We have grown accustomed to the ravings of the Jew haters of Zion – the loony
left who identify with Hamas and Hizbullah rather than their own people, the
post-Zionists who seek to undo the Jewish character of Israel and the bleeding
heart liberals who make excuses for the criminality of our neighbors and condemn
us for defending ourselves.
But what is more frustrating is an emerging
new trend, involving even well-meaning friends of Israel, primarily liberals,
who demand that as Jews and “partners” of Israel, they are entitled to partake
in determining Israeli security and defense related policies.
The most notorious
of these is J Street in the US which shamelessly lobbies its government to
pressure Israel to adopt policies contrary to those determined by our
democratically elected government.
Despite living thousands of miles away
and not subject to the consequences of the policies they promote, they have the
gall to insist that they are more sensitive to the security needs of the Jewish
state than we Israelis. Being “genuinely pro-peace,” they purport to be acting
in our best interests by exercising “tough love” and urging their president to
bludgeon us to toe their line. Their hubris and arrogance is
Nor are they deterred by the fact that Israelis today are
overwhelmingly supportive of the policies adopted by their government. Even
Kadima, the principal opposition party, is aware that if it held the reins of
government, it would pursue a similar course. In fact, the policies promoted by
the “pro-peace” elements reflect the views of only the Israeli fringe
exemplified by Meretz which gained only three of 120 seats in the
What makes the situation even more bizarre is that some American
Jews who oppose J Street policies suggest that incorporating such pro-peace
groups into the “tent” benefits Israel. It is incomprehensible how the cause of
Israel is strengthened by providing legitimacy to Jews who pressure foreign
governments to force it to take steps contrary to the policies determined by its
elected leaders. The logic behind such babble is elusive to say the
The same applies to J Call, the European extension of J Street
which is less radical because Europeans rarely lobby their governments.
Nevertheless its supporters uninhibitedly condemn Israel, ignoring the fact that
that their words are grist for the mill of the anti-Semites and those engaged in
vicious campaigns to demonize and delegitimize us.
NOW A new element has
joined the fray. In the UK, Mick Davis, chairman of Anglo Jewry’s largest
fund-raiser, the United Israel Appeal, wrote an oped published with a blazing
front page headline in the Jewish Chronicle, insisting that the Diaspora, as a
partner, has a legitimate right to engage in the Israel policy-making
This is simply outrageous chutzpah.
We all agree that
Diaspora Jews have been and remain the most important partner of the Jewish
state. No one challenges their right to provide input toward Israeli decisions
which impact on the future of the Jewish people. But that principal was always
accompanied by a caveat that campaigning against government policies affecting
security was absolutely off limits for non-Israelis.
Let us be clear. We
are one people.But Diaspora Jews and Israelis are not equal
Whereas during the formative founding years of the state, the
financial contribution of global Jewry was crucial, today Israel has evolved
into a powerful economic entity and Diaspora support represents a minimal
percentage of GNP. In many respects the principal benefit of Diaspora funding is
that it represents a key element in maintaining Jewish identity by providing
constructive involvement with the Jewish state.
However if Jewish
philanthropists believe that contributing toward worthy causes in Israel makes
them eligible to become involved in security related decision-making, they
should retain their money.
There is no question that ultimately only
Israelis can determine security-related policy. It is we, our children and our
grandchildren who will be placing our lives on the line, not Jews in New York,
London, Melbourne or Rio.
HOW ON earth did we arrive at the current
ridiculous situation? Prior to Oslo, successive governments followed the lead of
the founding fathers and maintained close ties with Diaspora
leaders. Jewish activists would never have contemplated agitating against
security and defense related issues determined by the government.
convention was initially disregarded when a number of American Jews, including
some associated with AIPAC and encouraged by Israeli rightwingers, began
campaigning against the Oslo Accords in the US. Israel was then deeply
divided. When prime minister Yitzhak Rabin became aware of this, he
became enraged and threatened American Jewish groups challenging the policies of
his government that he would confront them in their own communities. The outcome
was that all mainstream Jewish organizations, including AIPAC, reaffirmed that
policies affecting Israel could only be determined by the democratically elected
government. Had Rabin encountered a J Street, he would have become hopping mad
and insisted that such a body be ejected from mainstream Jewish
Unfortunately, during the latter term of Rabin’s tenure, his
government became so convinced about the “inevitability “of an Arab-Israeli
peace that it called on Jews in the Diaspora to cease public advocacy. Instead
it concentrated on persuading Israelis and Jews that Yasser Arafat’s
increasingly belligerent outbursts were harmless and that the Arabs were
committed to peace. As a consequence the linkage weakened between Israeli
ambassadors and Jewish communities and most Diaspora leaders found themselves
free to adopt whatever policies appealed to them.
This was further
complicated by the inclination of successive prime ministers who, rather
reinforcing the commitment to Israel of the Diaspora leaders, focused
attention on wealthy Jews who provided funding for their private
Now we are reaping the disastrous dividends of this
What is desperately needed is for the government to restore its
relationship with Diaspora Jewish communities.
Contrary what has being
in recent weeks, Diaspora Jews, including the younger generation who no
live under the shadow of the Holocaust or memories of the struggle to
Jewish state, remain overwhelmingly pro-Israel. Surveys show that the
the new liberals who are alienated from Israel, primarily originate from
assimilated and intermarried families and those overwhelmed by the
culture and media surrounding them especially on the campus.
becoming obsessed with an urge to tell us how to run our affairs, Jewish
activists should ensure that the new generation of Jews in high school
the campus are imbued with an understanding of our history and heritage
above all exposed to the Israel narrative which will strengthen their
enable them to withstand the external onslaughts. That should be their
objective, rather than groveling to left liberals who magnify every
in our society while closing their eyes to the horrors that could engulf
the barbarians at our gates succeed.