Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My Response to Sokatch

Dear Editor,
Politically progressive Daniel Sokatch portrays the criticism he and his previous and current organizational connections have made or even attempted to make concerning Israel as some sort of underground resistance effort, characterized by whispered conversations in elevators or boardrooms, and complains of self-censorship (”Silence Amid a Famously Garroulous People” Sh’ma, November 2012). To his thinking, diversity on the Israel-conversation “isn’t reflected inside many Jewish spaces”. While I can in no way suggest that I have enough establishment, non-establishment or even anti-establishment experience to compare with Sokatch, I would nevertheless opine that what Sokatch is doing would seem to be a misrepresentation. From the out-borders of groups actively seeking to undermine Israel’s diplomatic and political position, its security and its economic requirements, some of them funded by the New Israel Fund, to the Jewish community councils and on to the inner sanctums of Jewish communal intermeshing, there is no silence but rather a roar of finger-pointing and a loud very public conversation that seeks to denigrate Israel using the embarrassment factor to the extreme.
To purport the massive, well funded, well publicized and well diversified campaign to counter the policy choices made by a democratically elected government, supervised by a High Court for Justice, and reviewed by a free press in Israel is preposterous. 
Sokatch’s Israel is polarized between a “forward-thinking, outward-looking, democratic and prophetic vision enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence” and a “harsh, exclusionary ultra-nationalism”. The hype may be a helpful instrument to raise funds from well-meaning but naive and ill-informed Jews but it is a deprecatory slur. His support for the campaign to avoid any monitoring of the so-called “human rights” groups, even legislation much less harsh than that in place in America, is indicative of this semi-Janus-like posturing where on the one hand, Israel’s democracy is supposedly either in danger, threatened and deteriorating yet, on the other, always seems to get things right. I would put it that if there is anything truly anti-democratic in this ‘dialogue’, between liberal/progressive American Jews and Israel, it is the heavy hammer of incessant criticism in the pages of the leading newspapers as ads or opinion pieces; in outbursts at assemblies where Israeli politicians speak, or attempt to speak; in the funding provided for groups seeking to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish-Zionist geopolitical entity; as well as many other aspects of a decidedly malicious effort.
Yisrael Medad | November 6, 2012, 5:18 pm


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