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When Rabbis Spread Anti-Israel Libel

American Jewish progressives launch a new front in the propaganda war. (Also read Ron Radosh on The NY Times' Schizophrenic Reporting and Phyllis Chesler: Truth on Trial)

by
Abraham H. Miller

Bio

January 27, 2009 - 12:40 am

“Rabbis shouldn’t get involved in politics because then everyone will be able to see how stupid they really are.” Seldom has the truth of this aphorism been more apparent than with the recent signing of rabbis on to the Brit Tzedek “Letter to Obama.”

Although a self-proclaimed human rights organization, Brit Tzedek is nothing more than another progressive interest group whose policies are designed to demolish Israel’s existence. Brit Tzedek advocates Israel’s retreat to the pre-1967 boundaries (Abba Eban’s “Auschwitz borders”) and equates, in the form of moral equivalence, the targeting of Hamas terrorists with the targeting of Israeli school children.

Brit Tzedek’s primary weapon is documenting Israeli human rights abuses, real and imaginary. No accusation against Israel is too incredible. No source too questionable.

In Brit Tzedek’s mindset, since there is no human rights crime of which Israel is incapable, every accusation must be true. The Brit Tzedek narrative is that Palestinian hatred of Israel is justified because of the abuses the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of the Israelis. In this, its ideology is identical to the more extreme Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Israeli civilians murdered by suicide bombers or living under the trauma of random rocket attacks in Sderot are immune from Brit Tzedek’s compassion. The question a Sderot law student posed of the United Nations Human Rights Council as to why there is a total lack of concern for the human rights of people like her could be posed to Brit Tzedek. And the implicit answer would be the same: Israelis are not deserving of human rights.

How then does Brit Tzedek get hundreds of rabbis to sign its “Letter to Obama”? The petition is seemingly innocuous. It asks for a special envoy to solve the Palestinian conflict. It condemns the Bush administration for its eight years of alleged inaction regarding the conflict.

Among liberal rabbis the idea of taking a stick and poking it in the eye of the past administration is too appealing to resist. Besides, liberal rabbis want to be on the side of “peace,” even if that peace is nothing more than an aspiration long contradicted by reality, even if the disseminator of the petition embraces a larger belief system that would lead to Israel’s destruction. Most rabbis who signed on didn’t care that the same rabbis who started Brit Tzedek’s Obama letter also authored the earlier pro-Hamas letter to Obama.

As for the content itself, the idea of peace between Arabs and Israelis being made by a special envoy is ludicrous. There has been no shortage of special envoys. Even now, the Middle East Quartet has former British Prime Minister Tony Blair serving in that position. Dennis Ross has been a special envoy, as has James Wolfensohn, who negotiated Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, which led to a dramatic increase in both Hamas’ rocket attacks and random shootings that caused the current war in Gaza.

What neither the “useful idiot” rabbis nor their enablers in the mainstream Jewish organizations want to confront is that such seemingly innocuous petitions have a political purpose. Brit Tzedek needs legitimacy. Getting rabbis to sign on to its platitudes for peace accomplishes that goal. Challenging those rabbis is something that, at least in my own community, many in the Jewish organizations are too cowardly to do.

Within practically hours of Brit Tzedek’s publishing of the newest list of idiot rabbis, Brit Tzedek was again immersed in the dissemination of another Jewish blood libel, the use of white phosphorous by the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza — an accusation, incidentally, it recycled from Israel’s war with Hezbollah.

White phosphorous, contrary to Brit Tzedek, is not totally prohibited from use in warfare under international law. Even the International Red Cross, no friend of Israel, acknowledges that Israel’s use of white phosphorous in Gaza did not violate the rules of warfare.

While Brit Tzedek, sustained in legitimacy by the rabbis who sign their petition, was falsely accusing Israel of war crimes, it was conspicuously silent about Hamas’ use of Gaza’s civilians to hide behind or Hamas’ use of Gaza’s main hospital as a place to hide its heroic leaders, who are eager for other people to meet Allah as martyrs, but reluctant to do so themselves.

In the course of the twenty days of Israel’s incursion into Gaza to stop the random death raining down on Israel’s southern cities, there have been numerous stories of the heroism of young Israeli soldiers. There is no doubt that Israel has the will to triumph over its enemies. The question is not whether Israel can defeat the Islamists on her borders, but whether Israel can survive the propaganda war being launched by American Jewish progressives, useful idiot rabbis, and the pusillanimous paper-pushers that have found comfortable sinecures in mainstream Jewish organizations.

 

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.
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