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March 21, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA, JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 21, 2014 By Ben Cohen When this happened almost a century ago, and Golden Dawn in Greece. It also should be the Palestinian people and denies them fun- during the horrendous civilwar that followed mentioned that anti-Semitic rabble rousing damental human rights." the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, pogroms has come from the pro-Moscow far left, too, This is insane stuff, not least because neo- Back in 2004, Russian President Vladimir wracked Ukraine; now, while there have like the Progressive Socialist Party that ac- conservatives aren't actually running U.S. Putin accused his regional rival Viktor Yush- been anti-Semitic incidents and speeches cused Jews of being behind the protests on foreign policy at the moment. Yet we need to chenko, who was then the pro-western presi- reported in Ukraine, there is certainly no Kiev'sMaidan.ButUkraine'sbidtofreeitself pay attention, because, as a cursory search of dent of Ukraine, of having campaigned on the state policy of anti-Semitism on either side, from Russian domination has not been driven the Internet will show, there are many people basis of"anti-Russian, Zionist"slogans. Putin's much less an event that could deservedly be by anti-Semitic ideology, as many Ukrainian out there who subscribe to this nonsense. And invocation of the Z word led some observers called a pogrom. Jewish leaders have themselves pointed out. when we do pay attention, we realize that the to briefly fear that Russia was reviving the At the same time, western intellectuals and "I categorically refute the statements appear- dots being connected here are reminiscent of a spirit of Soviet anti-Semitism dressed up as activists who instinctively scorn the charge of ing in,a number of foreign media outlets of Jackson Pollock painting: the Jewish state and "anti-Zionism." But a few hours later, Putin's anti-Semitismwhenitcropsupinthecontexts facts of massive anti-Semitism and xeno- itsalliesinAmericaarebackingananti-Semitic office clarified thatwhat he'd meant to saywas of Zionism and Israel are actually arguing that phobia in Ukraine that do not correspond regime in Ukraine in order to continue the per- "anti-Semitic," not "Zionist." we should take Putin's claims seriously! For to reality!" declared Vadim Rabinovich of secutionofthe Palestinians. Like I said, insane. Was Putin's office lying with this clarifica- example, there's Professor Stephen Cohen the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress. "The I would therefore advise American Jews to tion? Was the remark a Freudian slip? We will of New York University, a leading nostalgist whipping up of the situation around this play close heed to any anti-Semitic episodes never know for sure. Two factors, though, do for the Soviet era, who compared Ukrainian issue is of a provocative nature and does in Ukraine. (Apart from anything, Ukraine is stand out. Firstly, there isn't much in Putin's nationalists to the Nazis in an interview with not contribute to a calm life for the Jewish one of the few governments in the world over record that marks him out as an anti-Semite, CNN. And then there's Michael Lerner, whose community of Ukraine." which the U.S. still retains some leverage, so and many Russian Jews speak positively of Tikkun magazine and its associated"spiritual Why, then, the eagerness with which pro- our efforts won't go to waste.) At the same him, some because they feel obliged to do progressives network" are the closest thing MoscowcirclesinAmericahaveembracedPu- time, let'srecognizePutin'sinvasionofCrimea so, others because they genuinely believe in we Jews have to a cult, waxing lyrically about tin's cynical manipulation of anti-Semitism? and his threat to the rest of Ukraine for what it what they are saying. Secondly, Putin is quite his favorite bete noire: "The neocons seem all I don't think there's a one size fits all answer is--naked aggression inviolationofthe United happy to depict his enemies as anti-Semites too willing to ignore the fascistic and proto- to this curious question, but Michael Lerner Nations Charter that, ultimately, posesathreat if it tactically suits him to do so, which is es- Nazi elements in the coalition that last week helpfully provides an insight. The "neocons," to all of us, whether Jewish or not. sentially what he's been doing in Ukraine this overthrew the democratically elected and he says, are playing down anti-Semitism in Ben Cohen is the Shillman analyst for JNS. past fortnight, pro-Russian government." Ukraine because their "primary goal is to org. His writings on Jewish affairs andMiddle Step back for a second, and you can see the No one would deny that Ukraine, in protect Israel and destroy all of its potential Eastern politics have been published in Com- rich historical irony at work here. One Euro- common with nearly every other European enemies--a list that grows longer and longer mentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish pean nation with a long and bloody history country including Russia, has too many anti- as long as Israel retains its dominance over Ideas Daily and many other publications. of anti-Semitism has engaged in aggression Semites. Its far-right parties like Svoboda against another European nation, also with and Pravyi Sektor mirror similar movements a long and bloody history of anti-Semitism, elsewhere in Europe, like Jobbik in Hungary Al America: Twisting Israel news, targeting opinion makers By Myron Kaplan and Eric Rozenman America suggested Fox acted because the ad featuring actress Scarlett Johansson promoted an Israeli company (which happens to employ AI Jazeera America, the satellite and cable many Arabs) that allegedly operated illegally television news network owned and operated in the West Bank, where, supposedly, Pales- by the wealthy sheikdom of oil and gas-rich tinian Arabs are victimized by Israel. Never Qatar, can't seem to present its Ara~b-Israeli mentioned by Al Jazeera America was the fact news straight. This should come as~ no sur- that the SodaStream ad was actually (tempo- prise. The Qatari ruling family stnpported rarily) rejected because it dismissed in a jibe the Muslim Brotherhood-ted government of two Fox advertising clients ("Sorry, Coke and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Pepsi"). In fact, the Super Bowl ad ran Feb. 2 and the Brotherhood's Palestinian spin-off during a commercial break at 9:35 p.m., with Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and the offending phrase omitted. the Jewish people. A1 Jazeera America's Jan. 13 reporting on Profit isn't of much interest to AI Jazeera the recently deceased Ariel Sharon, former America. "That is the difference thatwill allow prime minister of Israel, included a problem- us to maintain our journalistic identity," the atic interview by host Stephanie Sy of Adel network'sPalestinian-AmericaninterimCEO, Darwish, former Middle East editor of the Ehab AI Shihabi, told the Wall Street Journal. London-based Daily Telegraph. Sy was either Translation: Unlike its commerciai competi- unconcerned or unaware that key Darwish tors (such as ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, points were misleading, if not mendacious. andNBC),thenetworkdoesn'tcarethatmuch Darwish: " was a big mistake he [Sha- about general viewer ratings. Rather, it aims ron] made in Beirut in 1982 when he let the to influence opinion makers like teachers, Phalange [Christian Lebanesemilitia] into the broadcasters, and editorial writers. Palestinian camps and that ended his career AI Jazeera America's broadcasts are able then because the judiciary commission found to attract opinion makers due to technically him responsible for the death of hundreds .... skillful, extensive, and seemingly incisive pre- He actually confirmed that the Six-Day War sentations on a wide range of domestic and in 1967 was about water because the Syrians foreign matters. Coverage of the Arab-Israeli wanted to divert water away from the Sea of conflict features superficially interesting but Galilee which would be putting a lot of pres- substantivelybiasedsegmentsthatassailIsraei sure on Israel..." while omitting mention of Palestinian Arab First, Sharon neither ordered nor knew terrorism or Muslim persecution of Christians beforehand of a planned Phalangist attack. in the West Bank and Gaza. A long-term effect An Israeli commission of inquiry found that of such coverage might be to undermine the Sharon bore "indirect responsibility" for the current strong U.S. public support of Israel Sept. 16-18,1982 killings of hundreds of Pales- over the Palestinian Arabs. tinian Arabs committed not by Israelis, but by Examples of such coverage are plentiful. Phalangists. The militia took revenge for pre- This winter AI Jazeera America strongly, but vious massacres of Christian Arabs by Yasser erroneously, implied that a 2014 Super Bowl Arafat'sPalestine Liberation Organization, and advertisement for an Israeli product, SodaS- tream, was rejected by Fox TV. A1 JazeeraAIJazeera on page 15A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ~ ~ CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ~ ~ Cz ISSN 0199-0721 W'mner of 43 Press Awards 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. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.corn Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Society Editor Booldceeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carrno Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Jerry Silverman and Steve Gutow NEWYORK (JTA)---Leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement say they are protesting Israel's policies in the West Bank. They are doing far more than that. BDS advocates routinely oppose a two-state solution and seek to delegitimize the sovereign, Jewish State of Israel. In some cases, BDS becomes the latest form of anti-Semitism. The BDS movement aims to isolate and pun- ish Israel, using the same techniques applied to apartheid South Africa. Not hesitating to mis- represent facts and ignore context, these Israel bashers take advantage of ignorance and nafvet~ within civil society circles; mostly in Western Europe, to advance their anti-Israel agenda. BDS advocates view the situation in the West Bank through a one-way lens, seeing only a single perspective. They cite, for example, the security checkpoints that make life difficult for Palestinians but conveniently overlook the reasons for those checkpoints. They ignore the fact that hurting Israel's economy would also hurt Palestinians who earn their livelihoods from Israeli-owned businesses. BDS backers don't bother to protest the many countries that have horrific human rights records, instead singling out theworld's only Jewish state, often based on false or mis- represented information. A tipping point for the Jewish community's response to BDS came in 2009 when a number of anti-Israel groups called for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival because one of its themes was Tel Aviv's 100th anni- versary. The Toronto and Los Angeles Jewish federations joined forces and, with the involve- ment of major figures in the entertainment industry, fashioned an effective response. With calls for BDS escalating in the mainline Protestant churches, on college campuses and elsewhere, Jewish community leaders realize that the situation calls for more than an ad hoc approach: Local communities need a strategic approach with national support and coordination. In 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America, representing more than 150 local federations, allocated significant resources so that the Israel Action Network could serve this purpose. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs--with its 16 national member orga- nizations, including all four of the religious movements, and 125 Jewish community rela- tions councils, which work with non-Jewish coalition partners on a range of international and domestic concerns--was the JFNA's obvi- ous partner. One principle that guides this work is that we should understand our audiences. And when we speak with others, we should do so with a respect for the sensitivities of that con- stituency so that our important messages are authentically heard. Whether on a campus, in a church or speaking with an LGBT group, we should always be clear that we stand as part- ners, sharing the goal of a future with peace and security--not one of conflict and BDS. Experience and research demonstrate that what works best with these audiences-- mostly made up of political and religious progressives--is not an all-good-vs.-all-bad characterization of Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, a more nuanced narrative is the one that is likely to defeat the one-sided and hostile stance of those seeking to delegitimize Israel. This means honestly conveying the situs ation's complexity, expressing empathy for suffering on both sides (without implying moral equivalency) and offering a constructive pathway to helping the parties move toward peace and reconciliation based on two states for two peoples. Whether we are dealing with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions adopted by the American Studies Association or an attempt to remove Israeli products from a Brooklyn food co-op, the most effective opponents of these initiatives are the people who travel in those circles. While we in the organized Jewish commu- nity should not remain silent in the face of Israel's delegitimization, we ~hould strongly support and~ accentuate the efforts of these third-party validators who share our values and viewpoints. The 247 (and counting) universi- ties and colleges that have denounced academic ,boycotts generally--and academic boycotts of Israel specifically--are just such validators. It is not enough to only expose the true goals of the boycotters and their allies. Israel's supporters must also go on the offensive and drain the swamps of ignorance that allow the poisonous ideas of the Jewish state's opponents to incubate. Thus, we are taking the initiative to inoculate vulnerable politically progressive sectors, presenting a more factual perspective on Israel and taking prominent leaders to the region to see the real situation firsthand. The Israel Action Network, of course, does not work alone in this arena. On a daily basis, numerous organizations stand up for Israel. Through the IAN, JFNA and JCPA are work- ing together to convene around a common strategic planning table not only our affiliates but also a range of other North American, Israeli and European groups in order to share best practice~ and coordinate our collective resources in confronting this global danger. There is no imminent threat to the criti- cal and broad North American support for Israel. But American support for Israel is not something to be taken for granted in light of the organized campaign we now face. While should not be panicked, we cannot be com- placent either. We pledge to continue to work hard to prevent any erosion of that support. Rabbi Steve Gutow is president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Jerry Silverman is president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America.