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How the Quakers Turned against the Jews

Nov. 13 2017

Established during World War I for pacifists seeking an alternative to serving in the military, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) quickly became a leading organization for helping refugees around the world. Now it is a major advocate for boycotts of Israel. Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander Joffe explain how it changed its focus:

[AFSC’s] Quaker theology has . . . gone from emphasis on the “inner light” that guides individual conscience to something like old-fashioned Christian supersessionism, according to which Jews deserve to be hated [because they rejected Jesus and thus lost their claim to be God’s chosen people]. The result is that the organization is now effectively captive to progressive Israel-hatred. . . .

The shift began when the AFSC was invited by the United Nations to run Palestinian refugee relief in Gaza in late 1948. Quakers had been in the Holy Land for over a century, running schools and hospitals for local Christians. But the refugee program was a turning point. Relief workers had never encountered refugees who did not want to be taught new skills or to be resettled elsewhere, only to be maintained at someone else’s expense until Israel disappeared. . . . The Gaza experience—where in fact the AFSC excelled at providing relief and creating infrastructure, despite resistance from the refugees themselves—was enough to convince the leadership to get out of the relief business altogether.

At the same time, a faction of the organization’s leadership advocated a radical pacifist, and anti-American, agenda, aimed at nuclear disarmament and elevating the status of the Soviet Union and Communist China. . . . Support for Saddam Hussein and North Korea quickly followed. . . . After 1967, the AFSC escalated its involvement [in the Israel-Palestinian conflict], beginning with quasi-theological criticism of Israel, acting as the PLO’s legal representatives in Jerusalem during the 1970s, and conducting “interfaith” events at which American Jews were shamed for supporting Israel. . . . These policies are reflected in the educational curriculum of Quaker schools across the country, but most of all in the AFSC’s leading role in the BDS movement. . . .

Many Jewish parents are attracted to Quaker schools, which seek to instill values mistakenly believed to be analogous to those of Judaism, especially since the Quakers and their schools have enshrined “social justice” as a guiding principle. This is misleading. . . . Jewish parents must decide whether Jewish values and Quaker values, as they exist today, are really the same.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Quakers

In Pursuing Peace with Saudi Arabia, Israel Must Demand Reciprocity and Keep the Palestinian Question off the Table

Nov. 22 2017

The recent, unprecedented interview given by the IDF chief of staff to a major Arabic news outlet has fed the growing enthusiasm in Israel about the prospects of a peace treaty and mutual recognition between Jerusalem and Riyadh. Mordechai Kedar urges level heads and caution, and puts forward ten principles that should guide any negotiations. Most importantly, he argues that the two countries normalize relations before coming to any agreements about the Palestinians. To this he adds:

The most basic rule in dealing with the Saudis and their friends is that Israel must not feel that it has to pay anything for peace. . . . If the Saudis want to live in peace with us, we will stretch out our hands to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. Israel [has] been a state for 70 years without peace with Saudi Arabia and can continue being a state for another 7,000 years without it. Any desire for a quick peace (as expressed in the disastrous slogan “Peace Now”) will raise the price of that peace. . . .

[As part of any agreement], Israel will recognize the House of Saud’s rule in Mecca and Medina—even though the family does not originate from the Hejaz [where the holy cities are located] but from the Najd highland—in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its historic and eternal capital city. Israel will recognize Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state in exchange for Saudi recognition of Israel as the Jewish state or a state belonging to the Jewish people. . . .

Israel will not allow incitement against Saudi Arabia in its media. In return, the Saudis will not allow anti-Israel incitement in Saudi media. . . .

It is important to keep the Americans and Europeans away from the negotiating table, since they will not be party to the agreement and will not have to suffer the results of its not being honored—and since their interests are not necessarily those of Israel, especially when it comes to the speed at which the negotiations move forward. The Americans want to cut a deal, even a bad deal, and if they are allowed into the negotiation rooms, they will pressure Israel to give in, mainly on the Palestinian issue.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia