Two Presidential Campaigns, Two Anti-Semitism Scandals

July 11 2016

Last week, Max Blumenthal—a professional hater of Israel and the Jews whose father is a sometime confidant of Hillary Clinton—assaulted the memory of Elie Wiesel. While Clinton has privately praised the younger Blumenthal’s work in the past, her campaign responded by condemning his latest outburst. Meanwhile, Donald Trump faced an anti-Semitism scandal of his own. Ben Cohen compares the candidates’ responses:

After retweeting an image sourced to a white-supremacist website that showed a grinning Clinton superimposed onto a pile of money and a Star of David, Trump compounded the offense by blockheadedly sticking to his guns, criticizing his staff for deleting the tweet instead of “defending it.”

At the same time that Trump engages in anti-Semitism denial—something he does every time the issue of his white-supremacist supporters comes up—his campaign pursues the tiresome tactic of putting his Jewish daughter and Jewish son-in-law before the media in his defense. . . .

Except that nobody serious has called Trump an anti-Semite. The charge is that he tolerates anti-Semites and even enables them when it suits him to do so. Citing your Jewish relatives and friends is a favored method of the Israel-haters—“Some of my best friends are Jews!”—and most Jews aren’t fooled by it. They also aren’t fooled by Trump, who further insults our community by insinuating that we’re stupid enough to believe that he understands what constitutes anti-Semitism better than we do.

What both candidates need to do is declare a zero tolerance policy for anti-Semitism around their respective campaigns.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Elie Wiesel, Hillary Clinton, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Presidential election

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat