Doubly ironic. The keynote speaker at last night’s J Street National Conference Gala Dinner was none other than former Republican Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, James A. Baker III. You remember, the same Baker who was quoted as saying “F$#* the Jews. They don’t vote for us anyway.
The irony here is twofold. Firstly J Street claims to be “pro-Israel,” and yet putting it mildly Baker along with many other featured speakers have questionable records when it comes to Israel. But even more so, I would bet that many of those in the room were the same Democratic Party-voting Jews that Baker was targeting with his f-bomb vitriol. That was some choice by J Street.
But after viewing the reports of what speakers said at the conference, the most outrageous and incitement-laced comments came from radical commentator Peter Beinart.
According to blogger Elisheva Goldberg on forward.com
Beinart gave recommendations on how American Jewry can take action against what the J Street crowd calls the Israeli “occupation,” particularly in light of the electoral victory by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which according to Goldberg is causing a depression breakout among “Jewish progressives.”
Beinart was quoted as saying, “We need to think very hard and very creatively about how we amplify Palestinian nonviolent protest in the West Bank…the best way we could do that is to be there ourselves.”
He added, “Once America’s rabbis have to face parents whose children are being tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets in the West Bank [and] once the American Jewish local newspapers have to write about it because it’s the kids from their days schools who are at those protests, then the American Jewish community will not be able to ignore it anymore.”
In other words to the Jewish children in America – forget about sleep away camp this summer, forget about swimming and campfires, instead book your flights to Israel, not to explore your heritage, but in order to go toe-to-toe with your brothers and sisters in the IDF and other security forces who 24/7 are protecting the Jewish People and all the residents of the State of Israel.
Those who are actually considering taking Beinart’s recommendations seriously remember this: these so-called “non-violent” and illegal demonstrations over the years have in reality evolved into violent confrontations in which local Arabs, anarchists, and other foreign fanatics enter closed military areas or approach Jewish communities in a threatening manner – throwing rocks and firebombs, thus forcing the soldiers to act.
And you shouldn’t forget the fate of one Rachel Corrie, the anti-Israel anti-America “peacenik” who illegally entered a closed military zone in Rafah in 2003, only to be mistakenly run over by an IDF bulldozer. In other words, when you break the law at these illegal gatherings not only are you taking the IDF away from their work in protecting the citizens of Israel, but you could be endangering your own lives. Sure that will get you the headlines, but will that matter if you’re six feet under, or severely injured?
The bottom line is that it’s despicable for Beinart and company to reject Israel’s democracy for electing a candidate that they don’t support. It’s also a shame that many Jews have fallen for the propaganda of those who don’t acknowledge Israelis legal and historical rights to live in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).
But it’s even worse suggesting that American Jews endanger their well-being in order to possibly become media or even real martyrs while demonstrating against Jews living in these areas by putting their own bodies in harms way.