not speak out; I was not an activist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.’”

Even if every single charge in this paraphrase were true, Israel would still be light years apart from Nazi Germany. But one need not be a politics professor or faculty dean to see the delusion in these assertions.

To begin with, which Israeli government has denied “the sovereign rights of the Palestinians”? That of David Ben-Gurion which accepted the 1947 partition resolution with alacrity? Or those headed by Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu, which explicitly endorsed the two-state solution? Has Newman perhaps mistaken Israel’s founding father for Hajj Amin Husseini, leader of the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the 1940s, who tirelessly toiled to ethnically cleanse Palestine’s Jewish community and destroy the nascent state of Israel? Or possibly for Husseini’s successors, from Yasser Arafat, to Ahmad Yassin, to Mahmoud Abbas, whose commitment to Israel’s destruction has been equally unwavering?

There is no moral equivalence whatever between the Nazi persecution, exclusion, segregation, and eventually industrial slaughter of European Jewry, and Israel’s treatment of its Arab population. Not only do the Arabs in Israel enjoy full equality before the law, but from the designation of Arabic as an official language, to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal resting days for their respective communities, Arabs in Israel have enjoyed more prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere in the democratic world.

To put it more bluntly, while six million Jews, three quarters of European Jewry, died at the hands of the Nazis in the six years that Hitler dominated Europe, Israel’s Arab population has not only leapt tenfold during the Jewish state’s 63 years of existence—from 156,000 in 1948 to 1.57 million in 2010—but its rate of social and economic progress has often surpassed that of the Jewish sector, with the result that the gap between the two communities has steadily narrowed…

Even more mind-boggling is Newman’s equating Israel’s attempt to prevent foreign funding of Israeli nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the international Israel de-legitimization campaign—along the lines of the US Foreign Agents Legislation Act—with repressing political opponents by the Nazi regime. What “human rights activists” have been unlawfully detained by the Israeli government, let alone rounded up and thrown into concentration camps? On what planet does the Ben-Gurion University faculty dean live?

But Newman is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His is the standard “colonialist paradigm” prevalent among Israeli and Western academics, which views Zionism, and by extension the state of Israel, not as a legitimate expression of national self-determination but as “a colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement” (in the words of another BGU professor)—an offshoot of European imperialism at its most rapacious.

And therein, no doubt, lies the problem with BGU’s Politics and Government Department: the only Israeli department singled out by the international committee for the unprecedented recommendation of closure. For if its founder and long-time member, who continues to wield decisive influence over its direction, views Israel as a present-day reincarnation of Nazi Germany in several key respects, how conceivably can the department ensure the “sustained commitment to providing balance and an essential range of viewpoints and perspectives on the great issues of politics” required for its continued existence?

(Efraim Karsh is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies
King’s College London, director of the Middle East Forum
and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.)

Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2012

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a highly unusual step. Meeting with visiting PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Her Majesty’s Government departed from the usual diplomatic blather and went out of his way to underline his insistence on a two- state solution for the Israel- Palestinian dispute. “Britain,” he said, “wants to see a two-state solution come about. We are passionate about this; we do everything we can to push and promote this agenda at every available opportunity.”

Cameron’s fervor was matched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who accused the Jewish state of carrying out “deliberate vandalism” by building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria. “The continued existence of illegal settlements risks making facts on the ground such that a two-state solution becomes unviable,” said Clegg with an amused Abbas at his side.

How nice it is to see that Britain’s top officials are so adamant about the right to self-determination and the principle that nations should be able to freely choose their form of political affiliation and assert their national sovereignty. With a growing national independence movement right there in the United Kingdom (or, should I say, in the not-so-united Kingdom), I guess we should now expect to hear similar statements by the Cameron government regarding Scottish independence.

To be sure, the independence movement is gathering steam in Scotland. Last week, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said that Scotland’s government would hold a referendum on independence in the autumn of 2014. The date coincides with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, when Scottish armies defeated the English.

After centuries of tension, Scotland and England joined together with the Treaty of Union in January 1707. But Scottish nationalists have long suspected that the balloting on unification was less than pure and that those who supported the move had been bribed to vote in favor. As Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns, put it, “We are bought and sold for English gold. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”

But the dream of Scottish autonomy did not die, and after a vote in September 1997, the Scottish Parliament convened in July 1999 for the first time in centuries, with the British government transferring various powers to Scottish control. Today, 13 years later, not all Scots are satisfied with the greater autonomy they currently enjoy, and Salmond hopes to build support for a complete and historic break with the English…

While Cameron has agreed to give the Scottish parliament temporary powers to hold a vote, he wants it done on his terms. He has demanded the vote be held as soon as possible and insists on the right to approve the wording of the yes-or-no referendum question that will be put to Scottish voters. Moreover, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph on January 8, the British premier made clear that he does not think Scotland should secede. “I don’t want to be Prime Minister of England, I want to be Prime Minister of the whole of the United Kingdom,” he said, describing himself as a “passionate believer”—there is that term again—in a united Great Britain.

So which is it, Mr. Cameron? Are you really all that passionate about the principle of self-determination? Shouldn’t it be left to the Scots to decide when and how they will determine their own national destiny? Or does your passion only apply to the Palestinians? Put simply, the British are trying to have it both ways, insisting that Israel give the Palestinians unfettered freedom on their own terms, even as they apply a very different standard in their own Scottish backyard…

Before preaching to Israel, London would do well to put its own house in order and let the Scots go free, should they choose. As Winston Churchill once noted, “It is always easier to discover and proclaim general principles than to apply them.” That is a lesson that David Cameron apparently has yet to learn.