Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
January 31, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 5     (5 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 5     (5 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 31, 2014

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2021. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 31, 2014 PAGE 5A By Ben Cohen Here are three disturbing memes about Jews and Is- rael that I've noticed in three separate-but-related news stories recently. Meme No.l: "You're un- grateful." Here's State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf re- sponding to reported remarks by the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon attacking Sec- retary of State John Kerry. "We find the remarks of the de- fense minister to be offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States has done to support Israel's security needs and will con- tinue to do," said Harf. Now, one can certainly Three nasty memes about Jews and Israel argue that Ya'alon's descrip- tion of Kerry as "obsessive" and "messianic" was inju- dicious-after all, he's a government minister, not a newspaper columnist. Right- ly, Ya'alon apologized. But what's striking about Harf's response is that she doesn't defend Kerry's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which was what sparked Ya'alon's overly candid criticism. Instead, she effectively accuses the Israelis of biting the hand that feeds them, a theme beloved of the extremists on left and right who argue that Israel is an unconscionable drain upon the U.S. Treasury. As Israelis know well, the principal and most valued defender of Israel is not the United States, but the Israel Defense Forces. Additionally, the vital strategic relationship between Israel and the U.S. is much more balanced than Harf's comments suggest. The United States doesn't have to risk its troops by sta- tioning them on Israeli soil, in marked contrast to other Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, Israel enhances American security by, among other things, exporting more than $1 billion worth of mili- tary technology to the U.S. every year. Meme No. 2: "You're war- mongers." The Obama Administra- tion's trashing of anyone expressing doubts about the deal struck last November with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program contains, of course, an Israeli dimen- sion. Objecting to the new Iran sanctions bill co-authored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-N J) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), veteran California Senator Dianne Feinstein opined that the proposed legislation was bolstering a "march to war." And who is directing this hei- nous agenda? Feinstein once more: "We cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war." What Feinstein's statement insinuates is that Israel has, in the past, done just that. Those who supported the survival of Saddam Hussein's barbaric regime in Iraq consistently argued that Israeli pressure was a key reason why the U.S. went to war there in 2003; hence the need to prevent a repeat of that pattern more than a decade later in the case of Iran. In one stroke, all the complexity of the Iran situ- ation-the disquiet among Arab countries over Obama's Iran policy, the strengthening of Iran as a regional power with dire consequences for Syria and Lebanon; the sum- mary dismissal of successive U.N. Security Council resolu- tions demanding that Iran end its uranium enrichment activities-- simply disap- pears. All we are leftwith is the impression that the Israelis are pushing us into another unwanted war, aided by their dupes on Capitol Hill. Meme No.3: "You're Israel- firsters." I've lost count of the num- ber of times that I've encoun- tered, over the last few years, the slanderous notion that pro-Israel American Jews (the vast majority) are more loyal to Israel than to the U.S. So frequently has this accusation been voiced that it has added a new term--"Israel-firster"-- to the political lexicon. So do we come to the recent New York Times op-ed by for- mer FBI official M.E. Bowman urging that Jonathan Pollard, who has spent almost 30 years in an American jail after being convicted of spying for Israel, remain incarcerated. Much of the evidence that Bowman cited against Pollard is, atbest, tenuous. Nor did he explain why Pollard should not be Cohen on page 15A Illegitimacy clouds John Kerry's Mideast et00i)rt By Eric Rozenman Illegitimacy hangs like smog over Secretary of State John Kerry's obsessive-com- pulsive Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Even assuming he succeeds in brokering a one- legged peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority administering the West Bank, it will not: Affect the Gaza Strip, where half the Palestinian Ar- abs in the disputed territories live. Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood deriva- tive that violently ousted the Fatah-led P.A. Its charter is genocidal regarding not only Israel but also Jews in general. Legally bind successors of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, whose term expired in 2009. That of the virtually de- funct Palestinian Legislative Council also ended. Abbas, 78 and lacking an obvious suc- cessor, exercises unfounded authority through decree. A subsequent president or council may discount any agreement of his. In any case, Abbas Zaki, a Fatah central committee member and close associate of President Abbas, reiterated to Syrian TVon Jan. 6 that a West Bank and Gaza Strip state would conform to the 1974 Palestinian plan for the destruction of Israel in stages. Reinforce the current P.A.'s grip on the West Bank. Absent Israeli anti-Hamas operations in the territories, Abbas and his followers might well be driven from Ramallah as they were from Gaza City. The peace Kerry appears to be pursuing may well be de facto, not de jure, and then only so long as it's imposed on the Palestinian popula- tion. Imposed by whom? The United States, withdrawn or withdrawing without peace from Iraq and Afghanistan; the United Nations, unable to arrange a cease-fire in Syria; or the European Union, home to cities pocked by "no-go" areas dominated by Islamic extremists yet determined to re-ghettoize with sanc- tions the Jews of Judea and Samaria? Kerry, President Obama and others have fixated on the alleged "illegitimacy" of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. But it's the il- legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and the erroneous insistence--perpetuated by major news media, including the Washington Post--that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are "illegal under international law" that under- mines U.S. diplomacy. The Post, in the most recent of several such examples, reported in its Jan. 11 print edition ("Israel confirms new settlement plans; An- nouncement came after Kerry wrapped up latest peace-talks visit"): "Most independent legal experts consider the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, taken after the 1967 war, to be il- legal under international law, although Israel disputes this." The newspaper also reported "State Department spokes- woman Jen Psaki reiterated that view Friday, saying that U.S. officials 'consider now and have always considered the settlements to be illegiti- mate.'" In fact, as many have pointed out, Jewish settle- ments (not only in what became Israel inside the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice boundary or Green Line but also the West Bank) are encouraged under interna- Ohio U. Hillel director: The (Hillel) kids are alright By Danielle Leshaw come together for larger students after the death of a group experiences, but most of the time, everybody is in his or her own sandbox. And when the students want to challenge those boundar- ies-well, that's when the rabbis and directors thatyou've hired to guide them earn their pay, in thoughtful conversa- tions and meaningful dialogue about what's best for Israel. In fact, many of us out in the "field" are doing really well negotiating these issues, campus by campus. Our budgets are healthy, and our students even healthier. The Sabbath happens, alongside all sorts of amazing things like life-saving bone marrow drives and Torah study andAi- ternative Break excursions to communities in need. Taglit- Birthright trips are returning with students now enamored of Israel. We march on with the planning of spring semester events and the task of figuring out how to engage the 400,000 American Jewish students on our college campuses. But you wouldn't know it based on all the media. So how dowe tell the other stories? The success stories? The storie.s where we convince assimilated Jewish students to fall in love with being Jewish? The stories where we counsel sibling? The stories where we have a victory with adminis- trators who are finally going to let our students light Sab- bath candles in their residence halls? These are the small stories--the small miracles, where every student matters, and joining them on their journey is the greatest gift we can give and receive. That being said, it's impos- sible to ignore the ripples of what happened at Swarth- more. The national policies of our movement clearly, at this point, need to be considered a work-in-progress rather than a fixed set of guidelines. Our students are back on campus and eager to explore this con- troversy. Many of us are ready to host conversations about Israel that otherwise wouldn't happen. We've printed out Hillel's Israel guidelines, and for the first time, we're asking students what they think. Ifa national policy is going to affect each and every local Hillel, no matter how large or small, then we all bear responsibility for reckoning with its implications. And one of those responsibilities is to find a way, within this evolving discussion, to make sure that the culture of each campus is honored and that The Jewish world seems worried about Hillel. "Are you okay?" people keep asking me. Our phones at Ohio Uni- versity Hillel are ringing with those calling to hear the "real" story, or to leave long-winded diatribes on our voicemail. Reporters ask if we'll answer a few questions (no thanks). Hillel has been in The New York Times, The New Republic and every Jewish news outlet on the planet: Everybody wants to know how we feel about Swarthmore's Hillel chapter deciding to open itself up to anti-Zionists, against the policy of national Hillel. Well, I'm here to let every- body know: We're all just fine. Based on the media coverage, some might think that anti- Zionists are banging down our doors to co-sponsor events and pay for their speakers to visit campus. As if all the Jewish students all across the country were eager to have people come to Hillel to denounce the legitimacy of the State of Israel. It doesn't actually work that way. In fact, most campuses have natural boundaries where students find groups based on their interests and identities. Occasionally they the students have a say in what is, ultimately, a student- centered space. Turning challenging mo- ments like this into unique opportunities for growth and change is what good field staffers do best. And we'll see what our students and board members have to say, based on this little bit of Oral Torah that the Swarthmore students drafted. They did, after all, create a remarkable document that reflects their generation's deep yearning not only to open the conver- sation, but also to affect the ways in which the American Jewish community thinks and acts regarding Israel. We have to admire that. And even if their message is frightening, we must take their words and consider whether they should be part of the larger canon that we study and teach. We can and will get this right, but you have to re- member: We want what is best for our students, and we want what is best for Israel. Aligning those two ideas and the heart felt emotions that go with them isn't always easy, so do us a favor and cut us some slack while we work it out. Danielle Leshaw is execu- tive director of Ohio Univer- sity Hillel. tional law. The League of Nations Palestine Mandate, Article 6 calls for "close Jewish settlement on the land." The mandate, including Article 6, is upheld by the U.N. Charter, Chapter 12, Article 80. Other relevant instru- ments, including the 1920 San Remo Treaty and 1924 Anglo- American Conven- tion, anticipated dense Jew- ish resettlement in British Mandatory Palestine, at least that portion west of the Jordan River. U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) did not require the territories taken in 1967 to be free of Jews. Last year a French appeals court rejected a suit that claimed Israel's light rail line in eastern Jerusalem violated international law. Also in 2013, nearly 1,000 interna- tional jurists combined to reassert the legality of post- '67 Jewish communities in the disputed territories. Not that either news was much reported. These facts have been pro- vided repeatedly by CAMERA and other organizations and individuals to the State De- partment, the Post and other agencies and media. They know, for example, thh-t con- trary to spokeswoman Psaki, U.S. officials have not always considered the settlements to be illegitimate. President Rea- gan reversed the Carter-era claim, not reasserted by any administration until Obama's. Before Reagan, President Johnson made clear he did not expect Israel to return to the pre-'67 lines. No one questions the legiti- macy of Arab towns in Israel or the growth of West Bank Palestinian population cen- ters prior to a final agreement. But when chief negotiator Saeb Erekat renewed threats to seek "statehood" recogni- tion from the U.N. General As- sembly if Israel doesn't grant P.A. demands--a maneuver that actually is illegitimate, violating Oslo commitments to resolve outstanding issues through negotiations--few questioned that either. False claims of illegitimacy and tolerance of the real thing indicate a double standard. And double standards suggest bias, conscious or not. Eric Rozeman is Washing- ton director of CAMERA, the Boston-based 65,000-mem- ber Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. CAMERA is a news media watchdog; it takes no position on negotiated Arab-Israeli agreements. Any opinions expressed above are solely those of the writer. Dry Bones "rills IS