Monday, October 24, 2011

Jewish US Establishment Stifling

As you can imagine, I have had a long confrontation, going back to the 1960s, with Jewish establishment groups.  So when this next item came my way, there was no surprise.

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee have issued a joint "pledge" calling on Jewish and Israel groups not to criticize President Obama's record on Israel (it can be viewed here and if still not working, go here).

Here's the JTA report:

The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee are co-sponsoring a pledge for unity on rally bipartisan support for Israel while preventing Israel from becoming a wedge issue during the next election season.

..."America’s friendship with Israel is an emotional, moral and strategic bond that has always transcended politics," it reads in part. "Support for Israel has never been merely a plank in a Republican or Democratic Party or candidate’s platform. It is a core American policy that serves our nation’s most fundamental national interests.

...Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director, said that “We want the discourse on U.S. support for Israel to avoid the sometimes polarizing debates and political attacks that have emerged in recent weeks, as candidates have challenged their opponents’ pro-Israel bone fides or questioned the current administration’s foreign policy approach vis-a-vis Israel. The last thing America and Israel need right now is the distractions of having Israel bandied about as a tool for waging political attacks.”

The pledge reads, in part:

...the United States must continue to project to the world the solid support of the American people and their elected representatives for Israel’s rights and quest for peace and security. U.S. leadership in the efforts to achieve an agreement resolving the conflict that results in two states—the Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peaceful coexistence—is more critical than ever.


We salute the long line of American leaders who have moved beyond their often bitter policy differences over issues of the day to stand shoulder to shoulder together on the side of a strong and enduring U.S.-Israel relationship.

The two-state solution is not the only one on the negotiating table.

The Emergency Committee for Israel will not sign the pledge. ECI's chairman, William Kristol, issued the following statement:

"Here's the Emergency Committee for Israel's answer to Directors Abe Foxman and David Harris: You must be kidding.

"Indeed, this attempt to silence those of us who have 'questioned the current administration's foreign policy approach vis-a-vis Israel' will re-energize us. Nor, incidentally, should those who support the administration's approach to Israel be bashful about making their case. Directors Harris and Foxman need a refresher course on the virtues of free speech and robust debate in a democracy. Their effort to stifle discussion and debate is unworthy of the best traditions of America, and of Israel."

Stifling is so Jewish establishment.



Foxman retreating?

JTobin thinks so:-

The controversy over the pledge was not the result of what Foxman calls “distortion” by his critics; the fact is, he was caught red-handed in a thinly veiled partisan ploy.

The problem with the “Unity Pledge” is it echoed Jewish Democratic demands we have been hearing for years about shutting down Republican efforts to point out left-wing animus for Israel as well as the Obama administration’s predilection for picking fights with Israel. Obama’s decision to distance the United States from Israel, his stand on Jerusalem and his ambush of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in May were all factors in the Republican victory in the special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District last month. That result and polls showing a decline in Jewish support for Obama have panicked Democrats. The decision of the ADL and the AJC to issue a statement that would serve to legitimize efforts to silence debate about Israel by condemning its use as a “wedge issue” departed from not only their non-partisan status but also undermined their stance as Jewish defense organizations.

...As for the pledge, it should be amended to remove the line about “wedge” issues or scrapped entirely. We can only hope the disaster the ADL and the AJC have created for themselves will serve to deter Jewish groups from ever playing politics in this manner again.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the proper response is to ask for a parallel pledge for all Jewish groups to refrain from criticizing Netanyahu.

If support for Israel is so important, then cynically teaming up with UN based organizations and thoroughly corrupt human rights organizations against Israel and with Arab tyrants should also be out of bounds.