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Friday, December 25, 2009

Is opposing J Street anti-Semitic?

During a visit to Jerusalem this past week, President Obumbler's head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism blasted Michael Oren's remarks about the pro-Israel, pro-'peace' J-Street lobby as 'unfortunate.'
In an interview with Haaretz in Jerusalem, where Rosenthal was the administration's envoy to the Foreign Ministry's Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Rosenthal, who once served on J street's board of directors, said she opposes blurring the lines between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.

"It is not 1939," she said. "We have the state of Israel. We have laws in countries that are holding people accountable."
Really? Which laws? In what countries? Surely not in Sweden, for example.
While the U.S. administration embraced J Street, which lends its unqualified support to U.S. President Barack Obama, the Israeli government turned a cold shoulder to the group. Obama's national security adviser, General James Jones, gave the keynote speech at the conference, while Israel sent a low-level official, claiming that J Street works against Israel's interests.

Rosenthal, who also served on the board of directors of left-wing group Americans for Peace Now, said she believed Oren "would have learned a lot" if he had participated in J Street's conference.

"I came away realizing what a generational divide there is and I don't know how it is in Israel. Young people want to be part of the discussion, they feel they have fresh ideas and they feel that we have to end the stalemate," she said.

Rosenthal strongly believes that new and different voices need to be heard regarding Israel in the American Jewish community.

"We need to have as many people coming together to try and put an end to this crisis, the matzav [situation] can not continue - it's unacceptable and that's why I always paid my membership to AIPAC, but I have always paid my membership to Americans for Peace Now - because they all need to be supported and they all need to be at the table."

"We may disagree on different paths to get there - but we need to at least admit that peace is the goal and security is the goal," she said.
The situation here may not be acceptable but the reality here is that it's not coming to an end anytime soon either. The 'Palestinians' want to obliterate us from the face of the earth. Peaceniks like Rosenthal don't get that.

Ironically, as you may recall, Michael Oren favors unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, which puts him far closer to the Obama administration's views than about 96% of Israel's Jews. But even Oren understands that opposing sanctions on Iran is over the line. Rosenthal - and her boss in the White House - apparently do not.

Rosenthal's remarks lead to the conclusion that while opposing Israel is not anti-Semitic, opposing J Street is, because it ostensibly excludes some Jews from the public political debate on Israel. She doesn't address the double standard that J Street poses by excluding all opposing viewpoints from its events. Whatever, there are some viewpoints that are so repulsive that we should not be obligated to hear them.

Martin Luther King believed that in this day and age, non-Jews who oppose Israel do so out of anti-Semitism, and indeed, one look at the signs at any anti-Israel rally in Europe or the US ought to be enough to convince anyone with an open mind that the protesters are motivated by anti-Semitism and not 'just' by anti-Zionism. On the other hand, for Israelis and their true supporters, opposing and discrediting the Saudi-funded J Street, which does not take Israel's existence for granted, and which is uncomfortable with calling itself pro-Israel, is a sine qua non. Not to mention that many of J Street's 'Jewish' supporters may not be halachically Jewish anyway.

No wonder so much of the American Jewish community opposed Rosenthal's appointment. Her views are way out of the Jewish mainstream.

Read the whole thing.

Rosenthal was slammed by Jewish leaders across the board for her remarks - even by leaders who support Obama.
"I was surprised to see an official of the American government commenting on the positions taken by Ambassador Oren," said Alan Solow, who is a long-time supporter of US President Barack Obama, is considered close to the administration, and is the chairman of the New York-based Conference of Presidents.

Rosenthal's comments "go beyond her responsibilities," he said, and reflected only her "personal feelings."

"I've had any number of conversations with people in the administration who interact regularly with Ambassador Oren, and they have spoken very highly of him. The comments are especially inappropriate given the fact that the administration is actively involved in trying to advance the peace process and its relationship with Israel on a variety of fronts," he added.

Josh Block, a spokesman for AIPAC, the largest Israel advocacy group in Washington, said "AIPAC totally agrees with the sentiment expressed by Alan Solow and the Conference of Presidents, and those views are widely held by members of the Conference."

A senior Jewish official in Washington who asked to remain anonymous called the Rosenthal interview, published in Haaretz on Thursday, "a very troubling occurrence. I can't recall a circumstance in which an American diplomat criticized an ambassador of any country in such a significant way."

The official said news reports that Jewish leaders are calling the White House to protest the interview "are accurate."

Another senior Jewish official who asked not to be named called her comments "unfair to [Oren]."
Something tells me she won't keep her mouth shut the next time either.


At 5:26 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Rosenthal should be disqualified from her post by being intermarried. and isn't typical of Osama supporting Jews to have married out or to be mischlinge. In Israel there is no better litmus test for ones commitment than yerida. Intermarriage is the American equivalent. I suppose becoming a kapo or member of a Judenraat was the german equivalent

At 7:59 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Michael Oren's point was not directed towards differences of opinion about making peace, on which decent people can and do have differences. His point was about having a unified outlook on Israel's survival. On that there can and should be no differences of view whatsoever.

Hannah Rosenthal doesn't get it.


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