Last month, we learned that in addition to targeting groups that that oppose
abortion and that support limited government and lower taxes, the Obama
administration’s Internal Revenue Service has apparently been singling out
non-leftist pro-Israel groups.
According to numerous media
investigations, beginning as early as March 2009, a consortium of powerful
forces including the Palestinian Authority, The New York Times, columnists in
The Washington Post, administration-allied anti- Israel groups including J
Street and the Arab American Anti- Discrimination Committee, and the State
Department lobbied the IRS to discriminate against these pro-Israel
They alleged that since these groups opposed the administration’s
policy of coercing Israel to vacate Judea, Samaria and northern, southern and
eastern Jerusalem, they had no right to receive tax-breaks as nonprofit
There is no legal basis for the claim that US groups which
lawfully oppose government policy should be barred from receiving nonprofit
Since Israel’s presence and the presence of Jewish civilians in
Judea and Samaria is completely legal, there is also no justification for
vilifying those in the US or in Israel who support and work to expand that
True, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s Middle East
strategy is to delegitimize the Jewish presence in these areas as a prelude to
eliminating it. If nothing else, the contrast between Secretary of State John
Kerry’s peripatetic efforts to restart peace talks between the Palestinians and
Israel on the one hand, and his demonstrated indifference to the convulsions now
engorging Egypt, not to mention the Obama administration’s generally
lackadaisical attitude toward the Syrian civil war on the other hand, make that
Like President Barack Obama, Kerry has adopted the PLO’s position
that talks between the Palestinians and Israel must be based on presumptive
Palestinian sovereignty of all territories illegally captured by Egypt and
Jordan in Israel’s War of Independence up to the 1949 armistice lines (falsely,
and misleadingly referred to as the 1967 borders). Implicitly, the
administration supports the PLO’s demand that for a Palestinian state to be
formed, those areas – as well as much of Jerusalem – must first be ethnically
cleansed of Jews.
The administration’s obsession with coercing Israel to
make massive concessions to the PLO is based on its belief that the Palestinian
conflict with Israel is the greatest source of all instability and
anti-Americanism in the Arab world.
Every day, the utter folly and
madness of this position is revealed. For the past two-and a- half years, it has
been exposed in the chaos that has taken hold in state after state throughout
the Arab world, and in the fanatical forces released by this chaos. True, Jew
hatred is endemic throughout the Arab world. But as the demonstrations from
Cairo to the killing fields in Aleppo have shown, this hatred has little impact
on the actions of the hundreds of millions of people in the Arab world. When
supporters of Egypt’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi yell
“[Interim President] Adly Mansour is a Jew,” they are not suggesting they will
put aside their differences with Egypt’s military government if Israel reaches a
peace deal with the PLO.
Thirteen years ago this month, the Palestinians
rejected peace and statehood at the Camp David summit. Since then, not a day has
passed when they haven’t taken some action that made clear they have no
intention whatsoever of ever making peace with Israel. Their identity is based
on the negation of Jewish peoplehood and Jewish rights.
Just last week,
this state of affairs was grotesquely reinforced when the Palestinian
Authority’s television station presented two little girls reciting a poem in
which they castigated Jews as “filth,” the “most evil among creations, barbaric
monkeys, wretched pigs,” whom Jerusalem will “vomit” out, and who are condemned
to “humiliation and hardship.”
But the folly of the US’s Middle East
policy has made no difference to the foreign policy establishment, which has
connived, according to media reports, to deny pro- Israel groups that reject
this position their legal right to nonprofit status by siccing the IRS on
One of the most notable aspects of the story of alleged IRS
discrimination against nonleftist pro-Israel organizations has been the silence
of the mainstream American Jewish groups in the face of this apparent
What does the silence of major American Jewish groups on
this issue tell us about the nature of these organizations that claim to speak
for the American Jewish community? Obviously the alleged ideological
discrimination toward predominantly Jewish pro- Israel organizations by the
federal government is a matter that the overwhelming majority of American Jews
find objectionable not to mention frightening.
And yet, the largest
American Jewish groups have said nothing. They have not demanded any
explanations from the IRS or the State Department. They have not demand
apologies from the New York Times, J Street, the Arab American
Anti-Discrimination or anyone else for maligning lawful organizations that
operate well within the boundaries of law.
It’s possible that they are
silent because they are afraid.
Groups like the Anti-Defamation League
and the American Jewish Committee have multi-million dollar budgets and they
prize their access to the White House and the State Department.
leadership may fear that by objecting to anti-Israel discrimination, they will
stop getting invited to White House Hanukka parties or that they themselves will
become the targets of unjustified Federal investigations.
Perhaps it is
fear. But perhaps they are silent because they share the goal of silencing
voices that refuse to accept the Obama administration’s assertion that it is
pro-Israel to support the establishment of a Palestinian terror state in
Israel’s capital and in its historic and strategic heartland.
they wish to muzzle Jews who refuse to accept that it is pro-Israel to be
Last month two rising Israeli political stars, Economy and
Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon,
expressed their opposition to a Palestinian state. In addition to stating his
own opposition to such an entity, Danon also noted that Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s support for the establishment of a Palestinian state is shared
neither by the majority of the members of the Likud’s Knesset faction, nor by
the majority of the ministers in his coalition government, and that the
government would oppose the establishment of such a state were the issue brought
to a vote.
These statements were not unprecedented. Far from
In January Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon noted that a Palestinian
state would be an enemy of the Jewish state, saying “There are those who are
trying to market [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas as relatively moderate, but his
goals are the same as those of Hamas. He does not believe in an agreement based
on pre-1967 lines and he is refusing to come to the negotiating
Rather than contend with the substance of these elected leaders’
remarks, or simply give them the respect due to duly elected representatives of
the Israeli public, both the AJC and the ADL condemned them for speaking their
minds. Even worse, they pretended their condemnations reflected the position of
the Israeli government.
As the Zionist Organization of America noted, the
AJC falsely claimed that Ya’alon asked Netanyahu to reprimand Danon – his deputy
– for speaking the truth.
The AJC and the ADL condemned Danon and Bennett
because they claimed that by speaking the truth they harmed the chances of the
But of course, that is absurd.
the so-called “twostate solution” has no chance of success is because the
Palestinians reject the Jewish state, not because Jews reject another Arab
state. Pointing this out is not harmful. It is essential. And hiding this fact
is not constructive to Arab-Israeli peace or to Middle Eastern
The only party that benefits from American Jewish groups
attacking duly elected Israeli leaders for stating the truth is the Obama
administration. It is Washington, not Jerusalem that insistently clings to the
ridiculous “two-state solution.”
It is Washington, not Jerusalem that
insists a policy of reducing Israel to an indefensible, riven and weak Jewish
statelet without its capital city or heartland is the magic bullet for solving
everything from the global jihad to Arab illiteracy and misogyny.
defending the administration’s unhealthy obsession with Israel, these American
Jewish groups, with multi-million dollar budgets and automatic access to the
media, are promoting an agenda that necessarily rejects the legitimacy of
Israeli elections, and the views of the majority of Israelis. And Israelis are
not the only people these groups betray by siding with the White House against
facts. These positions also pit them against the majority of American
As the ZOA noted, polls of American Jews carried out by the AJC
itself over the past two years show that not only do the majority of Israelis
oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, the majority of American Jews
oppose it as well. A Gallup poll taken over the past year showed that the
majority of Americans in general also oppose the establishment of a Palestinian
The silver lining in this story is that not all American Jews are
taking their organizational leadership’s abuse of their values and views lying
down. In addition to helping the ZOA to expand its reach, in community after
community, activists, generally with no financial assistance, are forming new
groups to advance the interests and values of America’s Jews that are being
trounced by the major Jewish organizations.
Over the past 10 years
independent activists have banded together under an assortment of names –
Christians and Jews United for Israel, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors,
JCCWatch and countless others to do the work that the American Jewish
organizational leadership refuses to do.
In New York, JCCWatch has
organized protests against the Jewish Federation-funded 92nd Street Y for
repeatedly providing forums for outspoken Jewhaters including Alice Walker and
Roger Waters to air their poisonous views.
In San Francisco, a nurse
named Masha Merkulova founded the Rimon Club in 2011. The Rimon Club organizes
events to educate the Jewish community about Israel. The Rimon Club recently
formed Club Z, a youth group for San Francisco area Jewish youth that provides
them an informal, fun setting to connect in a meaningful and non-apologetic way
with Israel and their Jewish identity.
According to senior Israeli
officials, and leaked PA documents, after Obama came into office, his senior
advisers told their Israeli interlocutors that they controlled the American
Jewish community. Under Obama, these Israeli leaders were told, there would be
no more American Jewish voices opposing the two-state solution or opposing
pressure on Israel.
With J Street, they said, AIPAC would no longer
Maybe they were right. But what is certainly true, is that
despite its audits, its alleged denials of nonprofit status, and its American
Jewish mouthpieces, the Obama administration has not silenced the American Jews.
From coast to coast, authentic, courageous American Jewish groups are forming
and organizing. Their members understand that there are things that are more
important than multi-million dollar budgets and invitations to White House