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The De-Legitimation of Israel: A Threat to the Jewish People

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By: Luis Fleischman, Executive Director of the JCRC, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is generally considered to be a friend of Israel, wrote a very painful piece published December 2, 2011. In his column Friedman wrote that the standing ovation Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received in Congress in May 2011 “was bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby.” Friedman’s portrayal of the relationship between Netanyahu and the United States Congress was not just painful – but even worse – his words show the extent to which Israel’s foes have partially (if not fully) penetrated the minds of educated and respected individuals – many of whom we have long considered friends to Israel.

This claim that the United States’ support for Israel is the result of the so-called “Israeli lobby” rather than pure justice is consistently promoted by enemies of Israel in the Arab world and their accomplices in the United States. Their hope is to convey the message that support for Israel has more to do with propaganda that effectively influences American government and public opinion than what Israel actually says or does.

What is both astonishing and worry-some to me is that those who usually refer to the “Israeli lobby” are not people like Tom Friedman – who overall supports Israel but occasionally expresses disapproval for specific policies. Those who make use of this term are typically those who wish Israel did not exist at all.

The so-called pro-Israel lobby, which includes the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), has steadily supported negotiations between the parties and the two-state solution. Further, its national umbrella organization, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, has consistently invited Palestinian and Arab representatives to the organization’s annual plenum and met with Palestinian leaders during scheduled trips to Israel. Additionally, when the American Israel Education Committee – the Charitable Foundation affiliated with AIPAC – takes members of Congress to Israel, it makes sure that they designate time to meet with Palestinian leaders.

The question then becomes, how is this activity anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian? Where does the idea that American Jewry and its friends are an anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian lobby come from?

Interestingly enough, the “Arab lobby” has done all it can in an attempt to boycott Israel and isolate it from the rest of the world. The lobby has managed to secure European abstention on anti-Israel resolutions taken at the United Nations; and it has continued to try to influence Western Universities with charitable contributions and a strong propaganda machine. The “Arab lobby” (which includes the entire Arab world, particularly those countries that produce oil; and the Palestinians, some of them associated with the Palestinian Authority) is not supporting peace between Israel and the Palestinians but funding the de-legitimation of the State of Israel. These efforts have in fact reached college campuses in the U.S., some Christian denominations and other sectors in the American public sphere.

What are the facts about the Israel Legitimacy? Continue reading here.

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