The Defenders of the Jews Who Fall into the Anti-Zionist Trap

Feb. 24 2023

Both this year and last, Howard Jacobson accepted invitations to be involved in productions on the subject of anti-Semitism: the Anglo-Jewish journalist Jonathan Freedland’s play Jews. In Their Own Words and the comedian David Baddiel’s documentary Jews Don’t Count. Looking at both works, Jacobson observes that they go wrong in similar ways:

Intellectually, one cannot claim to grasp the nettle of Jew-hating—especially among the progressive left, which is Baddiel’s target—if the psychology of its most potent contemporary expression, even more potent than [soccer] fans calling Spurs supporters “Yids,” doesn’t interest you. In the stage play and the television documentary, Freedland and Baddiel allowed themselves to be distracted by the question of whether or not an English Jew bears responsibility for Israel’s heinous misdeeds.

There’s a right and a wrong way of answering that. “We are not our brother’s keeper” is the wrong way. “He is not even our brother” is worse still. Insist your innocence of someone else’s heinous misdeeds and all you do is concede the heinousness. To deny affinity with Israel is to deny affinity with Jewish history. The marauding, child-murdering colonialists of anti-Zionist propaganda . . . are the same hated Jews of 2,000 years ago: separatists, thieves, and bloodsuckers, long before there was an Israeli soldier patrolling the West Bank.

One cannot accuse Jonathan Freedland of indifference to Israel. For years now, his Guardian column has extolled the country’s achievements while scrupulously criticizing “the occupation.” But is his scrupulousness—as, for example, in the matter of just what words Jews. In Their Own Words speak—too one-sided?

For all their differences—Freedland the formidably acute and considered thinker, Baddiel the no less formidable polemicist—their views on Israel converge in the old discomfort. Israel just won’t give them the Jew they want.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy