Thursday, February 23, 2012

J Street Visited Tel Shiloh

On Wednesday, the J Street Women's Delegation came to Shiloh, before the construction authorization story broke. I wasn't there but Jeremy Ben-Ami was.

I asked Ruchie Avital to write up her impressions and she consented:

As a longtime spokesperson of Ofra, I have had the opportunity to meet with many individuals and groups visiting Ofra. In most cases, the visitors to the area – both Jews and non-Jews, as well as journalists who have been sent from abroad to cover Israel – are sadly ignorant about the history of the State of Israel and the conflict with the Arab/Palestinians. The group I met with yesterday was different.

I was invited by Tamar Asraf, the dynamic and articulate spokesperson of the Benjamin Regional Council, and Tzofia Dorot, the warm and knowledgeable director of the Ancient Site of Shilo, to join them at a meeting with a J Street delegation, led by Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and director of the far-left organization. The visit itself was coordinated by Dar Nadler of a movement called Blue and White Future, which favors keeping only the large settlement blocks and evacuating all the other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, comprising about 90,000 Jews. Dar’s moderation of the discussion was admirably fair and balanced.

The group was made up of about 20 or so women and two men, besides Jeremy Ben-Ami, including a number of Congresswomen, from J Street and another organization called Women’s Donors Network. Many were visiting for the first time, but appeared to be familiar with many of the issues, but of course from J Street’s point of view. However, they had come to listen. They asked tough questions, but listened to what we had to say and commented intelligently.

When thanking us, they noted that they had never heard some of the arguments we put forward before. I have no illusions about changing their minds. But I believe it’s important to talk and listen to one another. You never know.

Some 20 years ago, I was asked by a left-wing group to accompany a group of visiting women.  We drove up through Ramallah with Zehava Galon commenting on the scene and we eventually arrived at Rechalim, then still a camp site.  It was a women's project, with children nall around, a play area and the other elements of a Gush Emunim effort.

Orit Rappaport explained why they were there (Rachela Druck had been murdered there on the eve of the Madrid Conference and I was in Madrid at that time).  The ladies were som impressed at the dedication, commitment and outright sacrifice of the women there that they opened up theior pocketbooks right then and there, handing over dollar bills.

Shocked, Zehava tried to stope them b ut their response was that this was above all a feminist issue, beyoind politics and that the women of Rechalim deserved their support and solidarity.

You just never know with a liberal. I presume.



African-American congresswomen tour Israel with J Street

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A group of African-American congresswomen toured Israel under J Street's auspices.

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) met with top officials in the opposition and the ruling coalition, a statement issued Feb. 24 from the dovish pro-Israel group said. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who is not African American, also was part of the delegation.

Joining them were 14 female philanthropists; they were not named in the release. The statement was released after the delegation returned from the weeklong visit.

They do not admit to being in Shiloh in this item.


No comments: