Monday, February 17, 2014
About That Letter From ’150 Prominent American Jews’
My latest is up at The Times of Israel:
Recently a letter was sent a group variously described as ‘prominent American Jewish leaders’ to Israeli PM Netanyahu urging support for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ‘peace framework’, yet another agreement that Secretary Kerry has concocted that isn’t an agreement.
The letter, published on the Left wing site Huffington Post was innocuous in its tone to a degree, merely expressing ‘ support of your continued efforts to pursue a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples’, lauding Secretary Kerry’s ‘extraordinary resolve to advance this process’ and his ‘determined diplomatic effort’, which the signatories believe is an ‘unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish state posed by bi-nationalism.’
They also express the hope that President Abbas and ‘the Palestinian leadership will be challenged to make important compromises, to end incitement and to demonstrate a genuine preparedness to live in peace alongside the nation-state of the Jewish people.’
All this sounds good, until you read between the lines, examine who signed it and where it comes from.
If this sounds suspiciously like Oslo, The Road Map, the Gaza Disengagement and every other failed attempt to end the conflict between Israel and those Arabs whom identify themselves as Palestinians, there’s good reason for that. What’s asked of the Palestinians is essentially the same things that were asked of Arafat at Oslo – a promise to end the hysterical incitement against Jews, a commitment to ending support for terrorism, and acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.What’s demanded of Israel is concrete…the land. And once that land was ceded, the Palestinians dropped any pretense of fulfilling their obligations, as they have to this day.
As usual, the emphasis is not on Israel’s rights, but on Palestinian rights and Israel’s security. Which of course, will somehow be guaranteed by giving the Palestinians even more land and moving Israel back to the same indefensible borders of the 1948 ceasefire lines. Only this time, with the added threat of long range missiles and a nuclear armed Iran.As for that ‘existential threat posed by bi-nationalism’ what that apparently refers to is the myth of an Arab majority in Judea and Samaria, something based on a bogus Palestinian survey back in the 1990′s that demographers like Yoram Ettinger and others have already thoroughly debunked. Yet it’s still swallowed whole by those seeking to twist Israel arm while claiming they are only trying to ‘save Israel from itself’!
Of course, Israel’s prosperity will likewise be affected, but not in the way the signers of this document would have you believe.Imagine the effect on the country’s tourist industry once the PLO is within rocket range of Ben-Gurion, or what foreign investors are going to do once Israel’s industrial and manufacturing heartland are under attack. Imagine how it’s going to affect aliyah, or how many Israelis with vital skills, especially in high tech are going to emigrate. Not to mention the cost of enhanced security and resettling thousands of embittered Jewish refugees.
Even worse, this is the largest scale assault on Israel’s national rights in its modern history,and like Oslo and the Road Map, an attempt to make that assault part of International Law. A brief look at the Treaty of Sevres between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I, the League of Nations Mandate on Palestine and the San Remo Agreement makes it clear that while Arabs living in Palestine were to be accorded civil rights, only the Jews were to be accorded sovereignty and national rights in Palestine, language that matches the Balfour Declaration. The sole Arab claim of sovereign national rights west of the Jordan thus far is the Oslo Accords, which themselves only guaranteed Arab autonomy, not a separate state according to Israeli Prime Minister Yithak Rabin himself, who signed them.
So why would prominent Jews in America push this? Sadly, the answer becomes evident once you look at who signed it and whom they’re connected with.
President Obama may have failed at a number of his policies, but one thing he hasn’t failed at is doing something no other U.S. president ever even considered – making American support for Israel a partisan issue.
As the Pew trust and other reputable pollsters have shown, support for Israel remains the majority position by better than two to one. But break it down by party and you find that support for Israel in the Democrat party is far lower, just over 50%. As the party has moved to the Left, support for Israel has decreased and the narrative of Palestinian ‘victimhood’ has become more popular there.
And many of America’s Jews, who support President Obama and his agenda have moved Left with their party.
It’s no accident that one of the first names on the list of signatories to this letter is none other than President Obama’s consigliere and former chief adviser David Axelrod.
The rabbis on the list are almost universally members of Rabbis for Obama, and a number of others are associated with a group known as the Israel Policy Forum. The IPF was originally formed around the time of the Oslo Accords to lobby for support for Oslo among American Jews and to oppose AIPAC and the Zionist Organization of America, whom were critical of the idea of giving the likes of Yasser Arafat control over anything.
When Oslo imploded, so did the IPF, but it was revived as a front to cover for the Obama Administration’s policies towards Israel.Like J Street and A Jewish Voice For Peace,the IPF received substantial financial support from billionaire and prominent Obama backer George Soros, who has compared Israel to the Nazis. Soros began funding the Israel Policy Forum when it was part of the Leftist think tank the Center For American Progress through his Open Society Institute (OSI).
The Center For American Progress (definitely not a pro-Israel organization) also funds the anti-Israel NGO Human Rights Watch.
The current president of the IPF, Peter A. Joseph is one of those prominent American Jews who signed this letter. Among his other activities, he funds anti-Israel activist Peter Beinart, who has appeared at numerous IPF functions and whom also receives funding from the New Israel Fund, which some Israelis may be familiar with. The NIF also helps fund a number of anti-Israel NGO’s.
The IPF also supported a harsh anti-Israel critic, Charles Freeman when President Obama nominated him as head of the US National Intelligence Council, as well as Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense and Samantha Power as President Obama’s UN Ambassador.
The point I’m making here is an obvious one. While some of the people who signed that letter may be well meaning, they’re the same sort of people whom also thought Oslo was a splendid idea, and they’re perfectly willing to try it again, especially since they won’t be the ones suffering if it fails miserably. It works for them politically as staunch partisans of the Democratic Party and President Obama, it sounds good and the way they see things, it doesn’t affect them otherwise so that’s all that matters. They have no understanding about how a strong and vital Israel affects their pleasant lives in the Diaspora. For others of this group, Israel simply doesn’t count for very much next to their Left wing bonifides, and a number of others simply mean the Jewish State no good, whether they admit it or not. Also, since there’s a decent sum of money available for bashing Israel these days in some circles in America and Europe, some of them are motivated by that as well.
By and large (and I understand how harsh this sounds) a number of the people whom signed this letter are the same class of people whom were adamant about not pressuring FDR to do more to accept Jewish refugees or take steps like bombing the rail lines leading to Auschwitz during the Holocaust even when allied air raids were occurring in the same general locale. They simply didn’t want to know, or to strain their political, financial and social ties.
Read the rest here