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Sunday, March 23, 2014

So what if he apologized?

I trust that many of you have been following the saga of the Harvard students who visited Yasser Arafat's grave, and had a smiley group picture taken there, as part of a trip to Israel funded by the Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies (that's the picture above). For those who have not followed the story, a web site called Truth Revolt broke it here. Barry Schrage, the President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, attacked Truth Revolt as a bunch of 'extreme' bloggers with an agenda, and as being on the 'fringes' of the pro-Israel community here. When the issue wouldn't go away, Schrage apologized and said he was 'shocked' by the visit here. Ronn Torossian says that apology is not good enough.
Imagine if a black leader led a group of students in a trip where they took a picture in front of the grave of a KKK leader who had lynched African-Americans?
Instead, try to imagine that an American Jewish leader (who is paid $482,000 by a Jewish philanthropy) took a pilgrimage to the grave of Baruch Goldstein and explained Goldstein’s “narrative.” When challenged, imagine said leader defended his action. 
Do you think in either scenario said leader would remain employed?
Now, stop imagining. Barry Shrage, the president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies - Greater Boston's Jewish Federation - chose to defend a visit by a group of Harvard students to pay tribute at Palestinian Arab leader Yasser Arafat's grave. Arafat was an arch-terrorist, a mass murderer - of course, much revered by the PA - and despite it, Shrage apparently had no problem with participating in the glorification of his memory, opting instead to attack those who called out the visit.  Awful and despicable behavior.
The extremist is Shrage, whose actions and behavior are well beyond the pale. Even those Jews and Israelis who support the peace process do not believe that Arafat was someone whose grave they can visit, let alone someone to admire.
While students blog on the Harvard College Israel Trek blog that “Our intention was not to honor Arafat, but rather to learn about the Palestinian narrative, of which Arafat is an important part,” donors to the Federation and Hillel are paying for young people to smile in front of the grave of a mass murderer. What, exactly, did they learn? Just what Aunt Annie must have in mind when writing her annual check to the UJA.
I'll go a step further. In the aftermath of Oslo, the Israeli government spent a fortune trying to teach Israelis to 'understand the 'Palestinian' viewpoint.' The 'Palestinians' spent zero on trying to teach 'Palestinians' to understand the Israeli viewpoint. Instead, the 'Palestinians' did just the opposite: They incited their population to believe that if they murdered Jews they would reach a paradise.

We don't have to go that far. But I don't believe that Jewish federation money ought to be spent on understand the 'Palestinian' viewpoint at all - let alone on visits to the grave of a mass murderer - at least until such time as aid money to the 'Palestinians' from the international community (and not just from Israel) is specifically earmarked and used for understanding the Jewish narrative - the bible, the Holocaust and everything in between. Until then, all we are doing is making ourselves vulnerable while strengthening our enemies. And yes, the 'Palestinians' are our enemies.
Read the whole thing.

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