A re-alignment of organizations whose stated objectives include, strengthening support for Israel and combating anti-Semitism, is needed.
They have failed to achieve these objectives.
This article concentrates, but is not limited to, AIPAC, ADL, AJC (American Jewish Committee), the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (CPMJO) and the ZOA..
I attempt, in a most respectful manner, to point out, in some specific instances, where these organizations have failed. The second portion of this article contains suggestions, but also the difficulties, of achieving these objectives.
I must confess, short of a revolution in the thinking of American Jews, I don't believe there is a high probability of these organizations changing in the near future.
Our dealings with Iran have shown the weakness of AIPAC, ADL, AJC, ZOA and CPMJO. They failed to stop the bad nuclear negotiating stance with Iran.
When both Israel and Saudi Arabia publicly condemn the negotiations, any American administration and European government should have heeded their recommendation. These organizations failed to expose (or may not even have known) the previous year long, illegal “back door” negotiations between N. Burns (State Dept.) and the terrorist sponsoring Iranians. The same organizations could not minimize the damage caused by General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , when he said “we would not want to be complicit in any Israeli attack against Iran.”
It remains to be seen how effective the organizations will be in getting the Senate to override the expected Obama veto.
These organizations failed to convince the administration to combine the “nuclear” talks with Iran’s support for Syria’s Assad, Hizballah, (second only to Al Qaeda in number of Americans killed) and Hamas. Their continued denial of the Holocaust, continuous chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” (just last weekend on Al Quds Day) and development of long range missiles capable of reaching the U.S., seems to show their mal-intent towards the United States.
Even if Congress overrides President Obama's veto, the organizations are still at fault for letting this Iran deal advance this far provoking enmity between America and it's Middle East allies..
AIPAC, AJC and CPMJO acceded to President Obama’s request to “hold off” on further sanctions. (Senator Menendez proposal.)
They had years to convince Senator and now Secretary Kerry, of the legitimate needs of Israel. Yet, his “apartheid” comments reveal an anti-Israel bias, at a minimum, and possibly anti-Semitism, at it’s most dangerous. I believe only the ZOA has publicly called for his resignation.
These same organizations failed to convince President Obama that the re-establishment of the modern state of Israel is not just a reaction to the Holocaust. He hinted that in his statements in Turkey and Egypt.
President Obama’s public call to remove President Mubarak and his insistence on seating the Muslim Brotherhood in the front row, at his Cairo speech, were instrumental in endangering the already fragile Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty.
These organizations were apparently ignorant of the views of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. From his term as mayor of Istanbul, he was known as an anti-American, anti-Semitic , Islamist. In fact, the previous Turkish government had banned him, for five years, from public life for his Islamist views. Yet, it has been reported, that President Obama, in his first two years, spoke to Erdogan more than any other world leader.
These same organization have failed to convince CIA Director Brennan to stop calling Jerusalem, “Al Quds”, to stop flattering Hizballah to Lebanese audiences, and to stop lauding “religious freedom” in Saudi Arabia.
AIPAC failed to support Senator Rand Paul’s bill which would cut off U.S. aid to the PA and it’s security forces. The bill states that they must fulfill essentially, what they were responsible to do in the Oslo Accords, and in the negotiation with Israel the last eight years,. For example, recognize Israel as a Jewish State, renounce terrorism and terminate anti American and anti-Israel incitement.
The ADL and the AJC have adopted a universalist rather than a particularist (pro Israel, pro-Jewish) world view. That attitude explains why only half of the ADL blogs for 2011 and 2012 are advocating for Israel or Jewish causes. The AJC invests time, effort and money developing an “amicus” brief opposing the Swiss law that restricts the height of Mosques.
Meanwhile, global ant-Semitism has risen!
The AJC proudly announces that, for a fourth time, Secretary Clinton has participated at their general meeting. This is the same Secretary Clinton who berated Prime Minister Netanyahu, and who stated that the settlements were “illegitimate. I don’t believe she expressed that sentiment when she was running for Senator from New York State.
The AJC brags about the numerous Seders they conducted with foreign diplomats in attendance. I ask: Did the countries represented by these diplomats vote for, against or abstain from the PA joining UN treaties and organizations?
Even the Republican Jewish Coalition, at their general meeting, failed to convince Governor Christie that the term “occupied territory” expresses an anti-Israel perspective. After meeting with Mr. Adelson, one of the prime sponsors, all Governor Christie could say is, “I misspoke.” His true views can be ascertained from the brusque and dismissive manner he treated Morton Klein of the ZOA, when they met after the speech.
By the way, the accounting problems that the ZOA have experienced the last few years, have destroyed the sentiment (expressed by numerous comedians) that a Jewish accountant can protect your money.
Both the Wiesenthal Center and J Street merit a mention in this article.Dean Rabbi Hier of the Wiesenthal Center was reported, in The Forward, to be the most highly paid executive of any Jewish organization. His organization is most effective in attracting money from members of the entertainment industry. But they (the Center and members of the entertainment industry) also have failed to increase support for Israel or minimize the level of global antiSemitism.
The relatively new J Street group has views that are inconsistent with a 2011 AJC poll of American Jews. For example, J Street advocates that the U.S. should include HAMAS in negotiations with the PA and that Jerusalem should be divided. They also oppose any military action against Iran.
On a personal note: Five years ago when I was still active as a university professor, I noticed the dire straits that pro-Israel and Jewish students were having on campus. I asked the AJC, ZOA , ADL and The Flame, if they could, perhaps, combine their efforts so this problem could be nipped in the bud. Only Mr. Joffee from The Flame acknowledged my letter!
Unfortunately, many of the Jewish organizations have accepted, even relish, their role as “court” Jews.
Therefore, I don’t believe a re-alignment is possible.
The energy of these organizations comes from money that is contributed. Not from the $50 or $100 that individuals contribute, but from the “fat cats” in the “accolade” list. (the individuals listed on the left of the organizations stationery.) Since these individuals may be among the 70% of American Jews who voted for the Obama administration (sorry, partisan), it will be difficult to change their minds.
The hundreds of Jewish organizations (synagogues, community centers, federations, etc.) are another misguided group. Their interpretation of Tikkun Olam means “Charity Does Not Begin At Home”. It is rare to find a “Save Sderot” sign next to their old, tattered, yellowed “Save Darfur” sign.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former President of the Union for Reform Judaism, recently stated that former Israeli Ambassador Oren “doesn't much like American Jews. In fact, he appears to view them with conisiderable disdain.” This comment results from Oren faulting Jewish reporters and some intellectuals for not supporting Israel strongly enough.
I don't expect significant public actions from those political “luminaries” who are always looking for their next position. Senator Schumer, who calls himself the “shomer” (guardian) of Israel, recently stated to a group, “The worst situation is a military strike against Iran. It will trigger a war with Hizballah in Lebanon.” Was he ahead of the findings of the Luntz poll of Democrat “opinion elites”? The poll found that almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country? Or, fewer than half believe that Israel wants peace with it's neighbors. Or, of particular relevance to the Iran agreement debate, that three quarters of these Democrats believe that Israel has too much influence on U.S. Foreign policy. Will he attempt to overide a most probable veto from President Obama to remove sanctions? His potential position as the leading Democrat in the Senate (Senator Reid is retiring.) is in play.
Even former Mayor Bloomberg, who courageously visited Israel during the Gaza conflict, appeared to bristle at the remark by CNN Wolf Blitzer that, the closing of flights from the U.S. to Israel was prompted by the administration.
I hope the readers who comment on this article can state some optimistic strategies to relieve the dire situation I have described.