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September 27, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 Red line From page 1A community is about binding people together." But Charles Jacobs, head of the Boston-based advocacy group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, believes CJP crosses a red line by continu- ing to work with Fein. Jacobs called the policy of welcoming a "big tent" of organizations and individuals with varying views on Israel a "slippery slope." "The CJP-certified Leon- ard Fein is now one more slip down the slope," Jacobs told "Leonard Fein, who in the midst of Middle East madness, where Arabs are murdering and gassing and torturing each other--and each others' wives and chil- dren, from Cairo to Damascus to Baghdad--Fein blames Israelis for the lack of peace in the region." "Beholden to major do- nors, many of them on the left, it seems that some federations have become disconnected from the larger Jewish community," Jacobs said. "So if CJP does not excommunicate Fein--if it has no red lines--it will show just how disconnected it has become." Shrage said CJP does have red lines. Advocating for the destruction of Israel or harming Israel are "stances that place people outside the community," but Fein is "a Zionist" and working with him does not cross a line, despite his stance on Ariel, according to Shrage. "The line here is whether you are anti-Zionist, anti- Israel," he said. Fein told that while he called for a boycott of Ariel because its location 10 miles beyond the 1949 armistice line presents "a very distinctive problem" and "essentially destroys the possibility of a two-state solu- tion," he opposes the broader Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. "I think each potential tar- get of that kind of approach of boycott, divestment and sanctions needs to be treated on its own terms, on its own merits, or lack of merits," Fein said, explaining that he disagrees with a movement that issues boycott calls "with a broad brush," like the BDS movement does. New York Shrage called hosting Fein a "far cry" from hosting BDS activist Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple, who appeared at New York's 92nd Street Y in May. The Y also scheduled an event this spring with Roger Waters, the anti-Israel Pink Floyd band member, which was ultimately canceled. On Sept. 12, JCC Watch andAmericans for a Safe Israel partnered on a protest outside the UJA- Federation of New York build- ing that called for Jews to stop donating to the federation, due to a lack of guidelines pre- venting federation funding of programming that gives a platform to anti-Israel voices like Walker and Waters. The Y receives $900,000 annually from the federation. "We have a pattern of forces within the UJA-Federation diverting charitable dollars to further political purposes, and these purposes are anti- Israel," Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, told When a UJA donor and volunteer told Allen at the protest that the funding in Sharkansky question is "only a small part" of the federation's budget, Al- len said he replied, "Even if it's one penny, it's wrong, and it makes the whole organiza- tion basically treif." The UJA-Federation de- clined to comment for a JNS. org article on the Sept. 12 protest and did not return a comment request for this article. Washington, D.C. Like JCC Watch, Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Mas- querading as Art (COPMA) is calling for a halt to donations to its local federation, citing the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's fund- ing of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center's Theater J. COPMA was formed in 2009 as a response to Theater J's work on "Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza," a series of short plays in which parents repeat anti-Israel narratives while mulling how to speak to children about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One actor advises a parent not to tell a child that "Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom." Robert G. Samet, COPMA's chairman, said his group does not intend to impede artistic freedom, but rather specifi- cally opposes the federation's support of Theater J. "It's just, don't do it on our nickel," Samet told "Don't do it on [federation] contributors' support, it's not appropriate. It's a fringe view that's being supported by mainstream contributors." In an Aug. 26 letter to the DC federation, Robert Levi-- chairman of the board of the National Council of Young Israel--joined COPMA's call for the discontinuation of federation support for The- ater J, due to the theater group's planned performance of Motti Lerner's"The Admis- sion" from March 20-April 27, 2014, "As you may be aware, ['The Admission'[ reflects a neo-anti-Israeli perspective, which is contrary to the mis- sion of the Federation," Levi wrote. "The climatic scene of play implies a fictitious 1948 massacre conducted by a colonel in the Israeli defense brigade. You may not be aware that many of Mr. Lerner's dramas are not performed in Israel due to their harmful message." Last week, the federation responded to COPMA with an "open letter to our com- munity." "Love of Israel and open- ness to a diverse array of thought are compatible goals," the federation's let- ter stated. Ari Roth, artistic director of Theater J, told that "The Admission" is all based on "actual research done by three historians," rather than implying the "fictitious 1948 massacre" that Young Israel's Levi described in his letter. "The Admission" was also featured in an April 2013 workshop that was under- written by the Israeli Consul- ate of New York, which Roth called an Israeli "hechsher" on the play. COPMA does not acknowl- edge Theater J's slate of more than 35 plays and workshops relating to Israel over the last 16 years, said Roth, who among other plays the group has performed cited "Dai" ("Enough"), which details the experiences of 14 differ- ent Israelis in the moments before a suicide bombing. Theater J also never actu- ally produced "Seven Jewish Children," explained Roth. PAGE 15A Maxine Dovere Author Alice Walker, an anti-Israel activists, and play- wright Eve Ensler clasp hands at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on the night they appeared together in dialogue, May 30. JCC Watch is calling for a halt in donations to the UJA-Federation of New York over UJA funding of the Y, which besides for Walker invited anti-Israel Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters this spring (an event that was ultimately canceled). Instead, the group held a "critical dissection" of the play, featuring readings of "Seven Jewish Children" and response plays, as well as a talk to start the event that included "what troubled me about the play," Roth said. The DC federation, in an April 2011 statement, said it would not fund "any or- ganization that encourages boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel in pursuit of goals to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish State." Theater J "stands squarely" against the BDS movement, Roth told "We are all about bringing Israeli art over here, engag- ing with Israel," he said. "We are a leading importer of Israeli cultural talent to Washington." In its letter on COPMA last week, the federation said it was not its job to meddle in the "autonomous deci- sion making" of its partner agencies, or to "single out a few programs from the thousands we support that may make some uneasy." Samet, chairman of COP- MA, told that it was "only with great reluctance that we went to a mass email campaign urging people to suspend or terminate con- tributions until such time as [the] federation does some- thing about [the Theater J issue]." But the federation ultimately crossed COPMA's red line. "We didn't want to take it that far, but they pretty much forced our hand by ignoring us, and ignoring the issue," he said. From page 4A as Jewish a newspaper as can be found outside of Israel in terms of its ownership, profes- sional staff, and readership, Lustick has provoked Jewish responses of high negative intensity, but he should es- cape any designation as an anti-Semite. He ridicules Pal- estinians, western diplomats, and the entire peace process industry as well as the Israeli leadership for foolishly fol- lowing what is impossible to achieve. Yet if he is not anti- Semitic, he remains shrill in his opposition to what Israel has been doing. What makes the two-state solution most impossible in his view is Israeli land-grabbing going back to the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War. If Lustick's description of Israel is not anti-Semitic, it is certainly not friendly. And neither do his projections appear to be achievable, if indeed they represent seri- ous thoughts and not his flippant dismissal of reality. "In such a radically new Messiah environment, secular Pal- estinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv's post-Zionists, non- Jewish Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nation- alist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists. Untethered to statist Zion- ism in a rapidly changing Middle East, Israelis whose families came from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of them- selves not as "Eastern," but as Arab. Masses of downtrod- den and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution for translating what they have (numbers) into what they want (rights and resources). Israeli Jews committed above all to settling throughout the greater Land of Israel may find arrangements based on a confederation, or a regional formula more attractive than narrow Israeli nationalism." Lustick prides himself in adhering to similar views of Israeli activity over the entire three or four decades of his career. What he does not take into account is that Israel has become consider- ably wealthier and militarily stronger over that period, even while it has suffered at the focus of however we label the current era of anti- Semitism/anti-Zionism/pro- Palestinianism. It might also be appropri- ate to say that Israel is now better connected politically than when Lustick began to oppose its policy. To be sure, the European Union, the United States, and many prominent figures who hold high positions, or who once held them, have defined ev- erything from Ramat Eshkol eastward as illegal, but their failure to implement any- thing draconian reflects, in part, the persuasive capacity of Israeli officials, and the recognition that Palestin- ians have contributed to whatever is wrong in the Middle East. (Still hanging is the EU's posture about funding institutions over the 1967 border, waiting implementation.) My own professional memories go back to the time when, graduating from high school, those of my cadre wanting to enroll in one of the more attractive colleges or universities had to cope with Jewish quotas. There was nothing official or open, but Jew-spotters in admissions offices used the criteria of name and home town. A Goldstein from Long Island was obvious. A Jew whose family had gentri- fled its name and located in Wyoming--if sufficiently strong academically--would make it through the screen without taking the place of another Jew. Once my cadre graduated, those wanting a career in industry or finance would face additional hurdles in some of the best-known banks and industrial firms. Within a decade, all that began to crumble. In some places where entering classes had been no more than 10 percent Jewish, the figures jumped to 30 percent. In- stitutions and corporations that had screened out Jews found themselves with Jew- ish Presidents. Meanwhile, Israel was de- veloping as a place without Jewish quotas. Its economic performance, including the ranking of all its universities in the top few hundred of the world and its best two or three in the top 100, plus the success of its scientists and engineers owes something to the lack of constraints against individual Jews in Israel, or in the western countries where Israelis go for post-graduate education, to collaborate with profes- sional colleagues, or to raise money in order to develop their projects. Yet there remains a pall over all of this, expressed by westerners, including Jews, signing on to the Palestinian BDS project (boycott, dis- vestment, sanctions). Aca- demics who are left of center in Israeli politics and express themselves forcefully in be- half of Arab rights have been shut out of opportunities to publish in professional journals or present papers at conferences. There remain opportuni- ties. Israelis have to learn where not to send their ma- terial, and those who suffer the most may be individuals denied Israeli inputs to their own work. In Jewish eyes, we have always been at the center of the world. We wrote that God chose us as His people. Many non-Jews continue to read those passages, and accept them as belief or as reasons for animosity. Jews, and Israel appear in more than our share of media reports and commentary, as measured in comparison to our meager population. Some of the coverage is good. Some is unpleasant. The attention used to be part of being Jewish. Now it is more clearly part of being Israeli. Ira Sharkansky (Emeri- tus), Department of Politi- cal Science Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From page 12A it's possible if only they can create the right circum- stances. Others see this as an affront to God's wisdom, noting these attempts can only end in chaos. Glickman also discusses false messiahs, the best known of whom is Shabbatei Zevi, a self- proclaimed messianic figure who converted to Islam when threatened with death. The author also offers other interesting tidbits concerning the messiah and the end of days. There are debates about whether or not the dead will rise once the Messianic Age begins. If so, will they wear clothes? Wouldthosewith disabilities ers see the feast as allegori- return whole? If a widower cal, interpreting the idea of took a second wife, will he food and wine to mean the spend eternity with his first ability to receive "esoteric spouse or his second? Will knowledgeofGodsofarwith- humanity need to eat during held from humanity." the Messianic Age? Some Glickman concludes with talesdoincludeafeastofthe a personal note about how righteous, which will feature she experiences a taste of the wine and the flesh of three messianic age "through the great mythical beasts. Oth- observance ofShabbat." She notes that "the rituals and ceremonies of Shabbat ex- pressly foreshadow the days ofxteliverance. The elaborate Shabbat dinner parallels the Feast of the Righteous, the shunning of work cor- responds to the era's endless serenity and abundance, and the prayers and songs herald a time when all shall know Divine Presence." While I love the imagery Glickman uses, her suggestion will not satisfy skeptics or those who long for a time of peace and justice. However, her thoughtful exploration of Jewish ideas of the messiah makes "The Messiah and the Jews" an excellent education resource.