Monday, February 10
Why Are American Jews on the Left Walking Away From Israel?
I’ve been scratching my head this past week wondering what’s going to become of Israel and the special relationship Israel has with the American Jewish community. Sure, the small percentage of Jewish Republicans will continue to support Trump and Netanyahu and the Deal of the Century, but only 16 percent of American Jews interviewed by Gallup last year identify as Republicans.
The vast majority of American Jews vote Democrat and identify as liberal. And with Israeli politics swinging harder to the right than ever, it’s getting tougher and tougher for American Jews to maintain credibility with the left. The subject of Israel has become so contentious that family member and friends simply don’t talk to one another about it. Talking about Israel has become even worse than talking about Donald Trump. In private conversations I’ve had with many American Jewish friends, a surprisinly broad range of people question the legitimacy of Israel and believe that there really doesn’t need to be a Jewish State (Democratic or otherwise) in the Holy Land if it’s going to be an oppressive state bent on subjugating the Palestinians or worse – potential genocide.
What’s clear is that the right holds the upper hand both in the U.S. and Israel. In the U.S., anyone who questions the current Israeli government is branded as anti-Israel; and in Israel, the political left has seemingly given up. In a thought-provoking article in Al-Monitor, Israeli Left Paralyzed Over Trump’s Peace Plan, former Knesset member and reporter Ksenia Svetlova, ponders why Israel’s left-leaning political leaders have not offered up a cogent alternative plan to the Trump-Kushner-Netanyahu Deal of the Century.
We know they oppose it. And we know that just about every prominent U.S. Democrat, from Presidential contenders Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and Michigan Congressperson Debbie Dingell have spoken out against the plan.
And why not? Many of us on the left are appalled that the Deal of the Century did not involve the Palestinians. How can there be peace negotiations when one side is not invited to the table?
And of course, for those who haven’t followed the March AIPAC Conference mess, here’s what you need to know: AIPAC posted an ad on Facebook early last week blasting Democrats on the far left (i.e. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar) for being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, a move that created such a backlash that AIPAC had to apologize and take down the ad. In the middle of the ad hubbub, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was said to have nodded when an IfNotNow speaker bashed AIPAC, claiming they had formed an unholy alliance between Islamaphobes, anti-Semites and white nationalists. Reporters asked Warren about the AIPAC conference, who said she wouldn’t attend, throwing more gasoline on the controversy.
So now, going to the AIPAC conference has become a litmus test for whether you are pro- or anti-Israel. Things have gotten hot and polarized. Today, if you criticize the Netanyahu government and its annexation policies, you are considered anti-Israel. If you oppose making Jerusalem the capital, you are anti-Israel. If you oppose the nation-state law which makes non-Jewish Israelis second-class citizens, you are anti-Israel. And as an American Jew (and Israel as well), if you are part of the Reform, Reconstructionist or Conservative (religious) movements in the U.S. or Israel, you are barely considered Jewish.
I think we have a problem here, don’t you think? So my take on it all is to step back and resist the Trump-Kusher-Netanyahu forces branding those of us who oppose these right-wing policies as anti-Israel. Many of us are not. We love Israel and want to find a way out of this mess. We just don’t have the strength to fight it out. The sad little truth is that as American Jews, we can retreat to our status as Americans and choose to forget about Israel.
But can we? I still firmly believe that there’s a direct connection between the Jewish community’s long-time positive experience and acceptance in the U.S. and the existence of Israel. The two are connected in very direct and subtle ways and I think we Jews on the left make a big mistake by abandoning Israel. Plus, future generations may need to leave the U.S. – and Israel may be the only tangible sanctuary for many.
Moving forward, we need to reach out to groups such as Peace Now, Combatants for Peace and credible Israeli politicians on the left (whoever is still viable???) and have them come meet with our synagogues, Jewish community groups and sympathetic politicians here in the U.S.
In her article in Al-Monitor, Svetlova wonders why there’s been no credible response on the Israeli left to the Deal of the Century. Everybody knows what’s wrong. No Palestinian involvement. It’s an election-year political ploy on the part of Netanyahu. It’s led to more violence in Gaza and the territories and eventual crackdowns, which makes Netanyahu look tough just before the March 2 election, round three in Israel.
But what does the political left stand for on peace in Israel? And what do American Jews on the left here in the United States think? We can’t just acquiesce and let the right win. And we can’t let the far left in the U.S. push the BDS agenda and lobby for decreased aid to Israel and an end to our longstanding relationship with Israel. Nobody on the left here in the United States is ready to concede the November election to Donald Trump. So why are we ready to write off Israel? Why can’t we support the left-leaning voters in Israel and show Israelis that there are Americans who are pro-Israel, but have some serious questions about the policies of the last 11 years under Netanyahu? I don’t claim to have the answers and in future blogs, I will explore alternative options to the myopic Deal of the Century. I also want to hear your ideas for alternative peace proposals.
I have my own personal issues with Jared Kusher. But for now, his father-in-law is President and we have to deal with it. But we shouldn’t deal with it by walking away from Israel.
Sunday, February 2
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Tries to Get Through to Jared Kushner, but to no Avail
During the past couple of weeks I’ve taken to watching Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square on CNN at 10 a.m. Eastern on Sunday mornings because its one of the only shows that gives viewers a perspective beyond Washington, D.C.
Mr. Zakaria had Jared Kushner on the show this morning for a long talk about the rollout of the Middle East peace plan and upcoming electoral politics. Looks like Jared is the only one President Trump can trust to go on TV now for him, except maybe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Fareed gave Jared an open platform to speak his point of view and highlight the talking points of the plan: it’s a comprehensive 181-page report that features an economic development plan for the region supported by some key Gulf states that want stability and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
What the plan lacks are the Palestinians. And Zakaria took a swipe at Kusher, pointing out that on Page 34 of the document, it lays out an unrealistic vision for what the Palestinians could accomplish. The first bullet point is somewhat laughable. The text reads as follows: “The Palestinians shall have implemented a governing system with a constitution or another system for establishing the rule of law that provides for freedom of the press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, protections for religious freedoms and for religious minorities to observe their faith, uniform and fair enforcement of law and contractual rights, due process under the law, and an independent judiciary with appropriate legal consequences and punishment established for violations of the law.”
After what happened this past Friday in the Senate impeachment trial with the Senate shutting off hearing witnesses and President Trump’s impending acquittal, it’s more than suspect that we have a functioning legal system here at home, let alone expect the Palestinians to produce one. And since when is the Trump administration a friend of the free press? The bullet points in the Trump-Kusher plan go on to say that the Palestinians “shall have established transparent, independent, and credit-worthy financial institutions capable of engaging in international market transactions in the same manner as financial institutions of western democracies…” I’ll spare you the rest. When will this happen by? In time for March Madness?
Zakaria basically says to Kusher that aren’t what you really saying is that the Palestinians aren’t going to have a state. Zakaria wanted to know what the strategy is for this deal to work.
Kushner resorted to his talking points, but the real strategy went unsaid. The real strategy is that Israel has determined that it can outlast another Palestinian revolt in the wake of this peace plan. They will crack down on the Palestinians for as long as it takes. Then annex the West Bank and by then it will be too late. The Palestinians will have to accept what true cynics like to call “the reality on the ground.”
Sadly, we can’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis by bringing the Palestinians to their knees. Oslo got close because both sides took several years to hammer out a framework for peace. What Jared Kusher proposes is a one-sided Chamber of Commerce development plan suitable for a distressed industrial city in the U.S. And those plans only go so far. Look at all the big development plans in the U.S. They create short-term construction jobs, low-wage retail jobs and high-priced housing. We can argue the finer points of the development plan. There is a growing Palestinian tech sector, but it’s very fragile. And even Dr. Martin Luther King said in the 1960s that’s what’s needed for the Middle East is a latter-day Marshall Plan. So giving Jared some credit for the economic portion of the plan, yes, we need an economic development plan for the region. But this one-sided deal was finally rolled out to help Netanyahu show how tough he is, form a government and then finally annex the West Bank, the long-held vision and stated goal of the religious right wing in Israel. In the U.S., President Trump gets a short-term diversion, throws a bone to his Evangelical base and Jared gets to strut his stuff and look like he’s important.
Look, I get it, Jared is the one with all the money and power who gets on TV and is the big deal. I’m just a lowly blogger with no financial backing and a history of writing about the tech sector, not commenting on Middle East politics. But I know this much. The Trump-Kushner peace plan won’t bring a solution to the long conflict. And it won’t bring peace or economic development to the region. More than likely, the deal will crumble in a few weeks or months, Israel will annex the West Bank as planned and Israel and the United States will have created many new terrorists across the Middle East.
The strategy, Mr. Zakaria, is clear: Have the IDF crack down on the protests. Annex the West Bank. And then have Israel manage the chaos as best they can for as long as they can. Eventually the Palestinians will give up. Look, we have our own history in the United States with the Native-Americans. That’s what’s happening everyone. There needs to be another way. Time is running out.
Friday, January 31
Clashes in West Bank, Protests Throughout Arab World in Wake of Deal of the Century; Trump Prevails in Senate Trial
What a day. For starters, the U.S. has gone through a wrenching afternoon as it looks like Donald Trump and his minions will prevail in the Senate impeachment trial.
Short answer: No witnesses. Trump will be acquitted. It’s just a matter of time. Forget Lev Parnas. Forget John Bolton. Trump rules with an Iron Tweet.
And as Americans on the left wring their hands over the prospect of an emboldened Donald Trump, few except serial Israel watchers will know that there were some serious clashes in the West Bank today that saw 48 Palestinians wounded and an IDF solider hit by a rock. Once again the U.S. media is fixated on Washington, and this time for good reason.
Earlier today in the Middle East there were also protests in Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon and “Death to Israel” chants in Amman. Many in Israel may shrug their soldiers and call this “business as usual” but none of this had to happen. There are Israelis who want to forge another path, as there are Americans who are not pleased with the Trump administration. But both societies are dug in, polarized possibly beyond repair.
Just thought my U.S. friends should know that all is not well in the Middle East — and won’t be for some time. And the same holds true in the U.S. We are in very dispiriting times and there doesn’t seem an easy way out. For tonight, Stephanie and I plan to attend Friday night services to support some of the Transgender members in our synagogue community. There is decency out there, you just have to seek it out.
Tuesday, January 28
Trump Peace Plan Nothing More Than a Re-Election Ploy
While Washington, D.C., remains obsessed with the impeachment trial, President Trump tried to divert the news cycle by announcing the long-awaited Deal of the Century, the administration’s peace plan for the Middle East. Tonight we feature author Mark Schack, who has some strong views on the topic. Please read Mark’s comments with an open mind and offer up some comments at the bottom on this post. I’m very concerned about what the rest of this week holds for Israelis and Palestinians. Trump and Netanyahu will do anything to get re-elected. They don’t care how much blood has to spill, so long as they can remain in power. It’s wrong and they need to be called out for their craven politics.
The Deal of Which Century?
By Mark Schlack
Today’s long-awaited reveal of the Trump-Kushner “Deal of the Century” brings little more than a rehash of old and bad ideas about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the West Bank and Gaza. It’s a sad document, written by sad old men like Trump and Netanyahu, who seemingly have not noticed that since the end of World War II, the great powers can no longer write the map of the world with no care towards those who live within the lines they seek to draw. As such, it reminds me most of the Anglo-French partitioning of the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago, a series of deals which have driven much of the conflict in the Middle East to this day.
And now we have the spectacle of the United States and Donald Trump playing a 21st century Middle East mapmaker. Never mind what the Palestinians think. They reject it outright. And never mind what the rest of the Arab world thinks: As of late last night they were split, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar backing the plan, while Turkey and Jordan did not. But what’s really important is what this plan can do for Trump and Netanyahu’s re-election hopes. Here’s the checklist:
- Trump gets to deliver on a promise to “solve” the Middle East, one that evangelicals take very seriously. The Biblical kingdom of Israel remains intact, a prerequisite for the Christian Apocalypse.
- The quality of the solution – its workability — is not important to Trump. “We tried” is what Trump wants here, followed by “they should have taken the deal” when the harsh repercussions (IDF crackdown) for not taking it follow.
- Trump also gets an issue to divide the American Jewish community during an election year, which I think he takes very seriously. He knows that the Democratic Party may not back this deal if they win in 2020, and he’ll run on that. “They want to destroy Israel” will be his claim, with B-roll of The Squad. Maybe he’ll also talk about how many Arab-Americans love him, just like all the African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and others he’s insulted that he claims support him.
- Netanyahu delivers the settlements, just as fast as he can, into Israel without firing a bullet (as of late tonight). He’s already said that starting this Sunday, work will begin on absorbing West Bank Jewish settlements. The plan also lets him occupy the Jordan River Valley, further cementing the right-wing’s “river to sea” vision of Israel.
- The deal also possibly gives Bibi a way to disarm Avigdor Lieberman, his primary secular far-right rival and a leader of the important Russian Jewish community in Israel.
For the Palestinians, they face more awful choices made without their involvement. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says Netanyahu wants the deal to fail, so that he can justify full-scale annexation of the entire West Bank. How will Israel then deal with adding 1 million Palestinians to the voting rolls? Not fairly and not democratically, that much is already clear. That’s Bibi’s threat to the Palestinians if they don’t play along.
Some Palestinian activists are now abandoning the two-state idea for “one man, one vote” notion of a single bi-national Israel. The Israel far-right’s answer to that is sure, if they can push substantial numbers of Palestinians into Jordan and Lebanon, limit their political rights, and isolate them within Israeli society.
And if the Palestinians accept the deal? From a Palestinian point of view, the deal only cements in place the settler’s theft of West Bank lands. All of this in exchange for an uncertain political future for Palestine and a promise of lots of development money. Promises are easy to make, easy to break. And to whom will all that money go? Will it create good-paying jobs for the average Palestinian? Unlikely. There’s little reason for the ordinary Palestinian to be interested in this deal, and early reporting says most aren’t.
As a Jew, I cannot support something that paves the way for a series of unpalatable scenarios: Trump’s apartheid-like partition of Palestine into “state-minus” (Bibi’s phrase) zones, or Bibi’s pushing for a single Jewish state from the Jordan to the sea, with all of the violence and civil violations it will entail. In short, one promises ghettos, the other adds the likelihood of pogroms. Let’s call it what it is.
Adding to my anger and sadness is the strange spectacle of Trump play-acting at the big power ignorance and chauvinism that marked the colonial era. Surely Vietnam taught us that we can no longer dictate to the developing world what their future will be. And since we didn’t learn that lesson, we have repeated it again in Afghanistan and Iraq and are on the verge of stumbling into yet another ill-conceived Middle East war with Iran. But Trump cares about only one history: his own.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is long and hard and won’t be solved by sloganeering and half-baked schemes cooked up for short-term political gains. This plan would have been better off never seeing the light of day.
Mark Schlack is a Boston-area journalist who has more than 30 years writing and editing about high technology and over the past several years has written extensively about American Jewish life. He is the author of Replay Earth, a sci-fi novel set in the last half of the 21st Century that poses serious questions about how global warming will change economic and social relationships.
Sunday, January 26
Combatants for Peace to Hold West Coast Tour in U.S.
In the end, it’s all about peace. There must be a recognition that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must stop and that the cycle of violence must stop. How do we do this? I’m very aware that anyone who talks about peace in the Middle East is often viewed as naïve and from the perspective of many American and Israeli Jews, even considered a traitor. Same for a Palestinian who works with the Jewish community.
But there are people who for many years have been trying to find a path toward peace, a group called Combatants for Peace. Founded in the mid-2000s, the group seeks to find ways for people on both sides of the conflict to forgive one another and work towards peace and end the occupation. Generally, they preach non-violence and hold many educational sessions and group tours, but they are also activists and inject themselves into local politics in Israel with various protest actions that may make some pro-Israel Jews uncomfortable.
However, it’s important to remember that all the founding members of this group (on both sides) are former combatants and many have lost loved ones in the conflict. Read their personal stories on the website, they are very powerful.
Starting later today at 3 p.m. Pacific time at Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa, Calif., American Friends of Combatants for Peace will start its West Coast Tour. It runs from January 26 to February 12, mostly in the Bay Area. The format of each session is very simple: Beth Schuman, executive director of American Friends of Combatants for Peace, will give a short introduction. Then they will show an excerpt of the movie, Disturbing the Peace, a documentary (included in this link) about the founding of Combatants for Peace. And then an Israeli will speak, followed by a Palestinian. Finally, there will be a Q&A session.
Don’t expect miracles. This is a very complicated issue. The speakers and members of Combatants for Peace take great risks for cooperating with one another. There is great skepticism on the part of their friends and families and the general public. Yet they have continued on for nearly 15 years. One note: The speakers from Combatants for Peace can frustrate questioners because they don’t give specific solutions. They don’t take a position on BDS, and they don’t come out specifically for a one-state or a two-state solution. Only that both sides must talk with one another and find a solution. The goal is a just peace for both sides.
Thanks for reading this blog entry with an open mind. In these tense times, I leave you with three short prayers for peace:
Grant us peace, Your most precious gift, O Eternal Source of peace, and give us the will to proclaim its message to all the peoples of the earth. Bless our country, that it may always be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate among the nations. May contentment reign within its border, health and happiness within its homes. Strengthen the bonds of friendship among the inhabitants of all lands, and may the love of Your name hallow every home and every heart. Blessed is the Eternal God, the Source of peace.
Source: The Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful:
Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations, that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy inclines towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust in God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things. And the servants of God, Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say “PEACE.”
Source: Based on the Koran, 49:13, 8:61
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Source: Matthew 5:9
For more information about Combatants for Peace, read its 2019 Annual Report.
Wednesday, January 22
Reform and Reconstructing Judaism Movements Encourage American Jews to Vote in US World Zionist Congress Election
The problems of Israel are often overwhelming to ponder and many of us feel powerless to do anything. Especially for Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, we look aghast as non-Orthodox Jews have so many struggles in the Holy Land. Some of my friends say they would never live in Israel because they couldn’t practice Judaism the way they would want.
On my recent trip to Israel with Temple Isaiah of Fulton, Md., we visited Kehilat Mevasserat Zion and found a vibrant Reform congregation. Not that there weren’t issues. Rabbi Alona Nir Keren told us about the uphill fight Reform Jews have just in her suburban Jerusalem area. There are some 40 congregations in Mevasserat Zion – and only one is Reform, the rest are Orthodox.
While it’s easy to throw up our hands and say nothing can be done, there’s actually something you can do and it will only cost $7.50. You can vote in the upcoming US Election for the 38th World Zionist Congress.
The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and Reconstructing Judaism are encouraging American Jews to vote for the ARZA Reform/Reconstructionist slate for the World Zionist Congress, which will meet in Jerusalem this October.
A vote for the ARZA Reform/Reconstructionist platform means that the American Progressive point of view on Israel and Judaism will be heard. The platform will work towards the following principles:
- Support Jewish religious pluralism in Israel.
- Create youth programs for Arab and Jewish children to learn and grow together.
- Encourage ecological and environmental initiatives.
- Develop programs that build bridges across ethnic and religious divides.
Rabbi Craig Axler of Temple Isaiah says it will be interesting to see how the US Election for the World Zionist Congress will impact decisions made in Israel. Rabbi Axler says the ARZA Reform/Reconstructionist slate features a pro-Israel, pro-democracy stance that looks for Israel to thrive as both a Jewish and democratic state.
In terms of the direct result, Rabbi Axler points out that the last WZC elections saw the ARZA slate and the Mercaz (Conservative movement) both draw a tremendous turnout. The result was that the WZC dedicated some funding towards movement-based, non-orthodox Jewish religious activities in Israel, including funding for some of the Reform rabbinical salaries through quasi-governmental funding in Israel. That’s a big deal because most of the government money in Israel goes to Orthodox congregations.
“There’s no question in my mind that many more Israelis who identify themselves as ‘secular’ are genuinely supportive of the Reform/Progressive movement in Israel and would be involved with the activities of their congregations and communities if they were better-funded and not as maligned as they are in the mainstream opinion of Israelis,” Axler said.
So we can’t form a new coalition government ourselves. We can’t solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, at least not today. But we CAN go online and vote for the progressive point of view in Israel.
One note: For seniors who do not do e-commerce, I sent an email to the American Zionist Movement to see if they will accept credit cards over the phone and/or accept a check in the mail. More on this tomorrow.
Update on Paper Ballots:
This just in from Jeff Becker, election coordinator at the American Zionist Movement: Thank you for the question. You can print out a paper registration form and ballot and send it in by mail. To print out the paper ballot go to www.ZionistElection.org and click on “Get a paper ballot to vote by postal mail” at the very bottom of the page. You can include payment with a check in the envelope or you can write in your credit or debit information on the paper registration form. All the instructions are present on the form.
How Should We View MLK’s Stance on Israel?
Monday, January 20
I woke up today wanting to do some good because today we collectively celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. During the Obama years, President Obama set the right tone by calling for MLK Day to be a day of service. Wow, have we gone downhill during the Trump years from the tone set by President Obama.
So I started my day by bringing a bag of canned food to a local Giant so at least I could feel like I did something worthwhile. Since I had nothing planned for this year’s special day, I started reading back articles and columns on MLK and came across an important column written around this time last year by New York Times columnist Michelle Alexander.
In her column, Alexander called for Americans to start speaking out about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. As could be expected, she got hammered by the organized Jewish community and a string of articles from all sides were posted over the next several weeks and months, some in support of Alexander, other’s pointing out how she was flawed.
I took my dog Ross for a long walk and started thinking about all this. What could I offer to this debate that would be constructive? I kept coming back to Dr. King’s main theme, from the “I Have a Dream” speech, that of striving for a world where people were judged, “not for the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
Alexander agrees with historian Robin D.G. Kelley that had he lived, Dr. King would have become a critic of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. I tend to agree, but it’s not clear to me that Dr. King would have supported BDS or the vitriol of today’s left towards Israel. Much of the criticism towards Israel ignores the reality that the Arab nations sought time and again to destroy Israel, that during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948, a typical meal for a Jew was six olives, a slice of bread and a glass of water, and that there has been unending suffering on both sides. Every Israeli has a direct family member or relative who has been killed or wounded in the conflict. And most important, there’s almost no recognition that thousands of Israelis are concerned about the situation and don’t necessarily agree with the actions of the IDF and the current coalition government run by Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel still hasn’t formed a government largely because it remains very divided on all these issues.
I don’t have the answer. But I’m 100 percent sure that Dr. King would have wanted us to put aside our differences and find a way to make peace. He was a revolutionary, yes. But he was also a pragmatist and not overtly violent. He was best known for non-violence and didn’t embrace the more radical views of the Black Panthers and SNCC. It’s one thing to criticize the Israeli government. It’s quite another to call Israel an apartheid state that’s fundamentally racist and should be dismantled, replaced by an uncertain one-state solution, an envisioned post-Zionist state in what’s now Israel.
I struggle with these questions all the time. But as a Jew, I don’t have the moral clarity of a Michelle Alexander or Robin D.G. Kelley. I have to live in my community, yet find ways for people to see both sides and look past their differences. Things are so tense over these issues in the Jewish community that people have gotten to a point where they won’t even talk about them to family members and friends. Meanwhile, the anti-Zionists and haters of Israel sharpen their knifes and make it so people dig into their views even deeper. If Dr. King’s teachings mean anything, we have to find a way past our differences and find common ground. If we can’t do that, all sides will lose and the status-quo will prevail for another 50 years. D.G. Kelley, I loved your book about Thelonius Monk, but I’m not sure I’m with you on Middle East politics. On this MLK Day, I ask everyone to take a step back and consider the other side. Both sides have to look deep within themselves and compromise. Digging into our positions will only lead to more cycles of war and bloodshed. And that’s not what Dr. King would have wanted. On this MLK Day, I once again pray for peace.
Something to watch: Center-Right Media in Israel Reports that Palestinian Columnist Calls for Violence Ahead of This Week’s World Holocaust Forum
The center-to-right press in Israel reported over the last 24 hours that the Palestinian Authority’s Daily newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida printed an op-ed on Saturday calling for violence as more than 40 heads of state converge on Jerusalem this week for the fifth annual World Holocaust Forum.
The report was released by Palestinian Media Watch, a watchdog group that follows Palestinian media closely. According to the watchdog group, the op-ed warned that “one shot will disrupt the ceremony and one body will cancel the ceremony.”
As you can imagine, you wouldn’t know about this by reading the U.S. press. Or the world press for that matter. Do a search and you’ll find that the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, and Algemeiner had the story, while Haaretz did not run the story. At least that story did not come up in a Google search of the left-leaning newspaper.
In the U.S., it’s All Trump, All the Time. And they will be in hyperdrive for the next few days. Clearly, if something bad happens in Jerusalem or elsewhere in the Middle East, the pack will follow.
Earlier today, The Times of Israel had a story in which it was reported that the Israeli government warned Hamas not to disrupt this week’s celebration.
Tensions are the norm in Israel, and the media is keeping the anxiety high. Let’s see how things go later this week. After today’s post, I don’t think I’m going to pray for peace for at least another couple of weeks. Every time I do a war almost breaks out.