Funeral of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, murdered in West Bank terror attack shooting, January 10, 2017 .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
"Have you no sense of decency, sir?” is among the most famous quotations in modern American history. Those unforgettable words were hurled at the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy, by US Army counsel Joseph Welch on June 9, 1954, during the infamous McCarthy hearings about alleged Communist infiltration of the federal government.
Welch’s powerful rebuke of McCarthy came to mind, although in a different context, when I read some of the responses to the Palestinian terrorist murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six whose “crime” was Driving While Jewish.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, tweeted in response to the murder: “We all share grief over this terrible tragedy. I join prayers for bereaved family.”
A decent person would have stopped right there. But not Ben- Ami. He appears to be physically incapable of expressing grief over the cold-blooded murder of an innocent Israeli civilian, without adding some kind of politically-colored qualifier.
The J Street president’s tweet continued: “Also question @USAmbIsrael analysis on why there is no peace. Must look further.”
Ah, the old “root causes” theory. If the killers are Palestinians, it can never be that they are simply guilty of committing a brutal crime. We all have to “look further.” There must be something that caused or provoked their brutality. Meaning, there must be a way to blame Israel.
Incredibly, Ben-Ami’s tweet didn’t stop there. He then had to personally insult America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman: “Role is Ambassador of US not rep of Israel’s right wing.”
Yes, we all remember that Friedman was very critical of J Street in his pre-ambassador days. But must the thin-skinned Ben-Ami turn that into a pathological hatred that explodes at every opportunity?
Believe it or not, Ben-Ami still wasn’t done. His tweet concluded: “Balanced diplomacy not one sided advocacy will bring peace.”
Ben-Ami must be hoping the Jewish community is suffering from amnesia and doesn’t remember that we’ve already had more than 40 years of “balanced” diplomacy.
Jimmy Carter pressured Israel restlessly. George H. W. Bush’s Israel policy was run by James “F*** the Jews” Baker. Bill Clinton had Yasser Arafat to the White House more often than any other foreign leader. George W. Bush was the first president to call for a Palestinian state. Barack Obama’s entire Middle East policy was based on putting more “daylight” between the US and Israel – and Ben-Ami himself used to boast that he was Obama’s “blocking back.” So what kind of peace did all that “balance” bring us, exactly?
Unfortunately, the J Streeters are not the only ones exhibiting a gross lack of decency these days. While several Knesset members from Bayit Yehudi were attending Rabbi Shevach’s funeral, the Zionist Union (Labor Party) opposition exploited their absence by trying to force a vote on a bill on which those MKs would have tipped the balance against the opposition.
This kind of crass behavior is a blatant contravention of standard Knesset decorum. One might also ask why the Labor MKs themselves were not at the funeral. Were Rabbi Shevach’s political views not to their liking? Every terrorism victim deserves honor and respect, regardless of which political camp he or she belonged to. “It wouldn’t hurt the opposition to act humanely in the face of a terrorist attack,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said afterwards. Likud MK Yariv Levin said the opposition “crossed all the boundaries of good taste.”
Levin was right, of course. But I must note that there are coalition MKs who have also managed to show a lack of good taste, to put it mildly. An aide to Likud MK Yehuda Glick revealed last month that Interior Minister Arye Deri (Shas) tried to pressure Glick to come straight from his wife’s funeral to the Knesset to take part in a vote on a bill that was important to Deri.
The J Streeters were probably chortling with glee at the opportunity to point to the indecency of a minister in the current government. And they would not be mistaken to do so. But with his grotesque and ugly tweet following the murder of Rabbi Shevach, Jeremy Ben-Ami has joined the club.
The writer, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.