Promoting de-legitimisers of Israel – or the new adventures of Rabbi Jacobs in hypocritical progressive land.

Despite the very well publicised revelations about the significant contributions made by New Israel Fund funded NGOs to the thoroughly dishonest Goldstone report alleging Israeli war crimes in Operation Cast Lead, the New Israel Fund continues to give material support to organisations involved in organising boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns – including also those promoting “lawfare” against a large number of individuals who have served in the various operations against terrorists conducted by the IDF. It thus continues to be necessary to expose this policy of the NIF and its apologists among an unfortunately increasing number of Jewish communal leaders who like to think of themselves and/or be thought of as “progressive”. (In this connection, the scandal of some communal funds going to Jewish Voice for Peace, a movement which uses systematic harassment and intimidation against defenders of Israel to promote BDS, deserves wider publicity.)

The NIF’s overwhelming tendency to support not those Israeli Arab citizens and organisations which fully accept Israel’s legitimacy, but those, like Adalah, who utterly reject it, has perhaps been less publicised.    Some staunch supporters of Israel’s legitimacy like Father Gabriel Naddaf or Muhammad Zoabi (an Israeli-Arab teenager who is a cousin of Israel-hating parliamentarian Haneen Zoabi and was forced to go into hiding) have as a result of their brave stance found themselves and/or their families the object of serious physical threats.   Instead of giving these admirable people the maximum amount of support, however, various American Jewish leaders have continued to make friendly overtures to individuals like Ayman Odeh, current leader of the anti-Zionist Joint Arab list.

Its party platform, it should be recalled, calls for a “just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem that would guarantee the right of return according to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.” – i.e that Israel should be forced to admit large numbers of so-called refugees.   For good measure, it further demands Israel dismantle the settlements and the “racist separation wall” and release Palestinian political prisoners – i.e those guilty of direct or indirect involvement in murder or attempted murder to promote their belief that Israel should be destroyed.

Far from condemning the crimes committed during the so-called “knife intifada” or challenging the lies about Israel’s supposed evil intentions concerning the Temple Mount, Aymen Odeh has showed repeatedly that he can be just as much an agitator as Haneen Zoabi – for all his ability to use moderate language to create the deceptive image of a peace-maker. He has refused to condemn the murderous attacks against his fellow citizens and thus show – at least occasionally – a degree of moral decency.

Would the Conference of Presidents have gone ahead with the meeting with Odeh if its important leaders had not felt humiliated by the latter, who claimed falsely that the Jewish Agency (which can of course be criticised legitimately and honestly, like any other over-bureaucratised organisation) is guilty of “displacing” Israel’s Arab citizens? It seems to be hedging its bets in its statement of the 10th December. On the one hand it says:” We now understand the recent demand of the Mayor of the Nazareth, Ali Salem, that Odeh leave his city because his presence promotes divisiveness”. It also says, however: “As a leader, he cannot succumb to the pressures of extremists in his constituency, but should take advantage of such opportunities to provide his perspective, and that of those he represents, to an important and interested audience.”

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, however – despite mildly criticising Odeh for declining to participate in a meeting with the Conference of Presidents because of the presence of Zionist offices in the building in question – said this about the leader of the Joint Arab List, whom he felt honoured to receive on the 8th December: “MK Odeh has an inspiring vision for a brighter future for Israelis and Palestinians. We were delighted to host MK Odeh in one of our leading houses of worship, to share with him the beauty, history, and activism of our Reform Movement and to discuss together our shared commitment to a vision of Israel that draws from the prophets of justice and righteousness for all”

This religious leader has made a name for himself, inter alia, by his increasingly frequent sanctimonious and harsh criticisms of Israel and its society, including – as Isi Leibler eloquently demonstrated in his article about the fake “martyrdom” of J-Street – his somewhat dishonest defence of this anti-Israel “Trojan horse” lobby group.  



P.S. Two Haifa University students and activists belonging to the university branch of the Joint Arab List (Balad faction) tried to disrupt a lecture by renowned Egyptian academic, Dr. Omer Salem, a researcher of religions, who had come to speak in front of psychology students about coexistence. Inspiring behaviour, Rabbi Jacobs?

About the Author
Paul Leslie is an occasional independent journalist and researcher, living in London. He has degrees from Exeter College, Oxford University and the Sorbonne (history of the Jews of Algeria and Tunisia, in two different colonial systems). Paul Leslie is am a fan of cinema – all genres – and is passionately interested in modern history.