Jews and Others, There and Here

January 3, 2017

5 min read

Ira Sharkansky

Caroline Glick is a staff writer for the Jerusalem Post, whose op-eds combine a shrill style with views somewhere on the right of the Israeli spectrum. Often she writes about Israel and the Palestinians, and it is clear who she thinks is responsible for problems, and who should be able to exercise rights, where.

In a  recent article, Ms Glick takes takes aim at what she sees developing in the American Jewish community. Her targets include Jews supporting Obama, Clinton, and others of the Democratic Party establishment, their embarrassment at the election of Donald Trump, and their angst about Trump’s nomination of David Friedman as the next US Ambassador to Israel.

What is distinctive and impressive in this article is her documentation of the move away from Jews of a prominent voice on the American left that calls itself Jewish, along with other organizations long seen as part of the American Jewish establishment.

Glick begins with the expected clash between Trump-Friedman and the established policy of the State Department, whose precedent-bound bureaucrats do not recognize Jerusalem as an Israeli city, and certainly not the national capital where the US Embassy should be located. It’ll take a while before we can judge how Friedman and Trump deal with a State Department led by an Exxon CEO, who’s made his career working with governments and economic elites elsewhere in the Middle East.

In Friedman’s repertoire are comments supporting extensive Israeli settlement throughout the West Bank, and comparing American Jewish leftists to the kapos used by the Nazis to control Jews.

Glick identifies JStreet, Americans for Peace Now, and the New Israel Fund as handmaidens of Arab governments and organizations whose primary target is Israel. She writes that since 2009 it has been known that “JStreet’s political action committee was lavishly funded by Arab American and Iranian American lobbyists and activists. The head of J Street’s campus outfit, J Street U, is a Muslim.” Moreover, JStreet’s executive director came from an organization that “was hired by a Qatari foundation to lead an 18-month long anti-Israel campaign in the US with a special focus on US campuses.”

Glick cites Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, the Anti-Defamation League, the Conservative and Reform movements for anti-Israel actions, and takes particular aim at Hillel, and especially a

“scandalous decision, announced at its annual conference earlier this month, to have Hillel organizations on campuses in the US champion Muslim rights on campuses. In other words, the premier Jewish organization on college campuses intends to champion the rights of the very students who stand at the forefront of the campus war against Jewish students.”

She also takes note of developments within the Democratic Party.

“With Rep. Keith Ellison’s sudden emergence as the front-runner to win next month’s election to serve as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the far Left’s takeover of the Democratic Party is essentially complete. As a former member of the antisemitic Nation of Islam, and a major supporter and beneficiary of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned leadership of the American Muslim community, Ellison’s rise means that the Democratic Party can no longer be viewed as a pro-Israel party.”

Things have gone further, with an intemperate speech by John Kerry and a shrill response by Benyamin Netanyahu. If we’re cousins, we’re in the midst of a feverish family squabble.

Kerry expressesd his obsessive version of a mantra we’ve heard for years from leftists Jews and others who insist that they are our friends. The essence is that we must do something. If we do not accept a two-state solution, with borders pretty close or identical to those of 1949, we’re destined to accept a one-state solution that could be either Jewish and non-democratic (i.e., Apartheid), or democratic but subject to an non-Jewish majority.

The equivalent nonsense would be to insist that the US and Mexico must unite, given US investments in Mexico, Mexicans living in the US, and the miseries suffered by Mexicans in Mexico.

There is nothing inevitable in politics or history. Indeed, Israelis have expressed what is a widely held posture toward Palestinians by building a wall and guarded transfer points that keep out or monitor the vast majority of Palestinians who want to enter Israel for work, visits, health care, or some other purpose..

What to do? i.e., other than moan the drift to the crazies of American Jewish organizations and the Democratic Party?.

Among the options are to ignore Obama, Kerry, and other extremists. They or individuals like them have long been part of what Jews suffer, enjoy, or tolerate. Polls continue to show substantial support for Israel among American Jews and non-Jews, especially those  in the center and right of the political spectrum. Trump’s election and Friedman’s appointment signal a significant turn in the postures of the American government. Israeli rightists should not expect to realize the wettest of their dreams, but the country may be free to continue its moderate settlement policies and the kinds of actions–including occasional aggression–it has taken in national defense.

Beyond proposing dramatic ideas on a weekly or more frequent basis, the Palestinian leadership seems as far as ever from leading a united population or capable of reaching a formal agreement with Israel. Despite the frictions, there are numerous accommodations that allow both societies to exist alongside one another peacefully, most of the time. Israeli and West Bank Palestinian casualties from occasional violence–even during last year’s uptick–have been a fraction of what each community suffers from road accidents.

Individual Israelis may lament the carnage among Muslims throughout much of the Middle East. However, their bloodshed is more significant than the pursuit against Israel of leftist Jews and others in America, Israel, or elsewhere for their moral ideals. Not only can Israel anticipate that Muslim warfare will keep those hating us most busy for years to come, but the worries and pragmatism of moderate Muslim governments has expanded those with whom Israel can cooperate.

Recent incidents in Germany, Switzerland, and Jordan, along with continued carnage in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya have provided more than enough non-Israel busy work for diplomats, politicians, and commentators.

Obama’s failure to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, then the nastiness of Kerry and Bibi will keep us and American Jews busy for some time.

Spokespeople for Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu are blaming one another for a breakdown in communications and cooperation. Israelis beyond those usually on the right are accusing the American President and Secretary of State of betraying us, and “pissing on the party” of his political opponent who won the election, and has staked out a different policy on Israeli settlements.

Palestinians are celebrating what they see as international recognition of the justice inherent in their demands, without taking account of the US adherence, at least formally, to the idea of not imposing a future without waiting for negotiations between the parties.

The Security Council resolution and subsequent comments and tweets may do no more than add to the pile of cross national verbiage.. Yet if it provokes Palestinian aggression, Israeli countermeasures in the West Bank may replace a period of accommodation with one of serious warfare. If that occurs, the final month of the Obama Administration will be compared with a foolhardy Cairo speech of its first year, which contributed initially to Arab Spring but then to the greater wave–still at its height–of Arab Winter.

Israel may have to tolerate nastiness from Jewish and non-Jewish elites who consider themselves better judges than Israelis about what Israel must do. In the assessment of who suffers from the blather, it appears that Americans who pay upwards of $50K a year for their kids to absorb anti-Semitism lose more than Israelis in what happens on high prestige campuses.

We have to live alongside extremist Jews and others of the left and right. The noise, and occasionally worse, has long been part of the Jewish phenomena, and shows no sign of going away.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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