Right of Reply: There's no correct way to be pro-Israel

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions coordinator answers Gerald Steinberg of "NGO Watch."

August 28, 2007 21:21
2 minute read.
Right of Reply: There's no correct way to be pro-Israel

house demolition 224 88. (photo credit: AP [file])


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A funny thing happened to me on my way from Tel Aviv to New York a couple months ago. I was sitting in my aisle seat reading a book, when all of a sudden I became aware of the tall figure of a man looming over me. I looked up and saw a guy with a mustache and kippa whom I had never met before. "I am Gerald Steinberg," he trumpeted. "I am the person who will put you out of business." Then he abruptly lurched off. But he apparently had one more thought he wanted to share with me. Suddenly he turned around, pointed at me and bellowed: "You are a Jewish anti-Semite!" Now accosting me in the street is one thing, but accusing me of anti-Semitism in a voice everyone could hear on a planeload of Jewish passengers was virtual incitement to a lynching. Fortunately, my fellow passengers had their seat-belts on, and the incident passed peacefully. Later, in the passport line at Kennedy, we passed each other. "Why don't we get a cup of coffee sometime and talk?" I offered. "You're not important enough," he snapped back as he disappeared into the Goldene Medine. THE ACCOSTING has now moved to the pages of The Jerusalem Post ("Europe to host NGO attack on Israel," August 23) where, not for the first time, Steinberg refers to me as, in general, anti-Israel - although here I only "appear" with anti-Semites. All this is silly stuff, of course. But the kind of rhetoric Steinberg employs is significant because it is often used by self-proclaimed "pro-Israel" advocates to obfuscate the very important debate that must take place if we are to overcome conflict and usher Israel into the state of peace, security and reconciliation most Israelis seem to desire. In his article, Steinberg employs epithets, simplistic and accusatory terms as if they were "objective," the very technique of "radical propaganda" of which he accuses me and others. In the Brussels meetings - to which I wasn't invited, despite Steinberg's insinuation that I was - he refers to "radical" Palestinian NGOs (whatever that means); "anti-Israel" NGOs (including a number of Israeli ones), "radicals" in general (although as an old '60s person that doesn't sound bad to me), "liberation theology" (apparently a bad thing in Steinberg's world), "anti-Semitic themes," and so on. THE UNSPOKEN and misleading assumption underlying all this is that there exists a normal, acceptable, correct "pro-Israel" position from which no one should be permitted to deviate. And I'll bet that position conforms precisely to Steinberg's. There is no such position, of course. Twenty years ago, to support a two-state solution - which Steinberg today touts as the epitome of being "pro-Israel" - would have gotten you thrown out of town. Things change, but they cannot change for the better if open, honest and occasionally heated debate is not allowed. Steinberg urges that the UN/European Parliament meeting in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace be cancelled. This seems to contradict the motto on the banner of his own NGO Monitor: "Promoting critical debate" on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Promoting civil debate would be enough. The writer is the Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He was a nominee for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Related Content

Trump ban
August 18, 2018
Record number of Jewish voters will reject Trump in November