Shorts: demolishing J street, killing racists

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Yaakov Lozowick demolishes J Street

There are three kinds of bloggers: those who can’t write, those who can’t think and those who can neither write nor think. And then there are the exceptions, like Yaakov Lozowick, who explains exactly what’s wrong with J Street in a short but devastating post. Read all of it, but I’ll quote a little (OK, more than a little) to give you an idea:

First, Meretz positions sound different and more acceptable from Israelis. The reason the party has lost most of its voters is that we’ve empirically tested its proposals, and lots of people have died as a result – not once, but repeatedly, in 1993-6, in 2000 (twice, once in Lebanon and once with the Palestinians), in 2002, in 2005, and in 2006; arguably also in 2008. Having its basic assumptions serially disproved has discredited Meretz, but if after all that some Israelis still wish to hang on, that’s their right; the rest of us don’t take them seriously, and that’s our right…

The J Street people seem not to have noticed any of this, which is either very peculiar or very disturbing. If they’ve simply not been watching, what gives them the right to have an opinion about life and death matters they can’t make the effort to understand? If they’ve been watching and refuse to accept what is there to be seen, how exactly do they portray themselves as being on our side?

Second, there’s a consistent tone of disdain of Israeli society coming from these people which I find arrogant and very distasteful. Americans left and right have lost their civility in political discourse; Israelis, admittedly, never had it. Yet there are codes in language, deeper than mere words, and the subtext of these J Street spokesmen when discussing Jews from Russia, religious Jews and centrist Jews, is ugly. I find no other word for it. Just as their compassion for Israel’s Arabs (the citizens) is odd. There’s a level of identification with them which is totally lacking when they talk about the majority of the Israeli Jews. I say this as someone who wishes only the best for Israel’s Arabs.

Another widespread sentiment they’ve got about Israelis is moral superiority. We American Jews, we understand human rights, democracy, dignity and so on, not like our benighted Israeli cousins who need to learn from us because they’ve turned into an embarrassment. I’m not going to respond in detail to this, but it needs to be rejected vehemently. It’s the opposite which is true. Israeli Jews, unlike American ones, live in a hard reality which beats down on those admirable human values and could easily smother them. Yet it doesn’t. Israelis know more about raising children to be moral human beings at time of adversity, more about respecting one’s enemy’s dignity, more about respect for law under extreme duress, than most American Jews can even begin to imagine. How could they? When are they ever faced with true moral quandaries, or required to pay a price for preserving their values? Do Israelis sometimes fail? Of course. Are American Jews ever put in situations where they’re ever even tried? Perhaps, but they don’t spring to mind.

Then there’s the matter of having enemies. Nothing I heard in all those speeches gave any cause to believe the speakers understand what an enemy is; they certainly can’t imagine the Palestinians are such…There’s a war on, it’s not over, and it’s not something that can be talked away with nice sentiments. War mean enemies: a concept – I repeat myself but it’s a crucial distinction – the J-Street people seem quite oblivious of. So far as I can tell, they can’t imagine an enemy, astonishing as that may sound.

Are you listening, Rabbi Richard Jacobs?

Is it permitted to kill a ‘racist’?

You may remember that the assassin of Meir Kahane, El Sayyid Nosair, was acquitted of murder in 1991 while being found guilty of assault and a firearms violation:

State Supreme Court Justice Alvin Schlesinger said the jury’s decision to acquit the immigrant, El Sayyid A. Nosair, of murder last month “was against the overwhelming weight of evidence and was devoid of common sense and logic.”

Saying he wished he could have given a longer sentence, Justice Schlesinger said, “This was not a simple case of gun possession,” but was instead “a case of extreme violence visited on this city.”

“I believe the defendant conducted a rape of this country, of our Constitution and of our laws, and of people seeking to exist peacefully together,” the judge said as he peered sternly at the 36-year-old defendant clad in Arab attire at the defense table. — NY Tmes (1/30/92)

Nosair was tried again in 1994 for criminal conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and convicted. The murder of Kahane was included as part of the conspiracy, and he received a life sentence. But what happened in 1991?

At first, William M. Kunstler thought the evidence against El Sayyid A. Nosair for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane appeared so overwhelming that he advised his client to plead insanity. When the case went to the jury on Wednesday, he was pessimistic.

Yesterday, as he jubilantly reviewed the trial’s ending — a Manhattan jury’s verdict on Saturday acquitting Mr. Nosair of murder and attempted murder charges but convicting him of lesser charges , Mr. Kunstler called the split verdict “strange, irrational, inconsistent and repugnant” and said the convictions would be appealed.

Mr. Kunstler, in a telephone interview yesterday from Puerto Rico, where he is on vacation, said the selection of jurors was the defense’s critical move.

He said that he and the co-counsels, M. Shanara Gilbert and Michael W. Warren, strove for a jury of “third-world people” and “people who were not yuppies or establishment types.”

“These jurors understand life as it is lived,” Mr. Kunstler said of the jury of nine women and three men.

Except for a woman who had worked for an Israeli bank, Mr. Kunstler noted that the defense, through challenges, eliminated potential jurors who supported Israel and might have been biased against Mr. Nosair because he is an Arab. — NY Times (12/23/91)

A classic case of jurors ‘nullifying’ the application of a law that they don’t agree with. Apparently in their minds, killing a ‘racist’, especially a Jewish one, is not a crime.

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One Response to “Shorts: demolishing J street, killing racists”

  1. N. Friedman says:

    Yaakov Lozowick has things pretty much exactly right when it comes to J Street.

    Given J Street’s effort to hide its real backers, perhaps it was intended to be a front group, one akin to front groups for industry set up in the early 20th Century.

    In this case, we have Mr. Soros and a mystery donor from Hong Kong. It would be quite interesting to discover the real purpose he had to help fund J Street. Perhaps, the goal is merely to divide the Jewish community in order to undermine pro-Israel groups. Perhaps, the goal is to push US policy closer to the positions held by European governments. Perhaps, he thinks he knows better than Israelis what is best for Israelis.

    Given the secrecy about its financial backers – albeit, failed secrecy -, I think one thing is for sure: what you see is definitely not what you get when it comes to J Street.