You would think that after all these years, and after thousands upon thousands of Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews, American Jewish “peace” groups would have figured out how to write a simple, straightforward condemnation of the terrorists.
But the recent Jerusalem bombings demonstrate that the leaders of the U.S. Jewish left are still choosing politics over simple human decency.
Simple human decency is all you should need to be able to clearly and unequivocally condemn a murderous bombing attack by terrorists. I mean a condemnation that does not have any qualifiers, excuses, or rationalizations. A condemnation that names the perpetrators and names the victims. A condemnation that does not exploit the latest round of horrible human suffering to advance some cheap political agenda.
Yet somehow the leaders of the American Jewish left just couldn’t do it.
Like the rest of us, they woke up on the morning of November 23 to the news of two bombings along pedestrian walkways near the entrance to Jerusalem and the city’s Ramot neighborhood.
As is the standard practice of Palestinian Arab terrorists, the bombs were packed with nails and screws, in order to ensure that the maximum number of Jews would be murdered or maimed.
A teenager on his way to school was killed and a father of six died of his wounds several days later.
The nature of the attack left Jewish supporters of the Palestinian Arab cause without any way to make excuses. It was not an attack on “Zionist soldiers” or “evil settlers.” There were no “occupiers” in the vicinity. Israel’s left-of-center caretake prime minister, Yair Lapid, had not done anything to “provoke” the terrorists. Lapid’s coalition partners, the Labor and Meretz parties, are still advocating sweeping Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Arabs, even in their final days in the governing coalition.
So how could any Jewish group respond with anything except an explicit, unequivocal, non-political condemnation?
The largest of the American Jewish “peace” groups, J Street, condemned the “terrorist bombings.” But it refused to name the perpetrators. It refused to acknowledge that Palestinian Arabs did it. It refused to admit why they did it.
Not only that, but after its weak and perfunctory condemnation of the attack (by unidentified attackers), J Street quickly pivoted to “both-sidesism.” Violence “only lead to more pain, suffering and loss for both Israelis and Palestinians.” Just like all that violence in World War II led to “suffering and loss” for both Jews and Germans, I suppose.
By the third paragraph of its pseudo-condemnation, J Street was in full political exploitation mode: “We urge our own US government to take every possible action to help Israelis and Palestinians reduce tensions, prevent further violence and suffering, and chart a path away from the abyss.”
This, of course, is J Street’s raison d’être: to get the United States to pressure Israel into making more concessions to the Arabs. Sure, it’s wrapped in sugary phrases about “reducing tension,” but the unshakeable agenda of J Street always has been to get the U.S. to put more pressure on Israel. And so. the Jerusalem bombings becomes just another convenient excuse to return to that despicable agenda.
The response of Americans for Peace Now (APN) was just as bad. Their measly statement was just 61 words long. It was as if the folks at APN didn’t want to be bothered with the whole thing; they just wanted to dash off a sentence or two lest anybody criticize them for being silent.
Following in J Street’s footsteps, Peace Now refused to acknowledge that the bombers were Palestinian Arabs. In fact, APN did not even call them “terrorists”—just “the perpetrators.” Pathetic.
Finally, there was the response of Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI), the U.S. support group for Israel’s Meretz Party. Actually, I shouldn’t dignify it with the world “response,” because there was no response at all. No statement about the Jerusalem attacks appears on the PPI website.
Oh, there are press releases on the website about various subjects—just not any subjects that might reflect badly on the Palestinian Arabs. Some weeks ago, PPI issued an angry denunciation of Prime Minister Yair Lapid for ordering the shutdown of terror-affiliated organizations in Jerusalem. That condemnation doesn’t look particularly wise in the aftermath of the bombing attacks just down the street last week.
They also issued two pre-election press releases about how the Meretz Party “got its groove back” with a new leader, Zehava Galon, who had “rescued the party from political oblivion.” That prediction likewise doesn’t look too clever, in the aftermath of an election in which Meretz did not win a single seat in the Knesset. Are PPI’s leaders in such deep mourning over the elections that they weren’t paying attention to the bombings in Jerusalem?
The response of these leaders of the American Jewish left to the Jerusalem bombings is disgraceful. There’s no other word for it. It’s as if they have lost the human ability to feel empathy for Jewish victims of Arab terrorism. Their moral callousness is as tragic as it is outrageous.
Stephen M. Flatow, is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is author of the book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”