Sunday, December 9, 2012


As has always been the case, Israel is either under attack from terrorists or from its critics. Rockets poured from Gaza on Israel, while the Op-Ed pages and the so-called diplomats drop their bombs from the pages of otherwise respected newspapers and journals. Either way, Israel is under attack and, we, of all people, understand why even as we question "why?"

We all read what passes for "fair criticism" of Israel in the daily press -- both in alleged "new" stories and in a constant stream of op-eds and statements ranging from Secretary Clinton, to the UN Secretary General (who appears to be nothing more than a grinning empty suit) to the European Union --and one has to ask what is the definition of "fair" when it comes to Israel? And, Israel's faux "friends" -- the Beinarts, Tom Friedmans (whose latest attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu [asserting that the Likud is now the captive of evermore right wing politicians] is the height of the very arrogance of which he accuses the PM), the J-Streeters and their claques -- who only find fault with Israeli policies...unless...

Unless...the answer is no different today than over the decades of Israel's existence -- when Israel is giving up territory that is lawfully Israel's, Israel is applauded: but the applause is always short-lived and always accompanied by demands for more... more and more. But, has there ever...ever...been a demand made of the Palestinians? For example: even the most minimum -- recognize Israel as a Jewish State? Or: make one...any...reasonable peace proposal? But, no, the claque never makes a demand of the Palestinians -- for through some perverted logic that defies reason, they are the "peacemakers."

Even before President Obama demanded that "peace" be based on Israel's return to the "1967 borders plus adjustments," Israeli leaders, including Prime  Minister Netanyahu, had agreed to negotiate based upon that formulation. But, you would never know it from the cacophony (emphasis on "phony") from the claque. When Israel, finally out of patience with the daily rocket bombardments from the Terrorists weapons on Israel's South, with precise, target attacks on Gaza's Terrorists, you would never have known that fact from the claque. 

And, then there are the ridiculous scoldings writ large on the editorial pages. Take the New York Times (please!!). On December 4, the Times identified Mahmoud Abbas as "the only credible peace negotiator." Such is Israel's lot. When the Israeli Government agreed to a lengthy development freeze, we recall that "peace negotiator Abbas" couldn't bring himself even to the negotiating table even though that freeze was the "precondition" that he had demanded. 

I, like so many of you, have visited Israel over 70 times. I have heard one thing on every one of my visits -- Israelis and their leaders want to live in peace with their neighbors and within the family of nations. I have heard teenagers singing of and praying side-by-side with their parents for peace as we we cried at their pain. We have visited the homes of so many grieving over lost sons and daughters while the world outside condemns Israel for defending her People.

It's all so sad.



Anonymous said...


There needs to be room to respectfully disagree here with committed Jews with strong Israel connections who see matters differently.

Bibi has done everything in his power to put a kabosh on any kind of negotiations. He has been amazingly disrespectful to the POTUS and other US officials. He has tried to make the PA irrelevant. Beinart had him pegged to the T in his book in his behavior and philosophy over the years.

Is Israel's official policy to support a 2 state solution? You certainly wouldn't know it from the current government's actions.

RWEX said...

Thanks. You have offered food for thought.

paul jeser said...

Dear Anonymous 8:15am

You may be right, but, then again, you may be wrong (disrespectful of POTUS - you gotta be kidding?). An important issue, however, is credibility.

Those of us sitting in our comfortable homes in the States, not paying Israeli taxes, not sending our kids to serve in the IDF, don't have the credibility, nor the moral right, to criticize Israel. If we think Israel needs a better gov't, then we need to make aliyah and effect the change we desire.

Critical statements from Diaspora Jews not only are ineffective but only help to strengthen those trying to delegitimize, or even worse, destroy Israel

Read today's column by Danny Gordis (whose move from the left to the right has been watched by thousands...): The Dangerous Myopia of American Jewish Leaders

Anonymous said...

Two questions?
Why is it ok for Sheldon Adelson to publish In Israel an embarrassing right wing free newspaper that drove the entire Israeli newspaper industry into severe financial distress?
Would any non-orthodox congregation particularly in our large cities (and most particularly in the suburbs of Chicago) feel comfortable with the likes of Lieberman, Danon, Yishai, Feiglin or Bennett as keynote speakers at a Yom Haatzmaut celebration? Or would they prefer Olmert, Livni, Yacimovich or a David Grossman?
There Is a big difference between unconditional love for Israel, support for Zionism and a secure Jewish state and unconditional approval and automatic support for Israeli policies whatever they may be - particularly when the governing majority is dependent on the votes of political parties that are marginally democratic or Zionist at best.
Some of us may agree with Friedman, Beinart, Olmert and Livni and some us do not. One group are not however better Jews or Zionists than the other.

paul jeser said...

The answer to your questions:

Adelson - it is call free enterprise - democracy. If people did not agree with Adelson's perspective his publication would not survive - free or not. Here in the States, much to the dismay off many, FNC is doing very well while CNN and the NYTimes continue to loose support. Obviously, the public is expressing its feelings whether you like it or not.

Your 2nd question and final comments miss the point. Of course individuals, organizations can invite whomever they want. But, public criticsm of Israel by American Jews is not helpful, not effective, and further weakens Israel.

Of course Israel has warts - if you read Danny Gordis, he has written about many of them.

The BIG difference is that Gordis made aliyah, pays Israeli taxes, sends his kids to fight in the IDF. Thus he has the moral right to publically criticize. As American Jews, comfortable and secure, we don't.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully Paul your defense of Adelson is inconsistent with your position. Adelson did not make Aliyah, his money did and his wife made yerida. Well for 35 years my money had made aliya as well through Federation and progressive Zionist causes and my Pro Israel anti occupation point of view has every Jewish right to be aired with respect as his greater Israel defacto bi national state position. Both of us are diaspora Jews who believe that the Zionist dream is in danger even as we come to very different conclusions. However, in regard to his newspaper shenanigans that is what economists call "dumping" an unfair business practice that subverts the free market and hurts the free interchange of ideas - hardly democratic in either intent or outcome.

paul jeser said...

Amnonymous 6:31 - I could take up pages responding to your comment, but won't. Except for one observation - you have every right to be involved with the direction organizations in Israel take that you have supported. But, to the best of my knowledge, you have given no money to the Israeli government, thus you have no moral right to tell it what to do.

RWEX said...

Paul and those Anonymous,

Enough. No one will convince Paul that American Jews are as entitled to their fair criticism of Israel's policies and vice-versa. We are getting into more and more bellicose Comments. If anyone has something new, feel free...