By Ari Bussel
The lady Rabbi said that American Jews tend to distance themselves from Israel and Israel becomes less important to them with time. Thus she concluded her welcoming remarks at an event hosting an Israeli general on a speaking tour in the USA of behalf of J Street: “It is wonderful that so many are so passionate about Israel.”
I looked around the synagogue hall, and it was indeed full of people from all parts of the political spectrum, from the extreme left to the hard right. Most profess to be passionate advocates for Israel, a few on the extreme left are just anti Israel but demonstrate no less passion.
I was thinking that if this is what will keep alive one’s involvement with Israel, there must be an end to this relationship. The passion has translated into something twisted and ugly, foreign and strange.
If American Jews mistakenly think they were instrumental in bringing about the modern manifestation of Israel, they are sorely mistaken. If the constant stream of Israelis coming here to ask for money gives rise to the false notion that Israel is indebted and will not survive without the philanthropic support of American Jewry, once again, it is a fallacy.
Possibly some believe it is Israel’s dependence on America’s three billion dollars a year, so let us check reality: First, the majority is in military aid, money that has to be spent in the USA, thus it is crucial not only to Israel.
Second, Israel will survive without it, even if there is a short jolt at the beginning while adjusting.
Third, the benefits to the USA derived from this miniscule amount (relative to other expenditures and foreign aid) are enormous, one of the better investments America makes (compare it, for instance, with $10 billion to Pakistan).
Fourth, and probably most important, Israel’s economy far outperforms that of the USA.
It would indeed be healthier if Israel initiated a “disengagement from foreign aid” in two fields: both US foreign aid and all foreign philanthropy. Imagine the immense benefits: Israel’s enemies would no longer be able to threaten Israel with withholding funding as a carrot on a stick, and foreign funding (both by governments and NGOs) will not find its way to projects that continually harm and are designed to topple Israel.
Let us return to American’s Jewry distancing itself from Israel, and Israel moving lower on their priorities list with each passage of generations. For some odd reason, American Jewry feels itself the parent, refusing to recognize the child has grown up, left the parents’ home and is now an independent adult. Out of respect, the child may listen and honor the parents, but it is unhealthy for the parents to continue running the child’s life forever.
As I have shown above, there is also no basis for that as American Jews are intrinsically connected with Israel, but owe Israel much more than Israel owes them.
However, as we use analogies to try and explain a deteriorating relationship, the parent-child analogy is not as good as the battered wife. Israel is being beaten like the wife being punched forcefully by her drunken husband because he did not fancy the meal she prepared.
It continues night after night and nothing the wife does can appease the angry husband. She persuades herself it is all her fault, falling quickly into a trap from which she can only exit in a coffin. She is a punching bag, a cutting board, a slapping doll, all rolled into one. To the kids who witness the nightly beatings, the father explains: “I love your mother so much, but ….”
I will spare the reader the details, although they are taken straight out from the “pro-Israel, pro-Peace, Jews for Peace” manual. It is all Israel’s fault, and they are there to save her. No, actually they are here to fight for the Palestinians and all of Israel’s other enemies wanting her destruction.
Let us look at one particular do-good organization. For thirty years the New Israel Fund has been transferring tens of millions of dollars to Israel. They only recently started engaging in public visibility. Until now, their grantees and other beneficiaries who got all the credit.
Under the wonderful heading of “human rights,” the NIF-related monetary recipients do everything possible to harm the Jewish state. Thus the NIF was attacked by “right wing extremists” that demanded the government investigate the source of funds facilitating various activities.
Many Israelis found it alarming that Judge Goldstone who investigated Operation Cast Lead was fed lie after lie by organizations supported by the NIF. It may have been just a coincidence of course that Judge Goldstone concluded Israel was guilty of war crimes and other wrongdoings, based in whole or in part on lies he was served up and on his own agenda. He later recanted, but the Report remained, evidence to be used by future generations against Israel.
I wonder, and so should NIF, why reasonable people who look at the collective of their recipients find a majority of organizations who fight against Israel. Why is it not possible to see all the good they are supposedly doing, pouring money into social and just causes in Israel? And why the great emphasis not on Jewish Israel, but on Arabs who like to call themselves Palestinians and disassociate themselves from Israel and on others who seek Israel’s downfall?
Is it not strange?
When I recently attended a presentation by NIF’s CEO, I learned NIF stopped all funding to those beneficiaries who call for and act to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel (BDS). This was as heartwarming as the loving husband’s bouquet of red roses and promises he will never hit his wife again.
Daniel (NIF’s CEO) though was quite adamant the NIF would not stop their financial support to any organization that opposes the new Boycott Law just enacted in Israel (it will be illegal for Israelis to call for or participate in boycotts against the Jewish state, and there will be stiff penalties for the guilty). Let us examine carefully what Daniel was so proud of pronouncing:
• Boycott against Israel is not permitted in NIF’s book, but a boycott against settlements, settlers and their products and services is not only welcome, it is in fact encouraged to mandatory;
• They, a foreign element, will actively and openly support any Israeli organization (that may exist in large part or wholly due to their funding) that defies Israeli law.
There is something terribly wrong in boycotts, as the line between boycotting Israel and boycotting only part of Israel is very thin. To the best of my knowledge, until such time that a peace treaty is signed or Israel loses a war, Judea and Samaria are parts of Israel, a Jewish State that still exists in the Land of Israel. Thus, assigning labels (“settlements,” “settlers,” “right wing extremists,” “religious right extremists” and the like) does not and cannot excuse actions like boycotts.
If a boycott were excused, it becomes evident the community has indeed distanced itself from Israel, the latter no longer a priority to them. Thus, there is no wonder the community lacks feeling when 18 and 19 year olds go on a Shabbat Eve into a settlement in the Occupied West Bank and butcher the husband, the wife and three of their six children (the youngest to be sliced to death was three months old). Oh, I forgot, these settlers were in the wrong place—on Arab land—and had too many children.
From here the next stop is near: It is perfectly legitimate to BDS Israel itself, for after all, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffe, Acre, Jerusalem and the rest of Israel are occupied too.
NIF and their bodies feel they do much good. They fight segregation on buses. They come to Israel to fight the lofty and noble battles that probably need fighting, but not on their terms. Why choose Israel? Since it has a soft belly and money is an enticing mirage, especially when it flows so freely. Why not fight where it counts, like Iran or Sudan, Syria or Afghanistan? That would take more courage for these “heroes.”
I have discovered that “passion for Israel” is also a very lucrative business. An Israeli general (along with others) is being paid by J Street to tour the USA every three months and host delegations in Israel to fight for liberal, progressive values. Is it not sad that the party or collection of parties to which he belongs is disappearing into non-existence so he shifts his area of operations to the handsomely paid foreign territory?
It is the same for other former Israelis who find it a vocation to malign and badmouth Israel. They stand among “interfaith” audiences or those concerned about “civil and human rights” and lecture about all the horrors of Israel’s existence, her military Nazi-like methods and the Apartheid regime in Israel. How strange that any visitor in Israel immediately sees their mantra as pure defamation and libel, with no remote connection to reality.
There is so much “Passion” around, yet Israel would be much better off if it dissipated. She has plenty on her plate without “Israelis” and American Jews aiding and abating her enemies. It is time to expose all those ill willed toward her existence. Time to fight them, purge them from the mix and pronounce, to oneself and to others: We prefer you stay away, in fact, as far away as possible.