Monday, April 19, 2010
Israel Memorial Day - in a Country that Suffers from Loss of Memory
1. Today, Israeli Memorial Day, on the front page of Haaretz is a large paid ad by a leftist group calling itself "The Council for Peace and Security" (without a doubt financed by the New Israel Fund). It is a small group of leftist military officers who have never been court martialed for using their military rank to promote leftist politics. The main slogan in the ad is this: "If WE behave like a 'partner' – then a 'partner' from the other side will be found."
I think that this simple slogan captures better than anything else just what went wrong with Israel. It was the belief that if the Jews are nice, then the Arabs will seek to make peace with the Jews. And after the Jews really were nice and abandoned southern Lebanon to the terrorists and abandoned Gaza to the terrorists and received thousands of rockets as payment for their niceness, the position of the Left has not changed one iota. The conflict continues because Jews have not been nice ENOUGH, have not capitulated ENOUGH!
This is a reposting of an older item I sent around exactly 10 years ago for Israel Memorial Day (slightly modified):
Today is Memorial Day in Israel and right after it comes Independence Day. I have believed for years that the best way to commemorate these days is by turning them into a battle against the loss of perspective.
Memorial Day is the more troubling of the two days. The problem is that Israelis have lost their sense of Jewish perspective to such an extreme extent, and this becomes glaringly evident on Memorial Day. Israelis are incapable of viewing their problems and that of the state within the perspective of Jewish history. In large part, this is because of the efforts of the radically secularist Israeli Left, which dominates civil discourse, the media, academia and politics, and seeks to detach all of Israel from Jewish history and to deny any connection between "Israeli-ness" and Judaism.
All of this is reflected in the whiny defeatism that dominates all thinking about the losses of life by Jews struggling for Israel's survival. It is blindingly apparent on Memorial Day.
First of all, the atmosphere of Memorial Day in Israel resembles that of Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom Hashoah - in nearly all things: the same siren, the same closing of cafes and restaurants, the same conversion of the media into official mourners. The timing is also suggestive - Memorial Day is exactly a week after Yom Hashoah. If anything, Memorial Day is the more dramatic of the two days, as there are two sirens sounded on Memorial Day, but only one on Yom Hashoah. And this is not because the loss of soldiers is "more recent". The bulk of soldiers killed in Israel's wars, far more than half, died in the 1948-9 War of Independence, only three years after the end of the Holocaust.
The two juxtaposed days equate the Holocaust with a tragedy that is two six-hundredths its size.
Second, all sense of proportion has been lost. In all of Israel's wars, something like 21,000 soldiers and civilians died, although thanks to the Oslo team the civilians have dominated the death toll this past decade. These numbers are similar to the numbers of Jews murdered every two days in Auschwitz at the height of its "efficiency". Furthermore, the soldiers killed in Israel, of course, died in valor, defending their people and country. Their deaths were tragic, but also dignified and heroic.
Here we are, 66 years after the Holocaust, and the country is still gripped with the Grand Oslo Delusion, still trying to "negotiate" with the Palestinian Nazis instead of achieving total military victory over them, afraid to follow the lead of the Americans in Fallujah and Afghanistan.
In 21st century Israel, the fact that one or two soldiers got killed per week in Lebanon was cause for total unilateral surrender to the Hizbollah and its Syrian masters and for a panic-stricken retreat out of Lebanon to Israel's "international border". Two deaths a week of soldiers in Lebanon, deaths that indeed could have been prevented had the country's leadership the courage to do so, were thought to be sufficient reason for abandoning all rationality and determination, and for putting all of northern Israel under threat of massive bombardment from Hizbollah rockets. The Israeli flight from Lebanon produced a rain of 4000 Katyusha rockets on Haifa and Northern Israel in 2006. On the other front, Palestinians tossing rocks at soldiers in the 1980s were sufficient reason adopt "Oslo" in the 1990s, where Israel imported an Islamofascist terrorist army of its sworn enemies into the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
"Oslo" Israel is post-survivalist Israel, defeatist Israel, exhausted Israel. "Oslo" was based on a total loss in the ability of many Israelis to reason rationally, a total loss of historic proportion, a relinquishment of reality for a make-pretend imaginary universe, and a complete loss in the Jewish determination to survive as a nation. First and foremost, it was a complete loss in Jewish self-respect and dignity in Israel. Here we had the spectacle of Israeli leaders meeting, back-slapping and kissing the same Arab fascists who murdered Jewish children and only yesterday denied there had ever been a Holocaust. The same Palestinians at the same time insisting that if there HAD been a Holocaust, then the Jews deserved it. The Israeli media continue to be the occupied territory of Israel's extremist Left; the Independence Day issue of Haaretz a couple of years back featured a banner Op-Ed by columnist Akiva Eldar entitled "To the Glory of the States of Israel and Palestine," and explaining that Israel will never be truly independent until Palestine has pushed Israel behind its 1949 borders and liberated East Jerusalem. He is not even the most extremist anti-Israel writer in Israeli journalism. (Nor the most involved in espionage!)
In Orwellian "Oslo" Israel, defeatism became the greatest form of triumphalism, cowardice became the highest form of courage, and McCarthyism was the greatest expression of democracy, at least in the first few years after the Rabin assassination.
The Israeli military was as blinded by the loss in perspective as the rest of the country. The military leadership has been McClellenist since 1992, and was - if anything - ahead of the rest of the country in saying amen to the Left's vision of "Oslo" and backing the national suicidal ambitions of the politicians of the Left. The military brass was louder than the media in demanding a unilateral unconditional surrender of Israel in Lebanon and relinquishing of the Golan to Syria. Military intelligence has never quite gotten around to the point where it discovers that the PLO is a genocidal terrorist group and that there are no longer any differences between the Hamas and the PLO, if there ever were.
New Israel Fund: Supporting Israel's Destruction, One NGO at a Time?
Posted By Abraham H. Miller On April 15, 2010 @ 12:03 am In Column 2, Israel, Middle East, World News
Like every person who reads the Jewish Forward , I received an email solicitation on April 1, 2010, from Daniel Sokatch, chief executive officer of the New Israel Fund  (NIF). If I want to save Israeli democracy from the threat of the ultra-orthodox and the settlers, the solicitation informs me, I should sign an email petition  for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
No, it wasn't an April Fool's joke, and I immediately thought about who would save Israel from Daniel Sokatch and the NIF.
The NIF and the NGOs it funds are under attack  in the Israeli Knesset. Sokatch wants American Jews to pressure the Israeli government to call off its investigation of the relationship between the NIF's NGO recipients and the infamous Goldstone Report. This is an uphill struggle for NIF, since the loudest calls for investigation are from Kadima, the Israeli centrist party.
As someone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and has experienced firsthand the effects of Sokatch's work here as the former CEO of the Jewish Community Federation, I strongly believe most of the members of this Jewish community would eagerly sign a petition that would encourage the Israeli government to pursue its investigation with all deliberate speed. If NIF is innocent of the accusations made against it, let it be exonerated within the democratic process it supports.
Sokatch was hired as CEO of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation  because some community leaders believed that a person with an ultra-progressive agenda could mobilize donors who shared his views. These community leaders also believed that exposure to the real world of pluralistic community politics would mature a person with well-honed leadership skills who was perceived as highly intelligent and talented, but politically naive.
None of that happened. There really aren't a lot of George Soroses out there, even in Berkeley, and people who spend their time railing against capitalism never seem to become terribly successful businessmen. But the biggest disappointment to some was that Sokatch, despite his obvious talents, seemed stuck in his ultra-progressive ideology.
Sokatch left his position at the Jewish Community Federation after only fourteen months. He might have been on his way to different pastures anyhow, but what seemed to seal his fate was last year's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival . Directed by Peter Stein, a man with an Israel-bashing agenda sustained by a compliant board, the festival showcased the crudely crafted documentary Rachel — a piece of vicious anti-Israel propaganda. The film lionized Rachel Corrie , the International Solidarity Movement militant who recklessly got in the way of an Israeli bulldozer.
Stein malevolently added insult to injury by giving the stage to Cindy Corrie, Rachel's mother, who added to the propaganda value of the film and took a few softball questions from Stein that would have embarrassed even Larry King.
A substantial segment of the film's audience was comprised of Israel-bashers who hurled anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic epithets at those who challenged the so-called "documentary." Free speech did not escape the heckler's veto that day.
Local Zionists demanded that the Jewish Community Federation, which contributes money to the film festival, do something about the outrage. Instead, Sokatch — who was also on the board of the festival — defended it.
A YouTube video  of the event, narrated by popular San Francisco radio personality John Rothman, made the email rounds and further underscored the outrage. The video showed in graphic detail the crude behavior of the progressive Hitler Youth that had descended on the festival. Lawrence White, a prominent local physician, echoed the sentiments of many when he squarely placed the blame for the rift in our community on Daniel Sokatch  for continuing to defend the showing of Rachel.
The film festival was not Sokatch's only legacy. Recently, the Associated Students of the University of California at Berkeley passed a divestiture resolution against Israel. The resolution was sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, routinely described as the most vicious anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic, group on campus. The progressive Jewish student group, Kesher Enoshi, has worked hand-in-glove with Students for Justice in Palestine. For years, the pro-Zionist students have argued unsuccessfully that Kesher Enoshi had no place at Hillel because of Hillel's pro-Zionist mandate.
The Jewish Community Federation is a substantial contributor to Hillel. Sokatch, as CEO of the Jewish Community Federation, was a supporter of both Kesher Enoshi and their place in Hillel. The NIF's view of Kesher Enoshi was summed up to me by one of NIF's local officers:
They are a group of wonderfully passionate people who are working out how to support Israel in a way consistent with their values. We should encourage their connection to Israel, which is all too rare.
The wonderfully passionate group with a connection to Israel worked with Students for Justice in Palestine to pass the divestiture resolution, and tried to overturn the student president's veto of the resolution .
NIF's support recently manifested elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay area, with Dalit Baum  and the Coalition of Women for Peace  (CWP) — an NGO supported by NIF. Baum, an Israeli, spoke in February at an event sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine. At the door, attendees were asked to sign a pledge that they would boycott Israeli goods. Subsequently, they were given a glossy brochure that asked for donations for the CWP, which were to be sent to the NIF's Washington office.
The brochure soliciting contributions lists eleven CWP allies, such as Machsom Watch , which interferes with Israeli soldiers  at checkpoints; Women in Black , which demonstrates against Israel's right to self-defense; New Profile , which encourages desertion from the Israeli Defense Forces; and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,  a group that sponsors lectures by Anna Baltzer .
She argues that violence against Israel is a natural reaction to Israeli oppression of Arabs.
Investigative journalist Lee Kaplan , who attended the meeting, notes that Baum boasted of causing Israelis to lose billions in export and investment revenue, and that her campaign is directed not just at the territories but at Israel itself.
If you object to giving money to groups that propose to cripple the Jewish state economically and interfere with its security, and network with other such groups, then it might be appropriate to send Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an email telling him that there is no greater antiseptic for a democratic society than the sunlight of public exposure, and no group should be immunized from it.
Investigate the New Israel Fund.
URLs in this post:
 Forward: http://www.forward.com/
 New Israel Fund: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6577
 an email petition: http://pajamasmedia.comStrengthen Israel's Democratic and Pluralistic Foundation
 under attack: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0210/glick020510.php3
 CEO of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation: http://www.sfjcf.org/aboutjcf/press/2008/sokatch.asp
 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: http://pajamasmedia.com../blog/self-loathing-at-the-san-francisco-jewish-film-festival
 blame for the rift in our community on Daniel Sokatch: http://sfjffwatch.blogspot.com/
 student president's veto of the resolution: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/57645/veto-throws-divest-from-israel-measure-into-question
 Dalit Baum: http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
 Coalition of Women for Peace: http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english
 Machsom Watch: http://www.machsomwatch.org/en
 interferes with Israeli soldiers: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/machsom_watch
 Women in Black: http://www.womeninblack.org/en/vigil
 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,: http://www.wilpf.org/US_WILPF
 Lee Kaplan: http://homelandsecurityus.com/archives/3660
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