Ted BelmanThe author is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.
A week ago I had an exchange with a "macher" from Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) about Peace Now.
I objected to CIJA embracing them.
Yesterday I was asked to make my case in advance of a meeting of CIJA this week where the matter is to be discussed. Here’s what I wrote.
1.CIJA exists in part to “increase support for Israel”. Let that be the measuring stick for whether to embrace, in some fashion, Peace Now.
2.Peace Now has a big worldwide presence and a small Israeli presence. Most of their financial support comes from outside Israel. It has little support in Israel.
3. According to them, they are against the settlement project and support a peace deal based on the ’67 lines. Certainly many people and governments around the world share their view but the vast majority of Israelis don’t.
]4.Their focus is to fight the policies of the duly elected government in Israel that in any way support the settlement project.
Though they say they are against the BDS movement being applied to Israel, they are not against it applying to Judea and Samaria. As I mentioned to you before, the purpose of the movement is to create a platform to delegitimize and demonize Israel.
It matters little if they actually get anyone to boycott Israel. They succeed when they get more people, especially our young, to hate Israel.
Just recently in New York, Peace Now held a conference at which Mandy Patinkin was given an award and gave a speech.
“The Statesman for Health Award is being given to a man who helped the virulently anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace support the boycott of Ariel Cultural Center.
Mandy Patinkin not only supported the Ariel boycott, he allowed his name to be used to recruit other celebrities to vilify the cultural center in the Jewish town of Ariel. Some statesman.
Patinkin has done more than simply sign a letter of support for artists boycotting a cultural center in Israel, he has also assisted in a fundraiser forJewish Voice for Peace, and has long been a national board member of Americans for Peace Now.
They succeed when they get more people, especially our young, to hate Israel.
Just last year, at a conference in Israel he talked about having had "his eyes opened" while on a tour of Hevron with his good friends from Breaking the Silence, an organization committed to demonizing the Israel Defense Forces as a military force of terror, bent on acquiring territory, and not a defensive, ethical military.
This is just one example of the reality.
Now when J-Street was created they went about redefining what it is to be pro-Israel. I wrote about it at the time (Redefining “What it means to be pro-Israel” and The Battle to redefine “Pro-Israel”)
They believe that to be pro-Palestinian, which they are, is to be pro-Israel. [To my mind this is rather Orwellian but you may not think so.] They are constantly fighting for Palestinian rights even when such rights are questionable.
AIPAC normally supports the policies of the Israeli government. Nothing less would be pro-Israel. You may disagree and prefer to fight against the government’s policies believing that in doing so you know better than the democratically elected representatives of the government.
In Israel, Peace Now is a fringe group with barely any support. They get a better reception in the Diaspora.
There are many groups on the right that have a much larger following than Peace Now and who support Jewish rights to Judea and Samaria.
My guess is that you wouldn’t host their speakers as you will those from Peace Now because they have been made to seem extreme for fighting for Jewish rights.
In any event, based on their support in Israel and the fact that they don’t support BDS and do defend Jews, they are far more worthy of your support.
It's not easy being non-partisan.