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.