Joshua Mitnick wrote an excellent piece on Yechiel Eckstein’s promotion to the Jewish Agency Executive and the rising power of his evangelical International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. As far as I’m concerned this is the “money quote:”
Rabbi Eckstein said the pro-Israeli enthusiasm of Christian Zionists fills a “void” among the American Jewish public, which surveys suggest is less and less connected to Israel.
Instead of examining the deeper reasons why younger Diaspora Jews have become alienated from Israel–which would force us to examine Israeli policy that prevents peace and the leadership’s support for that policy–Eckstein essentially gives up on the next Jewish generation and turns to evangelicals; as if they can take the place of Jews. To me, the notion that an evangelical Christian, given all the baggage that this religion carries in its historic relation to Jews, can substitute for Jewish engagement with Israel is absurd. Not only absurd, but dangerous. What happens when the inevitable break happens between the evangelicals and Jews as their perceived self-interest diverges (say, when Israel makes a peace agreement which the former disagree with)? What will Israel be left with? Diminished Jewish support and no Christian Zionist support.
One issue that Mitnick left out of his story was IFCJ support for Jewish settlements. While the group supports communities within the Green Line, it funnels tremendous amounts of aid to settlements thereby helping prop up this enterprise. It should also be noted, as Gershom Gorenberg points out, that private aid to the settler movement though significant, is dwarfed by government aid.
Hat tip to Haim Dov Beliak.
Jeanne Capozzoli says
From my more than forty years of living and teaching in NY, it came through loud and clear that justice was in the DNA of Judaism. So it shocked me over the years to watch as the big Jewish organizations such as AIPAC supported the Occupation and Settlemets in the West Bank etc. It comes as no surprise that young Jews feel less supportive of Israel. It is difficult to be proud of Israel when they are stealing Palestinian land and water and imprisoning them in their own lands. In fact, it would be a safe to assume that many Jews are deeply ashamed of the actions of Israel.
Richard, I will never forget how you and your teenage friends were so proud and supportive of Israel. That Israel is losing the kind of love and enthusiasm you and your friends exhibited will never be filled by the Christian Zionists.
Jeanne-you are quite right that “Justice is the DNA of Judaism”, that explains the importance of supporting the restoration of Jewish settlement in Judea/Samaria. Jews have lived CONTINUOUSLY, for 4000 years, throughout Judea/Samaria and Gaza (as well as within what is today called “the Green Line”-i.e. the pre-1967 cease-fire lines) , so nothing is more just than renewing the Jewish communities there. That is why at least the Western nations supported the Balfour Declaration which recognized the justice of this, and Jewish rights within those territories IN ADDITION to the territory that is currently under the rule of the country of Jordan.
Richard Silverstein says
Neither Jeanne nor I am interetested in the narrow parochial definition of “justice” you purvey. We support justice in the broadest sense as the Prophets did. Were Amos, Isaiah or Jeremiah alive today no doubt they would fulminate against the settler movement & its perversion of Israeli and Jewish values.
That is a perversion of the Balfour Declaration which in no way sanctioned Jewish settlements beyond the Green Line. I do NOT appreciate such distortions of the historical record. If you keep spouting propaganda twisting the historical record your privileges to comment may be reduced or ended. This isn’t a debating society for the settler movement. If that’s yr purpose here then move on.
Richard, on which territories, then, did the Balfour Declaration apply?
Richard Silverstein says
Does sanctioning a Jewish state in Palestine mean Israel has the right to steal Palestine land in Bilin or settle hundreds of thousands of settlers beyond the Green Line? You’ll just have to show me where it approves that type of activity in the text.
I am sorry, but I don’t see any mention of the “Green Line” in your quote. Although you claim otherwise, the Balfour Declaration applies to the territory that is called today “Israel”, “Judea/Samaria (i.e. the so-called “West Bank”), the Gaza Strip and what today is called “The Kingdom of Jordan”.
The “Green Line” was the cease-fire line adopted after the Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-9. The Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917, the League Of Nations Mandate given toBritain was issued in 1922 and Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill then divided the British-mandated Palestine into “Palestine” (i.e. Palestine west of the Jordan River) and “Transjordan” (i.e. Palestine east of the Jordan River). Thus, the Balfour Declaration could not have had any relationship to “the Green Line” which didn’t exist at that tie..
The Balfour Declaration, in the quote you bring mentions “national rights” for the Jews but only “civil and religious rights” for the non-Jewish population.
If I am wrong about any of the above, please correct me. If you believe that the 1947 Palestine Partition Resolution provides the only “legal” definition of Israel’s territory, then Israel’s presence in Yafo (next to Tel Aviv), Lod, Ramla, Beersheva, west Jerusalem, Ashdod, Ashqelon, the settlements of the Jerusalem Corridor, Carmiel, Nahariya and most of the rest of the north is also “illegal” since they are in territories captured in the 1948 war, OUTSIDE the partition resolution’s defintion of the area of the Jewish state. The “Green Line” which you mention, as I said, is the cease-fire line. I know of no one in the world, outside of the Israeli Left who recognizes it as an international border. The Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world certainly don’t recognize it becaue they insist on the Palesinian “right of return” showing that they do not view Israel has having sovereign rights to define who may live within the Green Line, and the US and Europe dont’ recognize it either, because they recognize the rights of the Palestinian to demand the “right of return” nor do they recognize Israel’s control of West Jerusalem by refusing to recognize that area as Jerusalem’s capital and by refusing to locate their embassies there.
Again, if I am wrong about any of this, please correct me. This is my understanding of the situation.
Richard Silverstein says
Bar Kochba: The dialogue here is officially over. My eyes glaze over when people start trying to lecture me on early 20th century Zionist history. Do NOT reply to this comment. This thread is officially closed to you. You’ve had yr say multiple times now move on either to another thread here or to the other liberal Jewish sites you haunt doing yr hasbara duty as Israel’s propaganda spokesperson. If you don’t feel you’ve had yr say then have it in yr own blog. Just not here.
Gee, if you can find any of that in the original text let us know where you find it. I’ve quoted it above & yet you still persist in claiming that Lord Balfour was a supporter of settler extremism even before there was a State of Israel, let alone a settler movement. Besides if you can tell me how creating an Israeli settler state doesn’t damage the “civil and religious rights” of the Palestinians within Israel & the Territories you’d be a genius & believe me, you ain’t.
Laughable. Try the UN, U.S. government & those of most of the rest of the world.
Another thing that amazes me about the propagandists is that they attempt to use 90 year old documents as if they should be the operative ones to determine a latter day resolution of the conflict.
I’ve been googling the last 20 minutes searching for any evidence that the UN, US or anyone else recognizes the “green line” as a border and not an armistice line, and couldn’t find one. Certainly if it were a recognized border, the US and most other countries should have no problem placing their embassies in West Jerusalem. Even the Hague court’s decision against Israel’s wall referred to the “green line” as the armistice lines. Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan states that the border between Israel the Palestinians and Jordan will be determined by negotiations when and where it is relevant. Alas, I fear that the closest thing Israel has to a recognized border are the lines of the UN resolution form 1947. I would greatly appreciate a reference which proves that I am wrong, because I have not been able to find one.
BTW, I agree that 90 year old documents should not be the basis for resolving the conflict. I also believe that 60 year old armistice lines shouldn’t be the basis for resolving the conflict either. The basis should be the reality on the ground today.
Richard Silverstein says
THis is all pilpul on yr part. The 1967 border is the Green Line. This will largely be the basis for a final peace agreement (with some adjustments to incorporate retained settlement blocs). Most Israelis know this. Most of the rest of the world knows this. You & other Israeli rightists seem not to have heard the news.