In March, I wrote an article about why I don’t think Rabbi Richard Jacobs is the right choice for leadership of the Reform movement, because his activism in J Street and the New Israel Fund places him, in my opinion, outside of the Zionist tent.
Last month, I agreed to place my name on an advertisement which appeared in several Jewish media which called on the Union for Reform Judaism to not confirm Rabbi Jacobs. The ad was respectful and factual, but the response was vicious, including attacks on our motives, accusations of extremism, and even a threat of blacklisting from a member of the URJ Board of Trustees!
The URJ leadership also seems to have called in all of its markers, getting supportive comments from various Jewish organizational luminaries:
We worry when efforts are made to continuously narrow the definition of “support for Israel,” and we are concerned as well by those who claim that only those who agree with them on everything are fit to be called “pro-Israel.”
The pro-Israel community, like the Jewish community, is diverse and eclectic, representing a range of opinions and ideals. The last thing that we need is for people in this community to be excluding one another.
… Our experiences working with Jews of different backgrounds and viewpoints has taught us the importance of unifying behind issues of great importance to Israel even when disagreements over nuance and positions existed. When we can all find common ground to stand on, our voices together are all the more powerful.
Nope, I’m sorry. This dog simply won’t hunt. Certainly there can be multiple points of view among Israel supporters. But you can’t define black as white, up as down, an elephant as a giraffe — or J Street as ‘pro-Israel’.
Words have meanings.
It is not “nuance” when J Street calls for the US to support a Security Council resolution that condemns Israel, nor when it arranges appointments for Judge Goldstone to meet with US Congress members, when it opposes a Congressional letter calling for sanctions on Iran, applauds the union of Fatah with Hamas, sponsors a speaking tour by the anti-Israel John Ging of UNRWA, invites boycott-divestment-sanctions advocates to present at its national convention, etc.
If that isn’t nuanced enough, J Street’s sources of funding include individuals associated with the Saudi embassy and the Arab-American institute, George Soros, and a mysterious woman in Hong Kong who provided more than $800,000 in one year.
Words have meanings.
Here’s still more nuance: the New Israel Fund (NIF) funds organizations that call for boycott-divestment-sanctions of Israel, Israeli Arab groups that want ‘de-Zionization’ — the conversion of the Jewish state into a ‘state of its citizens’ — as well as the NGOs that provided the majority of the false ‘evidence’ cited by the libelous Goldstone report, and that engage in ‘lawfare’ against Israel.
Words do have meanings. Is any of this part of the meaning of ‘Zionism’ or of love for Israel? I don’t think so.
Rabbi Jacobs gave a talk on May 2, during which he declared, over and over, his love for Israel and his Zionism. He was somewhat vague on details — several times he called for a “two-state solution” without mentioning the inconvenient truth of the Hamas-Fatah pact, announced the week before. He also stressed the importance of “complete equality of social and political rights to all [of Israel’s] inhabitants” without mentioning the very real problem that some of these inhabitants are committed to the destruction of the very state that gives them rights.
But talk is cheap. So I am issuing a challenge to Rabbi Jacobs:
You say you are are opposed to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. You say that you want to fight the delegitimization of the Jewish state: then resign your position with the New Israel Fund, whose grantees advocate these things.
You say that you care about Israel’s survival: then resign from J Street, which is a thinly-veiled front for anti-Israel activities.
There actually is a big tent for Israel supporters. It does include the pro-state Left. If that’s where you stand, then ditch your baggage and welcome inside.