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April 20, 2018

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 20, 2018 By Ben Cohen story are deeper lessons about the relation- ship between Jews and the left that warrant (JNS)--There is a tragic account of the last closer attention--irrespective of whether you moments ofGrigori Zinoviev, the veteran Rus- are someone convinced that the left can be sian Bolshevik leader of Jewish descent who rescued from its present, destructive obses- was executed by Stalin in 1936. According to sion with a caricature of Zionism, or whether the historian Donald Rayfield, on the journey you believe that this same caricature is hard- from his prison cell to the execution cellar, wired into the left's worldview. the broken Zinoviev "clung to the boots of At the heart of the spectacle in Stalin's his guards and was taken down by stretcher." dacha was contempt--not just for Zinoviev "This scene," Rayfield continues in his as a supposed "traitor," but also as the em- book on Stalin's crimes, "was re-enacted bodiment of the feeble, ingratiating Jew who several times at supper at Stalin's dacha, the will say or do anything to preserve himself. bodyguard Karl Pauker playing the part of This anti-Semitic stereotype long predated Zinoviev--begging for Stalin to be fetched the period of Communist rule, of course, and then crying out, 'Hear, O Israel'--until but its persistence was entirely in keeping even Stalin found the charade distasteful." with a revolutionary program that regarded The image of a Jew desperately mumbling any expression of Jewish identity--whether the Shema as he prepares to meet his execu- religious, secular, cultural or national--as tioner certainly inspires pity, even a Jew like "counter-revolutionary." Zinoviev, who spent his entire career building That is essentially why the Jewish encoun- a totalitarian state apparatus that crushed ter with socialism in most of its forms has the Soviet Jewish community while at the beenadisaster.InRussiaandEasternEurope same time proclaiming anti-Semitism to be more widely, this was true under Lenin, when the enemy of the workers, a special Jewish section of the Communist But more than any of this, embedded in this Party was created for the express purpose of By Stephen M. Flatow When elections are held, the candidates and the voters are all Palestinians. Pretty much the (JNS)--Radical Jewish students at Harvard only thing that the PalestinianAuthority can't University are planning to hold a late "Libera- do is import tanks, planes, Iranian"volunteers" tion Seder" to"protest the continuing occupa- or North Korean missiles. tion by Israel." The only time Israeli troops enter Palestin- On Thursday, April 5, six days after all other ian areas is when they are chasing terrorists. Jews around the world held their Passover Going into some Palestinian town for an hour seders, the Progressive JewishAlliance heldits or two to catch a bomb-thrower or a sniper event to protest "our community's support for hardly constitutes an "occupation" of the the occupation" and to ask"Are you for endless Palestinians. occupation, or for freedom and dignity for all?" The current situation in the territories is not I have a question for these students: Have a perfect solution to the Arab-lsraeli conflict. you ever taken a course in the history of But we live in an imperfect wor|d. modern Israel? Thanks to Rabin, today's status quo en- Either the answer is "no," or they took it sures Israel's Jewish majority, retains Israel's and flunked. Because anyone who is familiar defensible borders and guarantees all faiths with even the most cursory facts about the free access to their religious sites. It also Mideast knows that Israel's occupation of the allows nearly all of the Palestinians to live Palestinians ended 23 years ago. under their own government. The Israeli Here's a very brief history lesson for the military is not patrolling the Palestinians' Harvard students, cities. Palestinian Arabs live in an entity that When Yitzhak Rabin was elected prime is close to statehood in every respect, except minister in 1992, he faced a dilemma. On the the few aspects that would most endanger one hand, he recognized that establishing Israel's existence. a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria-Gaza Dear Harvard students: I admire your ideal- would pose a grave threat to Israel's existence, ism. Too many students get so caught up in Israel would be just nine miles wide in its the pursuit of personal professional success middle, living next to a state run by terrorists that they forget what's happening in the and fascist dictators, world around them. I'm glad you care about On the other hand, Rabin didn't want Israel something bigger than yourselves. to continue ruling over the Palestinian Arabs And I respect your creativity. You're not who reside in those territories. So he and his satisfied with the dry, uninspired repetition aides devised the Oslo Accords, which ended of Jewish rituals and ceremonies. Judaism is Israel's occupation of the Palestinians and indeed relevant in today's world. The themes gave them something close to statehood, but of the Passover seder do have something to without endangering Israel. say to us. You are right to look deeper into In 1995, Rabinwithdrew Israel's forces from its meaning. the cities in Judea-Samaria, where 98 percent But I'm sorry to say that in this case, you've of the Palestinians reside. Ariel Sharon later got it all wrong. You made assumptions about withdrew from all of Gaza. The Israeli occupa- the "occupation" without actually reading up tion of the Palestinians came to an end. The on its history, and learning how the situation only"occupation"ofthe Palestinians currently has developed and changed. in force is the 23-year occupation by the Pal- There! Ijustsavedyourparents severalthou- estinianAuthority and the occupation of Gaza sand dollars in tuition for the spring semester. by Hamas, whichis nowenteringits llthyear. Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the The Palestinians' schools are run by Pal- Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney estinian principals and teachers. The courts in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, have Palestinianjudges. The streets arepoliced who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored by the Palestinian police and security forces. Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 46 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: 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 /~arci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Mel Pearlman David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore shutting down separate Jewish institutions; and it was true under Stalin and his suc- cessors, whose discriminatory campaigns in the name of "anti-Zionism" terrorized Jews--whether or not they were members of the Communist Party--across Russia, as well as in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland and other Warsaw Pact countries. In the West, while many centrist social democrats have been among the greatest friends of Israel and the Jewish people, the remainder of the left largely incorporated ideological hostilities reminiscent of the Soviet regime. When the "New Left" emerged in the 1960s, its libertarian suspicions of the repressive Soviet society didn't prevent the adoption of a demonized view of Zionism straight out of the Soviet playbook; some of the movement's graduates (in Germany, ironically) were even recruited by Palestin- ian terrorist groups to organize attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets. Meanwhile, in this century, the moderate centrist left, with some honorable exceptions, has been at best passive in the face of a virulent, Soviet-style campaign against "Zionism" that has involved boycotts, harassment and occasional violence not against the Israeli military or government, but directed at ordinary Jews in Western Europe, South Africa and North America. This recent past matters because the pres- ent figureheads of the left are either in denial about it or, in some cases, actually complicit in it. In the United States, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has spoken out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, but he has never questioned whether a political movement whose core goal is to return Jews to the situation they faced in 1945 should be considered "progressive" in the first place. In France, the leader of the populist left, Jean- Luc Melenchon, is an enthusiastic advocate of boycotting Israel, declaring last week that the French Jewish leadership is composed of unpatriotic "communalists." In Britain, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on one day offers an assurance that anti-Semitism has no place in a party that has recorded more than 300 internal anti-Semitic incidents since 2015; the next, he attends a Passover Seder organized by a radical Jewish group that proudly excludes any Jews with basic sympathies for Israel (i.e most of them) from its events. At that same seder, a modified "Haggadah" invited guests to pause and "consider how s**t the State of Israel is." Such puerile obsceni- ties are, sadly, the price of being accepted as a Jew on the far left. But as relevant history demonstrates, that's not an aberration of our own time, but entirely consistent with the established patterns of the past. As comforting as it may be for many Jews to observe the rhetorical and thematic overlaps between biblical prophets and modern-day socialists, the bald truth is that the revolu- tionaries themselves never saw it that way. Nor, it would seem, do their inheritors. Ben Cohen writes a weekly column for JNS on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics. His writings have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. Progressive Jews playing a dangerous game By Mel Pearlman Despite the incredible contributions the Jewish people have made to civilization throughout history, envy and irrational hatred continue to plague them. It is one of the ironies of history that we have never had the luxury to not be concerned with our security, even in the lands in which we are relatively safe, and in which we enjoy full citizenship. We are living in a very complex time of po- litical polarization and intersection of issues in which we try to support groups who have faced discrimination and injustice, but who in turn spurn their Jewish supporters with their anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist views. The American Jewish community, who marched with Martin Luther King and sup- ported the civil rights movement of the 1960's, who have consistently supported woman's rights, gay rights, gender equality civil mar- riage, and a host of civil rights causes are now supporting Black Lives Matter. Unfortu- nately, this movement has incorporated into its platform condemnation of Israel and Jews as oppressors of a people who have made ter- rorism their mantra and the destruction of the Jewish state their goal. A large segment of the American Jewish Community who call themselves "progres- sives" are also supporting an otherwise legitimate woman's movement led in part by Muslim women who support terrorism, not only against Jews, but also against their own moderate co-religionists. These bigoted feminist leaders and activists claim that Jew- ish women cannot be feminists and Zionists at the same time. The progressive Jewish reaction to these blatant examples of anti-Semitism has been timid at best. Instead of vigorously condemning these perpetrators of hate and prejudice and challenging their leadership, they focus their attention on condemning extreme right wing anti-Semites and white supremists. While the Neo-nazis and haters on the right do in fact pose a danger to the Jewish commu- nity, the anti-Semites and anti-Zionists on the left are no less threatening to the Jewish com- munity. The intruder who enters through the back door is just as menacing as the intruder who enters through the front door. American support for Israel is very much dependent on the Jewish community's strong support for Israel. The tepid, and in some cases non-support, of the American declara- tion to recognize Jerusalem as the legal and eternal capital of Israel is another example where progressive Jews have dropped the bail. There are valid reasons for hating the Trump Administration, but it does not follow that every decision of this administration is a bad one. I am reminded that even a fool occasionally makes a wise decision. The rabbinical leader of Reform Jewry myo- pically encourages his members to withdraw financial and other support from Israel because of the Israeli government's practical policy decision to postpone the promised implemen- tation of the plan for egalitarian access to the Western Wall. By doing so, he either did not understand or ignored the negative impact this would have in undermining general American support for the Jewish State. Ultimately, Israel will adopt egalitarian access to the Western Wall. The Cabinet's decision to maintain a stable government was not based on religious ideology, but on the current critical security situation facing the nation from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Jews in America have the ability and moral responsibility to fight anti-Semitism and anti- Zionism wherever and whenever it occurs; they do not have the luxury to ignore it whether from the right or the left. There are political and social developments on the left and right in our country that present a gathering storm which could change the climate for all Jews and others in America. Progressive Jews are playing a dangerous game by ignoring the gathering winds of anti-Semitism and anti- Zionism blowing from the left; and they do so at their own peril and that of the entire Jewish community. If you wish to comment or respond to any of the contents herein you can reach me at Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner. If you wish to respond by ranting and raving, please go into your bathroom, lock the door and shout your brains out. Mel Pearlman has been practicing law in Central Florida for the past 45 years. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; on the District VIIMental Health Board, as Special Prosecutor for the City of Winter Park, Florida; and on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Research and Development Authority. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors and served as the first Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as its first pro-bono legal counsel.