Hillel Damron
Writer, filmmaker and blogger

Long Live the Lie!

Or What a Wild, “Anti-Israeli” Bunch!
On the weekend of June 7-8 the new feature film, “Long Live the Lie,” depicting “J Street 2014 National Summit” was screened in San Francisco; where else, you may ask, but in this world-renown bastion of liberal, gays, hippies, vegetarians, weirdoes, and many “anti-Israeli,” “anti-Zionist” Jews. The film – full disclosure: it was directed by yours truly, aspiring to be a documentary film telling the naked truth, but in reality almost totally fictional, coming from the head of a delusional filmmaker-blogger – described accurately the two-day conference, which was attended by over 600 people; or “advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace,” in the J Street jargon. No matter how you call them, these people, old and young – yes, unlike AIPAC, J Street has many young people among its members and supporters – were Israelis, Jewish Americans and Israeli-Jewish-Americans, but what united them all was “the fact” that they were all “anti-Israelis.” To the last one of them. Which means, of course, that they were also anti-Semites. Shame on them. And on their 180,000 or so “anti-Israeli” supporters throughout the land. Long live the lie indeed!

A word first, before the plot really kicks into gear, on the venues were the film was screened, before the widely enthusiastic “anti-Israeli” crowd. (I believe I saw some young women go-wild while “flashing,” but that might be just my twisted imagination, since a young woman friend of mine was there nursing her baby, bringing up the next “anti-Israeli” generation.) Anyhow, back to the show. The opening screening took place at Congregation Emanu-El, which – according to my sources – is nothing but a renowned wild-west kind of temple (established in 1850, it is the oldest Jewish congregation west of the Mississippi) of over 2,100 households. This reform congregation – see, reform, another word for liberal – is “dedicated to advancing our members’ lifelong involvement in Judaism, engaging them in communal prayer (avodah), the study of sacred texts (Torah), and the performance of compassionate deeds (g’milut hasadim).” Not one word about Israel, though. The proof is in the pudding, my friends.

The second, and main venue for the day-long, continuous film-screening of the “J Street Escape,” (a better title might be the “J Street Challenge,” but that was already taken), took place at the “Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.” Representing thousands of members in the city-by-the-bay and beyond, young and old, this is clearly an “anti-Israeli” organization, evident by the fact that the word Israel is not even mentioned in its title, and hardly in its activities. What other organization, you might rightly wonder, would allow such “anti-Israeli” gathering to take place within its walls? Anyway, after the day-long screenings, speaking and discussions, a gala dinner and screening were held at the Intercontinental Hotel. And while in all good conscious I cannot blame the management of that hotel of being “anti-Israeli,” obviously they agreed to lend their luxurious space after receiving an enormous amount of money from the many supporters – though that organization is still looking for its very own Sheldon Adelson to finance its operations in style – of this “anti-Israeli” J Street organization.

But then the plot really thickened with the appearance of our cast of character-actors, in this bluntly “anti-Israeli” film. Stay with me, please: former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (no comments needed, right?), Israel’s most recent UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev (no wonder she’s no longer there, huh?), and the former US Ambassador to both Israel and Egypt Dan Kurtzer (how was it possible for him to be ambassador in both places, anyhow?). Next we have four leaders of the pro-peace (told ya – they hate wars, don’t they?) movement in the United States: Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of J Street, who rejected the BDS’ methods, saying the “best way of addressing Israel’s problems is with love and concern, not big stick,” (of course, good luck to you if you believe him). Ken Bob of Ameinu, Debra DeLee of Americans for Peace Now (not only peace, they want, but peace now!) and Daniel Sokatch of the New Israel Fund (you know all about these “peaceniks and do-gooders,” don’t you?) Also present was Member of Knesset (Labor Party, of course, who else would participate in such an “anti-Israeli” event?) Merav Michaeli, who joined with Rabbi Sharon Brous and UCLA History Professor David Myers in discussing the responsibility of American Jews for Israel’s future. (Don’t make me laugh: send money, lots of it, and shut the… up!) But let’s cut it here, since the list of “anti-Israel” traitors went on and on.

What did they say, you ask? What did they talk about, you wonder? Isn’t it sublimely obvious? I heard it being said that “Jews are stake-holders in the state of Israel.” And that “One person’s meddling (in Israel’s affairs, that it), is another person’s “constructive engagement.” Constructive engagement?… Give us a break, will you? It is our way or the highway. Forget about being included in the “Big Tent.” Only people, organizations, who think and speak the way we do – the camp of the “flag-waving simpleton patriots” – can be include in that Jewish tent. I’d rather concentrate instead and have my full attention, close-up and spotlight directed not at them and their peace-loving, “anti-Israeli” rhetoric, but on a single individual. My “star” if you will, the young woman (who else?) of my dream and film, was Rachel Cohen. Yes, that’s her real name, not her Hollywood screen name. And admit it, you couldn’t find even if you look for a more Israeli, Jewishly name. (With a name like that, on second thought, she must be “anti-Israeli.”) She – in her early twenties, I believe, a student at Johns Hopkins University – was the chairperson of the afford mentioned Plenary Session titled: “Beyond the Tent: What’s the American Jewish Community’s Responsibilities Toward Israel’s Future?” And in that role, which she performed convincingly and magnificently, she represented, as a student board member, J Street U.

Now you may ask, and rightly so, what in hell is “J Street U?” Another “anti-Israeli,” “anti-Zionist” organization? You bet ya. But let me tell you: J Street U is America’s fastest-growing Jewish student movement, representing 7500 students in 50 campus chapters. It is the magnet for liberal-minded (told ya) Jewish students who cannot see themselves toeing the loyalist pro-Israel lines taken by the more conservative campus groups such as AIPAC, Stand With Us, and Aish Hatorah. That said it all, don’t you think? Young Jewish students throughout the land dare to think for themselves when it comes to Israel, can you imagine, instead of blindly being horse-led to the water trough. And “fastest-growing.” I just couldn’t stand it anymore and turned off my camera.

But allow me, finally, to end with the credits of my “documentary” film: “J Street is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans fighting for the future of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people. We believe that Israel’s Jewish and democratic character depends on the two-state solution, resulting in a Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and security.” Fade to black. Can you believe all these “lies?” All these voices of peace and appeasement? Not me. I need a good war. War Now!

About the Author
Hillel Damron is the author of novels, essays, and short stories—one which won the 2011 ‘Moment Magazine Memoire Contest.’ He studied films at the ‘London Film School’ and became the film director of TV documentaries, a feature film, and video shorts. He was the Executive Director of the ‘Hillel House at UC Davis'. He was an elite IDF paratroops unit officer who was wounded in battle; he was born in kibbutz Hephzibah to parents who survived the Holocaust.