In the midst of the controversy over the Seattle Jewish federation letter sent to Kadima denouncing its hosting of Palestinian anti-Occupation cleric Canon Naim Ateek, Rainer Waldman Adkins referred in a JTNews interview to a “community protocol” that required those who created this letter to follow a path other than the one they chose.
When challenged by Rob Jacobs, StandWithUs’ Seattle director, who claimed my characterization of this document as an Israel Accord was a fiction and that the document didn’t exist–I decided to dig the document up. And guess what, the document that never existed was signed by none other than Rob Jacobs! Must be a case of severe memory loss. Or perhaps Rob only remembers those things it’s convenient for him to remember?
At any rate, here is the text of the Derech Eretz Israel Statement 2004 (pdf). You may click on the image to open the full sized version:
We represent a broad spectrum of opinion within the Jewish community. We frequently disagree on issues relating to Israel, including the best path towards security and well-being for Israel and the Jewish people.
Especially in trying times, such as during the upcoming Gaza disengagement, we expect vigorous debate and disagreement in Israel and between Jews everywhere, including here in Washington State.
While we have differences of opinion, we hope with this statement to make it very clear that Israel is always close to all our hearts and souls. Further, we are united in our commitment to respectful, constructive and civil dialogue concerning Israel. Such behavior strengthens our collective support for Israel and our community.
•We commit to practice Derech Eretz, exhibiting and nurturing respect and communication, trusting in each other’s good intentions, and rejecting personal or malicious attacks, as we debate issues pertaining to Israel, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, peace in the Mideast, and the wider Jewish community.
Further, in spite of our differences, together we publicly state that we agree on several core principles:
• Israel has the right to exist, in peace, as the Jewish State.
•We support Israel’s efforts to maintain itself as a democratic and pluralistic society, despite the pressures faced both within and without.
• Israel has the right, as a sovereign nation, to secure and recognized borders, to defend itself, and to protect its citizens.
•We support Israel’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Mideast.
•We fervently hope and pray for peace within Israel, among Jews everywhere, between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Israelis and all peoples of the region.
We therefore pledge ourselves to do all in our power to assist Israel in every way at this difficult time.
This is the pertinent phrase which Rainer referred to in expressing his disappointment with the federation’s attack on Kadima:
We commit to…exhibiting and nurturing respect and communication, trusting in each other’s good intentions, and rejecting personal or malicious attacks
A reasonable person would read that and imagine that the federation’s Israel committee, finding fault with Kadima’s hosting of Ateek would communicate that to the group in a timely and respectful way that would allow an exchange of views on the subject. The statement makes no mention of grandstanding or scoring propaganda points, which is clearly what Rob Jacobs and those who spearheaded the letter but who did not sign it, sought to do.
In fact, if I didn’t know better I might think that the letter might be an opening salvo in a campaign to delegitimize groups like Brit Tzedek and Kadima and prohibit them from participating in the deliberations of the Israel committee.
In Rob’s twisted interpretation of this document it was Kadima’s obligation to come to the Israel committee before it agreed to host the event. It’s incumbent on the Jewish progressive community to get a heksher to host events that might be controversial for Rob and other local Israel lobby groups.
Would you care to admit your error, Rob?