by Isi Leibler –
Anti-Zionist charades from the far-left-wing American Jewish community are now a daily occurrence. We witness the manipulations of the reprehensible BDS movement, J Street’s efforts to encourage the US Administration to pressure Israel, and the frequent hosting by universities of radical, anti-Israel speakers. As disturbing as these developments have been, we have tended to discount them as the workings of the radical left.
But now, American Jewish anti-Zionists are engaged in an aggressive campaign to gain acceptance by the mainstream Jewish community. In the name of freedom of expression and open dialogue, radical Jewish liberals and well-heeled Jewish armchair progressives are pressuring Jewish organizations to provide platforms for those engaged in vicious efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.
Their efforts are being enthusiastically promoted by the increasingly anti-Israeli liberal media especially the New York Times.
There is an Alice in Wonderland element to this situation. It ignores the fact that the Jewish people and Israel are confronted with genocidal adversaries whose barbaric behavior towards their own people leave no illusions as to what they would do to us in the absence of the IDF. It overlooks the reality that anti-Semitism (primarily promoted under the cloak of anti-Israelism) is the greatest political growth industry, and now even reminiscent of the medieval anti-Semitism which blamed the Jews for all the natural disasters of mankind.
Until recently the United States was one of the few countries where this did not apply, aside from the far left and on campus.
However, there is now an effort to legitimize attitudes which, in the past, would never have been countenanced in reputable Jewish quarters. This campaign is not about legitimate criticism of Israeli policies in which we all indulge. It relates to liberal Jewish intellectuals, literati and even rabbis providing legitimacy to those demonizing the country, and even justifying BDS.
This manifested itself last year when the venerable 92nd St. Y, the Jewish nonprofit community and cultural center, invited author Alice Walker and musician Roger Waters. Both are outspoken BDS supporters. Walker has refused to authorize the translation of her works into Hebrew and Waters has performed openly anti-Semitic programs, including releasing a pig shaped balloon painted with a Star of David in a 2013 concert. Following mass protests, the Y withdrew both invitations but its initial offer signaled a new initiative to open doors to anti-Zionists and even anti-Semites in conventional Jewish venues.
Last month, the New York Jewish Museum invited the prominent anti-Zionist and BDS supporter, Judith Butler to speak. While the topic was Frank Kafka – not an Israel related subject – this invitation provided a major Jewish platform to an anti-Israeli fanatic. One wonders whether Leon Wieseltier, the New Republic literary editor, who sanctimoniously proclaimed that “Judith Butler’s misguided views should not disqualify her from speaking on Kafka”, would also have endorsed a Jewish organization inviting Hitler’s chief architect, Albert Speer, to address its audience, if his subject had been limited to architecture.