Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."

The Crisis of American Zionism

by Jack Berger
And you may say in your heart, "My strength and the
might of my hand made me all this wealth." Then you
shall remember Hashem, your G-d that it was He Who
gave you strength to make wealth, in order to establish
His covenant that He swore to your forefathers… (Deut. 8:17)
Hear O Israel today you cross the Jordan to drive
out nations that are greater and mightier than you… But
know today that Hashem, your G-d – He crosses before
you… (Deut. 9:1-3)
Earlier this year a writer by the name of Peter Beinart wrote a somewhat
controversial book called The Crisis of Zionism where as the left usually does,
he took the side of Palestinian Authority / Hamas’ merry band of terrorists and
with the usual leftist harangue, surprise surprise, he criticized Israel. Along the
way, to gain a bit more notoriety, he got together with another left wing
criticizer of Israel, Rabbi "Saving Israel" Gordis. It is almost comical to see
these two characters in monologue together. As Gordis expounds adnauseam at
Holy Blossom Temple (which sounds more like a Baptist Church) "… the truth
is Peter there is a lot I agree with…we share the same liberal values…I
share your same Zionist values… I share with you your deep concern about
the undemocratic nature of the young Israeli electorate… their naked
hostility to Arabs…" and "I think Ovadia Yoseph is about as unsavory a
Jewish person as G-d ever put on the face of the earth…" Talk about lashon
horah, but Danny was playing to his crowd…in a Reform Temple Ortho-bashing
is a sure crowd pleaser. Yes in the childish minds of these two who could doubt
there would be a crisis in Zionism.
Gordis, a Modern Orthodox rabbi, is respectful of Halacha. As a walkingtalking
universalistic empathy machine he is respectful to all he meets, except it
seems when it comes to his own Jewish heritage when he condescendingly uses
the pejorative term of anti-Semites and Israel bashers "West Bank", when
referring to our Biblical homeland of Judea/Samaria. Gordis, the liberal
proponent of all humanity, can’t stop his diatribe when referring in his
derogatory manner to his fellow citizens of Israel as "settlers" ironically not
appreciating "the dose of nuance" that living in Gilo with his wife and children,
they are as much "settlers" to his "Palestinian" playmates as the other 6.4
million Jews who live in Israel, from the river to the sea. But Gordis these days
is busy. He is raising funds for a new liberal arts college for the Shalem
Foundation. Just what Israel needs is another liberal, left-wing transplant
institution (Jerusalem already has the Shalom Hartman Institute for all things
liberal and left) from the failure of liberal decaying American Jewish life.
But more recently, Rabbi Danny teamed up with 40 remnants of the
Israel Policy Forum (IPF) to write a letter of concern to the Prime Minister of
Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, regarding the conclusions of what was called the Levy
Committee, three international legal scholars, including a former Israeli
Supreme Court Judge, who were asked to give their opinion on the legality of
Jewish communal development in the areas of Judea/Samaria, also known in
our Torah as our Biblical homeland but to Israel despisers as the "West Bank".
The land where Abraham bought the fields and a cave from Ephron the Hittite
called Machpela, where King David began his reign as king of Israel, the land
Joshua crossed into, the land of our covenant, where Jews have lived
continuously during our peoples 4000 year history. One should remember Tel
Aviv, a wonderful modern monument to the Israeli spirit is not mentioned once
in the Torah nor is Herzliya, but we surely read that Abraham and David walked
the streets of Hevron, and Jacob fell asleep at a place called Bet El…Shilo,
Shechem, Tekoa and many other places are mentioned in our Torah which I’m
sure Rabbi Gordis must have read about on one Shabbat or another.
In the world of fact and not Arab propaganda, the Jewish connection to
Judea/Samaria has been long settled based on the law of both G-d and man.
Take your pick… but Chamberlinesque appeasers just can’t seem to deal with it
so when the Levy Committee came to the conclusion that…"the classical laws
of occupation as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be
considered applicable to…Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria(the West
Bank)…" it was this sentence that was paraphrased and plastered on the
headlines of Israeli newspapers and became a subject of debate in the
international media as well…"The panel argued that the Israeli presences in
Judea and Samaria was sui generis because there was no previously
recognized sovereignty there when it was captured by the IDF in 1967.
The Jordanian declaration of sovereignty in 1950 had been rejected by the Arab
states and the international community as a whole, except for Britain and
Pakistan. As the Levy Report points out, the Jewish people still had
residual historical and legal rights…emanating from the British Mandate
that were never cancelled, but rather were preserved by the U. N. Charter,
under Article 80- the famous "Palestine Clause"… that was drafted to
guarantee continuity with respect to Jewish rights won at the League of
Nations." (former Ambassador Dore Gold, A7/07-23-12). One for the good
guys in the blue and white kippas! But the Gordis group of 40 were not pleased
therefore the letter.
What is most interesting is Danny and the boys must have known they
didn’t have a legal leg to stand on since their letter never mentions the legal
conclusions of the committee’s report, but they based their letter in words of
concern afraid of what the international community would say …we fear that
if approved this report will place the two –state solution and the prestige of
Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in
peril…blah blah blah…Securing Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic
state requires diplomatic and political leadership, not legal maneuverings.
We recognize and regret that the Palestinian Authority has abdicated
leadership by not returning to the negotiating table…but our great fear is
that the(truths of)the Levy Report will not strengthen Israel’s position in
this conflict but rather add fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s
right to exist…blah blah blah…We are confident that with your deep
understanding…you will ensure that adoption of this report does not take
place…Sincerely Danny and the 40 meraglim"- so much for strong American
Jewish leadership. Their weakness can only continue to be an encouragement
for our enemies, for weakness has always been a provocation.
What has been accomplished in the last 19 years since the appeaser’s
grand moment of "no more terror no more bloodshed" handshakes and photoops
on the White House lawn called Oslo?
The rebuilding of a terrorist infrastructure in Ramallah and Gaza while over 1600
slaughtered Jews on buses, in pizza parlors, in discotheques, and at hotel seders,
were obscenely called "sacrifices for peace". These were the same cheerleaders
who supported Israel’s cowardly withdrawal from southern Lebanon that brought Hezbollah
and war, the same cheerleaders that supported Israel’s disengagement from Gaza that
brought Hamas missiles by the thousands and war. Zero for three doesn’t even
get you to the minor leagues, but it’s tough to stop the" thick-wallets" when
their egos are running full speed. The Levy Commission came to the
determination based not on hysterical whining, obfuscation or pandering – but
on the holy grail of international law as applied to other countries in similar
situations – that Israel had every right to build in Judea/Samaria. Are these
characters saying that there should be one set of laws for all the other nations
and another set of laws for Israel? If so they would qualify for a seat at the U. N.
My own opinion over the years has been based more closely on the 700
page legal treatise of Howard Grief, Esq., an international legal expert, entitled
"The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law",
since the basis of the original Palestine Mandate for the Homeland of the Jewish
people was voted on and passed at San Remo in 1920. It resolved the borders of
most of the countries in the Middle East after the demise of the Ottoman
Empire. Unfortunately, in 1922, contrary to its powers under the mandate
Britain lopped off 78% of the Palestine Mandate creating the never existing
country called Trans-Jordan with the understanding thereafter that the land west
of the Jordan river would subsequently become the "reconstituted homeland of
the Jewish people." Again in 1948, Britain again betrayed its Mandate a war
broke out, armistice lines were created, but never were they to become agreed
upon borders. That the history is not recognized is perfidy… but then again I’m
not a prestigious rabbi, nor have I written a book with the absurd title "If a Place
Could Make you Cry". The crisis today is with American Zionist leadership (the
exception being Mort Klein of the ZOA). You can take the Jew out of the
diaspora, but it’s harder to take the diaspora out of the Jew.
Over the last 64 years the United Nations which the letter-writers hold in
such fear has been a pretty disgusting hell-hole of tyrants, murderers, thugs,
extortionists and thieves…"Who seek to delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist".
May I remind them that that is what they have been trying to do for the last 64
years. Now I know there may come a day when hell freezes over but our people
have been around for 4000 years. We’ve seen many of our enemies come and
go. We waited 2000 years to return to our promised land so even if some don’t
like the fact of repopulating our Biblical homeland, we are a stiff-necked and
patient people and no institution will take our G-d given covenant from us this
time. This crisis of American Zionist leadership, of the "thick-wallets", reminds
me of a story in the Torah.
Two years after the Israelites left Egypt it was time to enter the Land.
Moses is told to pick 12 "men of distinction", probably not much different than
the "machers du jour" and to scout the land. They journey through the land and
come back with a report that the land is a good land, but ten of the twelve say
the people in the land (the international community at the time) are too strong, –
that they are giants, and because of the bad report of the ten, G-d is displeased
and the Israelites would wander in the wilderness for 38 more years before
entering the Promised Land. Yet it is their statement of fear that echoes today,
"We were grasshoppers in our own eyes and therefore we were
grasshoppers in their eyes." (Num. 13:33)
If you don’t happen to believe in G-d, which seems to be the opinion of
many non-Orthodox Jews in America today, in this case it is also the laws of
man that are on our side. No more two state delusions. No more "Auschwitz
borders". No more chirping from "thick-walleted machers" searching in their
paranoia for Jewish acceptance. Hazak, hazak venis ha zek…I’m sure Rabbi
Danny can explain it to his 40 pen-pals. I only hope he taught it to his children.
We are a people with a miraculous heritage who have often faced difficult
challenges but with G-d’s blessings and eternal love, we have persevered to
return to our Land given to our people in an eternal covenant. Stop chirping
about what the international community will say… they’ll say it anyway.
Do you think the world won’t buy Israel’s next life-saving medical
discovery or Israel’s next high-tech brainchild… and by the way… I’ve yet to
see an obituary that ends with a bank statement… make your grandchildren
proud. Stand with Israel from the river to the sea. Am Yisroal Chai!.