Redefining What it means to be pro-Israel
By Ted Belman
The strategy of J Street was to revisit what it means to be pro-Israel and to convince the public that its stance is really a pro-Israel one. To this end, Washington Post published 5 Myths About Being ‘Pro-Israel’ by Joseph Ben-Ami, J Street's Executive Director, which included this statement "And forging a healthy friendship with Israel requires bursting some myths about what it means to be pro-Israel.". I challenged its position in J-Street is setting up strawmen and speaks for a small minority
Having taken that position, it proceeded to call its friends to make the case that Israel 's true friends must save it from itself.
Thomas Friedman, in the NYT, put his shoulder wheel in Obama and the Jews and argued "But given the simmering controversy over whether Mr. Obama is “good for Israel ,” it’s worth exploring this question: What really makes a pro-Israel president?". I discussed this article in Thomas Friedman misses the mark.
Most recently Jeffrey Goldberg writing in the International Herald Tribune under the title Israel's " America Problem" writes "But what's needed now is a radical rethinking of what it means to be pro-Israel." Hmmm. Let me think, Washington Post, NYT and International Herald Tribune.
This is the same Jeffery Goldberg who recently interviewed Obama and published details of the interview in Atlantic Monthly under the title, Obama on Zionism and Hamas.
In much of the interview, Obama was at pains to indicate how much he loved the Jews and how some of his best friends were Jewish. Goldberg asked the key question.
JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America ’s reputation overseas?
BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.
I want to solve the problem, and so my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth and say if Israel is building settlements without any regard to the effects that this has on the peace process, then we’re going to be stuck in the same status quo that we’ve been stuck in for decades now, and that won’t lift that existential dread that David Grossman described in your article.
Is it really important that the unresolved conflict provides "an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions". They don't need an excuse. The absence of such an excuse would do nothing to ameliorate the insurgency in Iraq or slow the progress of Iran to achieve ME hegemony. I note that he characterizes Arab war crimes and terrorist killings as "inexcusable actions". How delicate.
But back to Goldberg's article in the IHT. Essentially he attacks the mainstream Jewish organizations for not being Israel 's "friend" and argued a friend would reverse the settlements. Atlas Shrugs does a great job of breaking down this article in JEFFREY GOLDBERG: JEWICIDAL JIHADI BENDS OVER, SUBMITS DEMANDS ISRAEL
But just a few points of my own, Goldberg writes, I kid you not,
"But after speaking with him it struck me that, by the standards of rhetorical correctness maintained by such groups as the Conference of Presidents and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Obama is actually more pro-Israel than either Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak."
He supports this by the following,
But he, [Olmert] was expansive, and persuasive, on the Zionist need for a Palestinian state. Without a Palestine - a viable, territorially contiguous Palestine - Arabs under Israeli control will outnumber the country's Jews.No friend of Israel wants an apartheid state or a bi-national state, so this concern must be taken seriously. We must look at the premise upon which it is based, namely, that "Arabs under Israeli control will outnumber the country's Jews.". They wont. Detailed demographic studies prove that if Israel were to annex all the territories, Jews would have a 60% majority and if only the Judea and Samaria were annexed, there would be 66% majority. No one is suggesting that Gaza be annexed. Now if the money that would have to be spend to ethnically cleanse the new Palestinian state of Jews (100,000 plus) were instead spend to induce Palestinians to leave, perhaps 500,000 would do so, thereby increasing the Jewish majority to over 70%. Thus Israel would remain a democratic Jewish state. So the idea that Israel would either be a Bi-national state or an apartheid state is unfounded.
"We now have the Palestinians running an Algeria-style campaign against Israel, but what I fear is that they will try to run a South Africa-type campaign against us," he said. If this happens, and worldwide sanctions are imposed as they were against the white-minority government, "the state of Israel is finished," Olmert said in an earlier interview. This is why he, and his mentor, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, turned so fiercely against the Jewish settlement movement, which has entangled Israel unnecessarily in the lives of West Bank Palestinians. Once, men like Sharon and Olmert saw the settlers as the vanguards of Zionism; today, the settlements are seen, properly, as the forerunner of a binational state. In other words, as the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy.
The former prime minister, Ehud Barak, told The Jerusalem Post in 1999: "Every attempt to keep hold of this area as one political entity leads, necessarily, to either a nondemocratic or a non-Jewish state. Because if the Palestinians vote, then it is a binational state, and if they don't vote it is an apartheid state that might then become another Belfast or Bosnia ."
Goldberg ends by joining the chorus, "But what's needed now, is a radical rethinking of what it means to be pro-Israel."
For my part, what it means to be pro-Jewish is to favour the abrogation of the peace process and the annexing of Judea and Samaria.
Ted Belman also writes for Israpundit.com