In the social media there is much debate about what Israel should do in face of terrorism and missile attacks against her citizens. Commonly, Israelis sparring with Jews who live outside the country, tell the non-Israelis to come live here, pay taxes here, endure the terrorism and hostilities first-hand, and perhaps even enlist in the IDF -- and then give an opinion of how Israel should conduct herself.
One of the particularly vocal collections of American Jews who tell Israel what to do is JStreet. The organization describes itself as pro-Israeli, pro-American, pro-Two-State-Solution. Other similar organizations, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Ifnotnow, and American Friends of Combatants for Peace, say they hold the same position.
On 5 August, when the latest round of hostilities began, JStreet issued a press release in which they acknowledged that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), that is launching missiles against Israeli civilian population centers at this very moment, is a terrorist organization and that Israel, like every other sovereign nation, has the right to defend itself. At the same time, they called on Egypt and the USA to do everything possible to restore calm and prevent escalation of the conflict.
In other words, they are pleading with other countries to force a return to the status quo ante.
This is what has happened in every Israeli operation to date: Hamas or another terrorist entity in Gaza begins launching missiles over the border at Israeli citizens using any excuse to “retaliate” against the “occupation regime.” At a certain point, sometimes sooner/sometimes later, Israel responds with strikes against the organization’s infrastructure and military leadership. THEN, the anti-Israel propaganda moves into full gear and there are demands to stop the firing.
Looking on the hostilities from across the ocean, perhaps it can seem reasonable to ask both sides to cease fire.
However, Israelis living with the consequences of a ceasefire oppose this. The ceasefire allows the terrorist organizations to remain standing, and it provides them with a respite during which they can re-arm themselves for another round of hostilities at a time of their choosing. Most Israelis are frustrated with this outcome. They want a more decisive conclusion to the fighting, in which the terrorist organizations are not just crippled but extinguished.
This raises the question: What would JStreet do if its members lived in Israel?
There is actually an easy answer to that question. They would do exactly what some so-called pro-peace co-existence Israeli NGOs are doing – demand that Israel stop.
One example is the organization Standing Together.
Standing Together issued the following call to action:
They invited Arabs and Jews to demonstrate in Umm el Fahm, Haifa, Rahat, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Sde Yaakov, to rise up and stand against this “useless war.”
They claim that “another round of hostilities will not bring peace but the opposite: more dead Palestinian Arabs and Israelis. More hate and more bloodshed, more children dying in Gaza or anxiously sleeping in shelters in southern Israel, more politicians who build themselves up while exploiting fear and hatred and more desperation, racism and destruction of society.”
They demand: “an end to the occupation, removal of the blockade of Gaza, and building a brave and just peace with hope and equal rights and independence for two peoples.”
Details refuting that Israeli is “occupying” any territories, or that Israel is maintaining a blockade on Gaza, are beyond the scope of this article and can be found elsewhere. The important point here is that members of JStreet in the USA would find themselves perfectly at home in Israel with the NGO Standing Together.
Or would they? According to the one or two news reports on the demonstrations and the Facebook posts by journalist Furat Nassar, about 100 or fewer (mostly under 10 or 20) protesters showed up in each of the locations. If JStreet members, inspired perhaps by memories of the huge anti-Vietnam-War protests, expected a similar swell of demonstrators, they would have been sorely disappointed.
Would JStreet members have remained unmoved by the clearly anti-Israel, not anti-war, tone of the demonstrations, at least the one in Haifa?
Israeli blogger Forest Rain was at the Haifa demonstration. In her Facebook post, she wrote that of the Arabic she could understand, this is what she heard:
From Haifa liberation will come
From Haifa to Jenin, we are one people.
Something about arch terrorist Muhammad Def
Something about Hamas
They called out to Yahya Sinwar. Were they asking him to let Hamas join Islamic Jihad in attacking Israel? I don't know.
They called out: Zakaria, Zakaria (obviously referring to terror leader Zakaria Zubeidi)
And a list of towns that they declared are Arab - including and especially Jerusalem
Time and time again, we find that pro-peace demonstrations are camouflage for opposition to the existence of the Jewish state in toto.
There were Jews at the Haifa demonstration, one waving the PLO flag. They did not move away when the Arabs chanted their cries for the decimation of Israel. It is clear, therefore, that just living here, paying taxes here, being targets of terrorism and missiles are not enough to explain how naïve Jews can think that the issue is really over so-called “land for peace.”
Thankfully, those protesting the war, thinking that negotiations would get us anywhere, are a miniscule minority of the Israeli population. JStreet can stay in the USA, shouting out how they think that we Israelis should be running our country, in synch with that very small minority. The rest of us will make sure there is a Jewish state still standing should they ever decide that this is the best place for a Jew to live.
Sheri Ozis a freelance writer whose articles appear on major websites. She lives in Israel and blogs at Israel Diaries