The American Thinker
August 02, 2009
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus
There is a chilling scene in the 2002 movie “The Pianist.” In it the train was already chugging along on the path to insanity and destruction, but it was before all was destroyed. The family of the protagonist has been moved into the Warsaw Ghetto and the head of the family is sitting at a table, reading a newspaper. He looks up and says, “I blame the American Jews.”
> The right of the Jewish people to a state, and the right of Jews to live freely anywhere, including inhaling oxygen in areas the world insists are reserved for Arab Palestinians;> Relishing the terms “Jewish State” and “Zionism” – ones currently derided as shameful instead of sources of pride;> Circulation of facts — not deceptive “Palestinian” narratives — about the Middle East, Israel and terrorism;> Condemnation of those who revile Israel for actions they ignore when taken by Israel’s enemies and virtually all states throughout history;> Categorical rejection of agreements with, or concessions to, terrorists (or their supporters) who are dedicated to Israel’s destruction.
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ON Z STREET WE SAY...
Reclaiming the concept that Israel doesn’t have to apologize for being a Jewish state.
August 13, 2009
Israel is the Jewish state. Now there’s a revolutionary proposition. Of course, it’s not revolutionary at all — the UN recognized Israel that way in 1948. The idea of a safe homeland for the Jewish people, in the land of Israel — that’s Zionism. But that idea has been effectively stolen and delegitimized by people peddling fashionable politics.
Z STREET, the new Zionist organization (See? Did you cringe a little at the use of the word Zionist? That’s what we need to fix.) was created to solve this problem.
First, let’s drill down to understand what’s happened.
As the world becomes more hostile to Israel, the Jews hostile to Israel play an increasingly larger role in the public debate.
I don’t call them self-hating Jews; that’s not what they are. I call them self-loving, not-too-Jewish Jews. You know, the self-important intellectuals and the well-moneyed, honey-tongued groupies currently whispering into the eager ears of the White House. They label themselves “pro-peace and pro-Israel.” But they don’t really care about protecting Israel from terrorism and extinction. What they really want is to avoid being embarrassed by Israel — embarrassed by a genuinely Jewish state (how parochial and intolerant!) and embarrassed by Israel doing the hard work of defending itself from terrorists (how brutal!). It’s not nice to win, or at least for Jews to win.
Their way of protecting themselves from that discomfort is by advocating a “peace process” that has never led and will never lead to peace in the Middle East. The same holds true for the non-Jews who call themselves pro-peace but are really just anti-Israel.
There are others who share our view. Scholars write books and articles. Advocates go to Washington attempting to forestall the latest demand by an American administration that Israel give up this particular security measure, or abandon that particular piece of land, or release this particular band of murderers, in the name of “peace.”
Sometimes a pro-Zionist letter to the editor gets printed or a handful of pro-Israel op-eds are published. But the current political fashion of “tolerance” has fooled or shamed too many into opposing the steps needed to create and defend a safe state for the Jews. And most mainstream media are too fashion-conscious to do anything other than dress themselves in the fashionable ideology. Careful explication of the factual and legal reality is a lot less sexy. A principled defense of the entire enterprise — the full-throated advocacy of Zionism, a safe state for the Jewish people in the land of Israel — is about as unfashionable as you can get.
Yes, you can, as some do, explain that Israel does not “occupy” territory, citing the legal requirement that the prior state had sovereignty over the land, which neither the Palestinians nor the Jordanians did. But who remembers that legal fine point the second after they hear or read it? And the obvious fact that the “West Bank” is only west if you are in Jordan doesn’t seem to penetrate. So the entire world condemns Israel for asserting control in parts of Israel — even if legally acquired — including in Jerusalem, and even if Muslims are permitted to live, work, and worship there freely (as of course they are).
How will Z STREET change the terms of the debate? First, we’re proud, not embarrassed, to advocate out loud the first principles of Zionism: Yes, a Jewish state! And second, our approach is devoted to changing the terms of the public debate. Our tools will include humor — more about that in the coming months — straight talk, and physical energy to imprint the facts we believe will make clear who is grounded in the historical, legal and moral side of the debate about Israel, and which side is historically, legally and morally committed to peace and which side is not.
In practice, how will Z STREET do this? By firmly asserting our “three No’s”: No compromises. No negotiations. No concessions to terrorists. And we refuse to use the vocabulary of those who have delegitimized and stolen the Zionist idea. Words like “occupation,” “West Bank,” and “settlers” are weapons pointed at the heart of Zionism, not neutral instruments. The sooner people see that, the faster we’ll all attain clarity.
Instead, Z STREET uses accurate words and historical facts currently eschewed for fear of offending: that there never was an actual Palestinian state and Jews have an irrefutable centuries-long religious and historical attachment to Jerusalem while the Arab Palestinians have none. We must say frankly that all Arab Palestinian party leaders — the moderate terrorists in neckties and the nasty ones in kaffiyehs — endorse terrorism. Not nice? What’s not nice – the language or the facts? Until the terms of the debate and the strategy for changing those terms are employed, the world will continue to abuse Israel.
The time is now and Z STREET, using straight talk, physical energy, and humor, is the vehicle to sweep aside years of mind control successfully practiced by the anti-Israel crowd.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the co-founder of Z STREET.http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/changing-the-publics-attitude-toward-zionism/
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When the pathetic ones begin (a) mentioning us, (b) denigrating us, (c) creating cartoons of us, and (d) comparing us to them, we are officially a force! Plus, anytime the J Streeters are depicted as angels we definitely want to be shown as the opposite in that perverse universe. The particular planet from which this comes is Irish for Palestine. Thanks guys!
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November 05, 2009
At the J Street meeting
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The Washington conference of the new organization “J Street” took place on October 25-28. It was a fascinating but scary cultural experience.
For three days I watched hundreds of intensely pious people sitting under an awning that reads “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” But by far the dearest hopes of the folks on J Street were for the well-being, and especially the sovereignty, of a people whose leadership has stated repeatedly that its goal is to destroy Israel and murder Jews.
I saw two overarching themes defining this conference: one, Iran is not a problem we care about; and two, a Palestinian State must be created now (What do we want? A Palestinian State! When do we want it? Now!), and both the Israelis and the Palestinians are so dysfunctional that only the Obama administration can achieve it. Palestine Now! was the battle cry of the conference, but the utter lack of concern regarding the Iranian threat is the real proof that J Street is not at its essence pro-Israel.
First, a fact: although it is difficult to get Israelis to agree on anything, there is one issue on which there is near unanimity among them: Iran presents an imminent and devastating threat to the existence of the State of Israel. It is the single biggest security concern amongst nearly all Israelis of every political and religious stream.
The J-Conference organizers devoted only one of the thirty-two sessions to the issue of Iran, and that session focused solely on the success of diplomacy. The speakers and the moderator of that session were aggressively anti-anything-other-than-diplomacy, so there was nothing for audience members to consider as a legitimate alternative.
But most disturbing was the nearly complete silence about Iran other than by Israeli speakers and a few American politicians who, presumably, assumed a “pro-Israel” gathering would want reassurances on the topic. Those politicians were wrong.
In other words, the overwhelming majority of those who came to the J Street conference understood the code words “pro-Israel” to have no bearing on what Israelis might find most important to their security. The threat of Iran to Israel simply plays no role in the narrative that motivated so many hundreds of people to identify with and join the J Street team.
Think of it: an oil-rich nation near Israel pursues nuclear power, refuses to eschew nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust from the podium of the United Nations, and threatens to wipe Israel off the map — and the enormous audience the J Street leadership claims as its own, an organization calling itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” doesn’t really give a hoot.
This was too hard even for Obama political appointees to grasp. U.S. National Security Advisor General James Jones, in his keynote address attended by nearly all conference participants, did mention Iran as a threat to Israel. Jones assured the sandwiched-in crowd that the United States stands with Israel in facing Iran.
But there was little audience response. A far different reaction — rapturous applause — met nearly every mention of alleviating Palestinian suffering and the “Palestine Now!” mantra.
I heard one or two mentions of Iran by non-Israeli “experts.” Each time it was discussed in the context of that country’s hostility to Israel being “neutralized” by the immediate creation of a Palestinian State.
The link between Iran and the posthaste demand for a Palestinian State, the lectures went, was that taking that bold step would not only quell unrest amongst Palestinians and Israelis, but it would also stabilize the entire Middle East and end global terrorism.
A straight-up articulation of this Palestine Now! equals Global Peace theme was by Salam al-Marayati, a source of acrimonious controversy in advance of the conference. (Al-Marayati had immediately pointed to Israel as the likely source of the attacks on the World Trade Center.) At J Street, Al-Marayati informed his audience that the absence of a Palestinian State is a major source of the current violence in Pakistan, and that it is the central issue “critical to the hearts and minds” of all 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
But it was not only controversy-generating Muslims who were intoxicated by the desire for a Palestinian State. Former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shlomo Ben-Ami explained that it is only President Obama who can achieve this because “there is no chance whatever to reach settlement by ourselves; it is entirely out of the question.” This is because both Israel and the Palestinians have such “dysfunctional political systems.”
Several other Israelis who were once members of Israeli governments, or who are aligned with former (but not current) leaders pushed the presto Palestine line. Virtually every one of them was heavily invested in the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiatives, both peace plans that literally blew up. Of course, to the extent the failures of these “peace” efforts were acknowledged at all, their failures were attributed to Israel’s not having capitulated far and fast enough. Like the food in the Jewish resort described long ago: it tasted terrible and the portions were too small.
The desperation driving some of the rhetoric worked itself out in the form of veiled threats. Ron Pundak, whose ink is on both the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative, and who is currently the Director General of the Peres Center for Peace, was practically frenzied.
Pundak went beyond merely promoting Palestine Now! as a sure way to soothe the Iranians and bring regional peace — he said “the only real answer to the Iranian threat is peace with the Palestinians.” Pundak claimed that if such a state is not created immediately, Arabs will live in ghettos in situations even worse, possibly, than those of blacks in South Africa during the eighties and nineties.
Many anecdotes have been reported about the conference, but I believe these two themes offer an important insight. How does J Street’s claim of “pro-Israel” square with being deaf to the threat Iran poses to Israel’s security, and what does it mean for a group to be so utterly invested in Palestine Now! that the participation of the parties and even the peace process itself is jettisoned? Could it be that these themes are complementary? The immediate creation of a Palestinian State will mean the end of Israel, and therefore Iran will not pose a problem.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the co-founder of Z STREET ziostreet.wordpress.com
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No more appeasement, no more negotiating with terrorists, no more enabling cowards who fear offending more than they fear another Holocaust. Z STREET is for those who are willing not only to support – but to defend – Israel, the Jewish State.
We have the strength of our convictions and are quickly moving towards strength in numbers. Our members thus far come from a dozen different countries including Argentina, Australia, Cuba, Brazil, England, Israel, Gibraltar, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, France, Holland and Sweden. We come from more than 25 states including Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, California, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York; plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.