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May 18, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 18, 2012
 

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PAGE 4A By Andrew Silow-Carroll New Jersey Jewish News A dumb mistake by the White House raises a question with as many answers as there are Jews: What makes a Jewish hero, anyway? In a Jewish Heritage Month procla- mation, someone in the administration thought it would be a good idea to men- tion Aaron Copland, Albert Einstein, Louis Brandeis--and Gertrude Stein? Bad tim- ing: Thanks to a major exhibit of her famed art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a number of prominent Jews--Alan Dershowitz among them--pointed out her very, very sketchy reputation as a Vichy sympathizer during the Nazi occupation of France. Hardly a proud Jew to begin with, HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 18, 2012 l Family values Stein suggested in 1934 that Hitler should persecuted because of their background, receive the Nobel Prize, became a fan of Vichy's collaborationist leader Marshall Petain, and rode out the occupation thanks to her friend and protector, the Collaborator and Nazi agent Bernard Fay. Like the White House, the Met heeded the corn has agreed to add signage at referring to this noisome hist, You can well wonder, howe figure as assimilated and der Stein was doing on a list of models in the first place. Part own fault: We often raise ol Jews whose own sense of Jewi is meager, so long as they ref] us. You can also blame the Naz: anti,Semites: Who are we to of the community people plaints and the exhibit )ry. er, what a tcinated as rewish role ly it is our t pedestals sh identity ect well on s and other count out would be however attenuated? Compare Stein to Irene Nemirovsky, another Parisian intel- lectual who cast off her Jewish identity but who would nonetheless be killed in Auschwitz. Should we claim her as a Jew- ish novelist? Dare we not? Jewish identity and self-expression are elastic to begin with, so it has always done us good to pitch a big tent. But how big? Copland is better known for his lush prairie anthems than anything he did or said Jewishly. But his very presence on the classical stage brought credit to his people. I would say that so long as you don't actually renounce or deny your own Jewish identity, you have a place in the Jewish conversation. Which doesn't mean it is an important place. I think the real Jewish heroes aren't just good for the Jews, but there for the Jews. It's not about belief or practice or affiliation but rather about a sense of family. People- hood means you consider yourself part of the family, and feel a sense of obligation and love for its members in good times and bad. It means you may drift away at times, but you stay in touch--and when you do come back, the family welcomes you home. Andrew Silow-CarroU is editor-in-chief of the New Jersey Jewish News. Between columns you can read his writing at the JustASC blog. Moderate middle must heard on Israel debate By Peter A. Joseph NEWYORK (JTA)--The intellectual food fight over Israel that has played out over the Op-Ed pages of virtually all Jewish and many mainstream newspapers in recent weeks may have settled d6wn, but the passion of the discussion has made one thing very clear: The boundaries dividing American Jewish opinion on Israel, and its policies regarding Palestinians. have become as contentious as the borders between Israel ad the West Bank. In the American Jewish dialogue on Israel. extreme polarization reigns. With the most dominant voices coming from the far left and right, the discussion has become alienating in its endless and more importantly, ineffective--moralizing by both camps. The vast majority of American Jews is deeply concerned about Israel's security and recognizes the need for a two- state solution that would ensure it. But in a world divided between the antagonistic right and left. centrists are being shut out of the conversation. What is the Way forward for American Jews whowant to be effective advocates for Israel but not apologists for its continued presence in the West Bank? In truth. American Jewish advocacy, like Israel's political realities, is com- ple x and cannot be addressed effectively through sound bites. But that is exactly what voices on the fringes have offered as thefr effortshave been directed at rallying political bases rather than advancing rea- soned policy concepts. Instead of staking out principled, nuanced positions that reflect an understanding of competing narratives, both sides have adopted an oversimplified rhetoric that feeds fierce debate in the American Jewish community and shrinks political space for pragmatic policy. Ironically. while the American Jewish left is more vocal than ever. it also has become more irrelevant. While correctly promoting the idea that there is not only one way to be pro-Israel, the left has joined with the right to fuel a with-us-or-against-us paradigm that has resulted in the highly charged debate. The left's vocal and consistent condemnation of the Israeli government, as well as its lack of sensitivity to Israeli public opinion, has significantly under- mined its pro-Israel claims. Consequently, it has never been more politically expedient for politicians and communit disassociate from liberal Zion The American Jewish right s blame. It has sought to capit left's failings, seeking to turn partisan tool that can be wiel President Obama and undermir san consensus support for the J Faced with a choice, many or! community leaders and polit! naturally align themselves wit lest they risk alienation fron zone of support for Israel. Ott engaging from Israel advocac' to avoid the seemingly endless' often resemble a dog chasing i The net result is a ridiculo fective way for the pro-Israel to proceed if it wants to lobb for ensuring Israel's future. "l the discussion has taken Ame further away from being able t two-state solution and a secure cessful pro-Israel advocacy to mobilizing the majority and n from the extremes. This mea the left-wing notion that pe achieved only by pressuring state to capitulate to Arab de the right-wing notion that Isra be questioned. Successful pro-Israel, pr advocacy requires engaging American Jewish community cratically elected government the Israeli public. It also requi all efforts to undercut bipartisa Israel based on the with-us-o mentality. To be sure. America] need to support everything th: government says or does to b But just as knee-jerk support the Israeli government does so too is knee-jerk condemna se.ade rs to hares equal lize on the israel into a 4ed against tingbiparti- ewish state. :anizations, cians quite h the right, ca comfort ers are dis- , altogether tebates that ts own tail. is and inef- community effectively he tenor of rican Jewry ) lobby for a Israel. Suc- lay requires roving away is,rejecting ace will be the Jewish rounds, and must never -two-state he broader the demo- f Israel and 'es rejecting 1 support for r-against-us Jews do not Lt the Israeli pro-Israel. or /nything unhelpful. ion. The past few weeks of mudslinging have highlighted how alienating and polarizing many of the tired left- and right-wing argu- ments about Israel have become. As Jewish people around the world recently recited ' around their seder tables. Dayenu! Enough already! Itis time for the moderate majority to come together to form a centrist, prag- matic, pro-Israel, pro-two-state message that drowns out the noisemakers on the fringes and leads to a secure, realistic and effective path forward for Israel to thrive. Peter A. Joseph is the chairman of the Israel Policy Forum. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. z z  CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE  x z ISSN 01990721 Winner of 4O Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Assodate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Booldmepil dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.)  HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742,  Contrib Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkans Tim Boxer David Bornstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman David Gaudio * Teri Marks email: news@orlandoheritage.com Elaine Schooping * Gil Dombrosky * Caroline Pope I Letter from Israel Benyamin Netanyahu Oh so strong, but maybe not By Ira Sharkansky Benyamin Netanyahu is sitting pretty with Israeli voters. Recent polls make him a sure bet to repeat as prime minister. Not so simple is his standing within his own party. While his leadership is likely to be secure, there are enough signs of right- wing opposition to provide some worry. They also provide analysts with evidence that Bibi may be right of center, but not a extremist. That label falls to others within Likud. Moshe Feigtin is nemesis number one. nipping at Bibi's heels for more than ten years. Feiglin is religios, and would em- phasize the Jewish nature of Israel within and beyond its present borders by offering Palestinians financial incentives to emi- grate. However. he has opposed programs of celigious coercion. He would loosen requirements about kashrut, and facilitate civil marrmge. Parsing Feiglin's numerous ideas from his frequent, articulate, creative and idiosyn- cratic expressions is not worth the effort. given his minority position within Likud. He is a significant, but not more than an ideological troublemaker. Americans might compare his status to that of Ron Paul within the Republican Party. Feiglin has shown that he can win about a quarter of the vote in Likud primaries. He is enough of a threat to encourage Netanyahu to em- ploy arcane party rules to keep him off the list of Knesset candidates and from other accomplishments. Netanyahu's problems within Likud go beyond Feiglin. Sunday evening the prime minister convened a meeting of the Likud Central Committee. an often unruly as- sembly of some 3,500 members, in order to endorse his position as party chairman. Bibi wanted an open vote by raised hands, which would allow him to declare an endorsement by acclimation. Alas. there were opponents. shouting loud enough to be heard above the din and with signs already prepared and waved in front of the TV cameras insisting .on a secret ballot. The commotion caused Netanyahu to postpone a decision. Netanyahu wanted an endorsement as "temporary" party leader that would hold until after the election, when there would be another internal election to select a "permanent" party leader. After the elec- tion. the post would be largely symbolic. Now, four months before the voting on Sept. 4, it has the capacity to provide the leader with an opportunity to influence the crucial selection and ranking of party candidates on the list that will'go before the voters. In Israel's system of proportional representa- tion, members of a party's list enter the Knesset in the order of their placement, depending on the proportion of the vote received by their party. Of special sensitivity here is Netanyahu's affinity for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, nominally a member of the Independence Party, but not assured of entering the Knesset on the list of that new and small break off from the Labor Party. Netanyahu's opponents in Likud, including some in the center of the party's spectrum, do not Want Netanyahu to give a reserved place, high on the list, to someone who has not worked within the party organization, going to- weddings, bar mitzvah's, circumcisions, and funerals, shaking hands, slapping backs, and promoting the party to poten- tial voters. Journalists report that opposition to Netanyahu at the Central Committee was heavily religious. This suggests that it reflects a substantial input of settlers or their supporters, similar to the popula- tion that provides the base of support for Moshe Feiglin. Netanyahu is usually an articulate speaker, able to play the right chords in order to excite his audience. Sunday evening was not his best. Perhaps he was distracted by the opposition. He thanked the people of Israel for their show of support during Memorial Week for his late father, and went on to praise himself for leading the country to three years of economic progress with lower rates of unemployment than West-- ern Europe or the United States. He also emphasized the greater sense of security felt by Israelis. due to the low incidence of Palestinian terror. Here he showed himself to be detached. The day's news. peaking in the prime time shows which had just presented their headlines prior to the onset of his speech, highlighted citizens' expressions of insecu- rity. The reason was several recent killings, seemingly by young Jews fired up by another Friday evening of drinking and carousing. By the next day, the prime minister had been put back on message. He opened a government meeting sounding more like a typical Israeli troubled by crime, and promised to increase the personnel on police patrols... (Lest my overseas Zionist readers worry about their virtual country, police issued an official report showing that violent crime is actually decreasing.) Two weeks ago was not the first time that Netanyahu has felt the hot breath of the right. Arguably it was his party colleagues and other Knesset Members of the rightwho brought about the end of his first term as prime minister in 1999. His offenses at the time were agreeing to American proposals at the Wye River conference to move the Oslo Accords further along by granting concessions to Palestinian in Hebron. and shaking the hand of Yassir Arafat. The failure of one effort to slip through a resolution firming up, his power in the Likud Central Committee. and a weaker than usual speech does not foretell the end of Netanyahu's career. Right wingers in his party can snip and remind him of their potential, but they have no better candidate to get at least part of what they want. On the other hand, many of his opponents are intense religious nationalists, whose faith does not contain concepts of compro- mise. concession, or down to earth reality. Bibi needn't worry now about sucrendering the keys to the Prime Minister's Office, but he doesn't have anything like the tenure of a professor or government bureaucrat. The right,ring of Likud and its friends in other parties will not go away, and may decide once again as they did i'n 1999 that they would rather be right than be in power.