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January 12, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 12, 2018

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 12, 2018 d By Andrew Silow-Carroll NEW YORK (JTA)--JTA doesn't give out Person of the Year honors, but if we did I'd be tempted to nominate Michael Kadar, the Israeli-American teenager accused of mak- ing hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in early 2017. As I wrote soon after his arrest: "[T]he JCC bomb threat hoax wasn't just an isolated swastika daubing--it was an ongoing story affecting Jewish institutions in nearly every American Jewish community. It shaped a communal narrative that something ugly and insidious was happening out there. And it fueled a political crisis among most American Jewish organizations and the White House, with the former accusing the latter of taking too long to denounce anti-Semitism and to comfort Jews traumatized by the bomb threats and at least two major cemetery desecrations." Kadar, 18 at the time of his arrest in April, "deserves" the dubious distinction for another reason: He personifies a Jewish question, perhaps the Jewish question of 2017, which is, "How do you define anti-Semitism?" Kadar's circumstances are of course peculiar to him, asking ifa series of hoaxes that terrified Jewish institutions stop being anti-Semitism because the caller is Jewish. The question I am talking about is both semantic and political, pitting left against right on at least two battlegrounds. The first is the college campus, and the sec- ond is the national political scene. On college campuses (and wherever the fight against the Boycott Israel movement is engaged), groups intent on fighting anti-Israel activity often insist that Israel's enemies are anti-Semitic, certainly in effect, and usually by intent. They point to slogans and imagery that draw on age-old stereotypes of Jewish control and collusion. They ask why of all the countries in the world--including those with gruesome human rights records--Israel is singled out for threats and boycotts. Examples of the blurring of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism abound. In September, the student government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison held a vote on an anti- Israel resolution--on Passover. A student legislator at McGill University tweeted "punch a Zionist today" and somehow survived im- peachment; an anti-Zionist student group at the same Montreal university admitted that it used anti-Semitic propaganda to prevent a Jewish--and presumably anti-BDS--can- didate from being re-elected to the student government. A lawsuit against San Francisco State University insists the school failed to protect Jewish students when it allowed pro- Palestinian protesters to disrupt a speech by Jerusalem's mayor. But there's a big gap among Jewish activ- ists when it comes to defining the challenge. Left-leaning groups--on campus and on the outside--worry that labeling even hostile political rhetoric as hate speech puts Jews on the wrong side of the free speech debate. They peace By Steve Leibowitz mands," Klein continued. "He will push for World Israel News an 'umbrella' of mediators, like the Middle East Quartet, including the US, Russia, the The Palestinians say "no" ties with the US, EU and the UN instead of the US as the sole "no" meetings with US peace emissaries, and mediator. They view the current situation a big "no" to Washington's recognition of as a total failure of the US peace process. Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. All of these They believe that Trump's administration is negatives have combined to turn President fraught with arrogance and is disconnected DonaldTrump'stwitterarsenalagainstthePA. from reality. Trump's tweets will not bring According to the US president, the Palestin- them to their knees." ians had no legitimate reason to be furious Dan Diker, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Center for Public Affairs, told WIN, "The US capital because Israelwould have had"to pay" contributes less than 10 percent of the PA's for his declarations with concessions in future budget, but this is the first time they have been negotiations, sent to the woodshed by its largest government The United States currently gives the Pales- sponsor. The US had already threatened to hold tinianAuthorityover$300millioninannualaid back payments due to the Palestinians' policy and is the largest overall supplier of financial of paying salaries of convicted terrorists in support for the Palestinians. The US wants a Israeli prisons. Trump will now punish the return on its money, Trump says Washington Palestinians forboycotting the US administra- was paying "for nothing," and the US received tion and the peace process." "no appreciation or respect" in return. Life for Palestinians 'worse since Osio There is apparently no going back for the Accords' Palestinians. PA President Mahmoud Abbas According to Diker, "In private meetings insists that the US relinquish its traditional andinpublicpronouncements (in Arabic), the roleasthemediatorofIsraeli-Palestinianpeace Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians have said talks and even recalled its envoy to the United they are sick and tired of Palestinian rejection Statesforconsultations, inprotestofUSactions, of the peace process and their boycott of the How will PA make up for lost aid? Americans. The PA is desperate for money and Prof. Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University they will plead for additional funding from a says the PA is totally dependent on external reluctant Europe and elsewhere. The Iranians funding, butwill survivewithoutAmerican aid. have their own problems, but they can increase Klein told World Israel News, "If the US holds donations to Hamas in Gaza, which may now back funds, it will definitely create a crisis, but receive less funding from the PA topaysalaries it will not bring on a collapse of the PA. They for its civil servants." will make up for the loss of funds by appealing "Because of developments we will see more to the Europeans, Qatar and Turkey. They can and more Palestinians reaching out to Israel find alternatives. Europe recently cut support for jobs and economic cooperation. They are due to domestic needs but they can redirect, sick and tired of their government. Life has "As far as returning to the peace process, gotten worse since the Oslo accords and there Abbas will definitely not cave in to US de- is a feeling of restiveness," Diker said. ]THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ] CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 46 Press Awards FLORIDA HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box300742 (407)834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX(407) 831-0507 Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore say that a tool that has only recently been ap- plied to anti-Semitic activity on campus--Title VI of the Civil Rights Act--takes too broad a brush in defining anti-Semitism and ends up blaming legitimate critics of Israel of creating an "unsafe" environment for Jewish students. Two of the most active groups in promoting the use of Title VI--the Zionist Organization of America and the Lawfare Project--are on the right. And they Argue that the tactics of the boycott Israel movement, especially when they include comparing Israel to Nazi Germany or denying Israel's right to exist, are contemporary examples of an age-old hatred. A shadowy group called the Canary Mission bypasses the legal arena by publishing a virtual, and ethically suspect, blacklist of faculty and students it deems are "affiliated with move- ments that seek the destruction of Israel, routinely engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, and promote hatred of Jews." On the political front, the anti-Semitic de- bate broke in almost exactly the opposite way: The left was quick to label President Donald Trump as a fomenter of anti-Semitism and some of his aides and minions as anti-Semites outright. The failure of the White House to name Jews in its formal statement on Inter- national Holocaust Remembrance Day--like Trump's tepid condemnation of the racist and anti-Semitic marchers at Charlottesville--was not just an inadvertent mistake, many on the left reasoned, but a dog-whistle to the nation- alist, and sometimes racist and anti-Semitic, right that supported Trump Similarly, the left insists former White House strategist Steve Bannon was no mere "economic nationalist" but a cynical dema- gogue who was willing to play on familiar anti-Semitic tropes to stir the Trump base. Right-wing groups, most notably the ZOA, were quick to defend Trump and Bannon. They would point to the strongly pro-Israel stance By Daniel Krygier Like all empires and despotic regimes, the Iranian Mullah regime has a shelf life that it desperately seeks to prolong. The renewed popu- lar protests in Iran against the regime and the deteriorating living conditions in the country could potentially bring profound positive change for Israel, the Middle East and the world. Alongside Turkey, Iran stands out as a Muslim non-Arab country in a Middle East region dominated by the Arab world. Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Israel and Iran enjoyed close economic and security relations. Iran was never a democracy but under the Shah, Iranian society embraced Western-style modernity and education. Despite nearly four decades of harsh Islamist rule, much of Iranian society remains com- mitted to modernity and peaceful relations with the West and the outside world. Unlike the more traditional Islamic Arab world, state- sponsored anti-Semitism appears to have failed to strike deeper roots among much of Iranian forward-looking society that secretly embraces the modern lifestyle and freedom of Israel and the rest of the Western world. The Iranian Ayatollah-led regime has for decades invested in expanding its predatory influence throughout the Middle East and beyond at the expense of its own people. While most Iranians live in poverty under an oppressive regime, Iran's Islamist leadership has invested heavily in establishing a Shiite empire stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. Unlike Iraq's former dictator, Saddam Hus- sein, Iran's regime has masked its aggression and imperialist ambitions by outsourcing its dirty work to its proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Assad in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. It should come as no surprise that Iranian students disproportionally led the fresh pro- tests against the regime. Many educated young Iranians are fed up with the Islamist oppressive rule, grinding poverty, corruption and the fact that their living conditions take a backseat to the regime's imperial aggression. Young Iranians are increasingly protesting against the regime'swaste of precious national resources in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza at the expense of the Iranian of Breitbart News with Bannon as its head and Trump's triumphant visit to the Western Wall at the beginning of his term. Bannon spoke at a ZOA fundraiser, and the organiza- tion issued numerous statements accusing the Anti-Defamation League of being too hard on the Trump administration and too soft on pro-Palestinian activists--especially the Palestinian-American feminist leader Linda Sarsour. (The ADL notes that it has called out anti-Semitism on the right and among pro- gressives alike.) Meanwhile, right-leaning Orthodox Jews felt their gamble on Trump paid off when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Right-left divides aren't new to Jewish communal politics, but applying them to the fight against anti-Semitism appears to be. Once upon a time, the Jews' antagonists were obvious: Louis Farrakhan, David Duke, Hamas, the U.N. General Assembly, neo-Nazis here and in Europe. They haven't gone away, but now the Jewish left accuses the Jewish right of downplaying the dangers of the "alt- right." The Jewish right says the real threat to Jews is not from pro-Trump internet trolls but from progressive campus groups, includ- ing Jews on the far left, who condemn Israel but really mean "the Jews." The left thinks it a vital Jewish mission to enter into social justice coalitions with other minorities, including Muslims; the right says Black Lives Matter lost all moral authority when it joined the pro-Palestinian cause. Or maybe it's not such a new phenomenon after all, because behind the debate are a fa- miliar series of issues that have tong divided the Jewish activist class: tikkun olam vs. "peoplehood'; universal justice vs. particular- ist priorities; a broad human rights agenda vs. a narrower focus on Israel. A polarized political climate only created the conditions for divides that were there all along. The 2009 protests versus today The situation in Iran today differs compared to 2009, when the regime ruthlessly crushed the Iranian opposition. Unlike Obama's meek response, President Donald Trump has expressed stmngAmerican support for the freedom-seeking protesters and condemned the Iranian regime. While the protests in 2009 were mainly about a rigged election and against a specific candidate, today's protests are against the Iranian Islamist regime as a whole. Obama's nuclear deal appeared to infuse the Iranian regime with a prolonged lease of life by filling the Islamists' coffers with billions of dollars. However, despite this and the removal of international sanctions, the living condi- tions have not improved for average Iranians. It appears that the Iranian regime has increasingly overstretched its resources by financing global terrorism and Islamist influ- ence at the expense of its own citizens. A question of time It is still unclear how the latest protests in Iran will unfold and whether the US will back its vocal support for the demonstrators with deeds. However, one thing is clear: it is merely a question of time before the Iranian Islamist regime collapses. When that happens, Israel and Iran can restore its pre-1979 relations. It will also mean a deathblow for Israel's mortal enemies, Hezbollah and Hamas, that depend on Iranian support. A pro-Western and pro-modern Iran could further join Israel and the Kurds as defenders of a peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Fi- nally, it would also significantly weaken global Islamist terrorism in the West and beyond. Daniel Krygier is a political analyst with World Israel News. Thank you From page 5A years to come. Our survival, and that of the State of Israel, depend on it. Most of all, we need to unequivocally and unabashedly say "Todah rabah" (Hebrew for "Thank you very much") to President Trump and to our evangelical Christian friends. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.