The justices tried to convince the attorneys for the petitioners to accept their view. But the anti-Zionist petitioners would have none of it. As they see it, since Israel is a democracy, and the vast majority of Israelis do not agree with their views, the entire country is illegitimate.
As Dan Yakir from Association for Civil Rights in Israel explained, all of Israel is tied up to the so-called occupation. So if the justices think it is okay to boycott the areas of the country that they would like to part with, they have to accept a boycott of areas of the country they wish to keep.
Building on this view, Adalah’s Hassan Jabareen insisted that all of Israel is politically disputed. And as a consequence, all of it is the legitimate target of boycott.
The petitioners’ rejection of all of Israel, rather than just parts of it, puts the justices and the leftist establishment as a whole in a difficult position.
They have to make a choice between the public, which sees no distinction between Ariel and Tel Aviv, and the anti-Zionists who also see no distinction between Ariel and Tel Aviv. That is, they have to decide what is more important to them – being Zionists, when that mantle is worn by the type of Jews they have spent their lives trying to distinguish themselves from, and being anti-Zionists, and so denying their right to exist.
The Israeli leftist establishment’s dilemma is not unique. The American Jewish establishment faces the same brutal choice. The American Jewish establishment followed along after the Israeli leftist establishment when it embraced the PLO in 1993. Ever since, the American Jewish establishment has drawn a distinction between consensus Israel, within the 1949 armistice lines, which they supported, and controversial Israel, outside those lines, which they marginalized, or debased.
And just as the activist Israeli Left has joined the campaign to destroy the Jewish state and so is now forcing the leftist establishment to either side with the public it holds in contempt or with the anti-Zionist Left that rejects Israel completely, so the activist American Jewish Left has become a leading voice in the campaign to criminalize Israel. Today it is forcing the Jewish establishment to make a choice between siding with all Israelis, including the Israeli Right, or siding with the likes of J Street whose aim is to delegitimize the organized American Jewish community’s right to defend Israel.
On Monday, a new documentary about J Street called “The J Street Challenge,” debuted in Miami. The film, produced by the social action group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, shows how J Street, which claims to be pro-peace and pro-Israel, seeks to eliminate American Jewish groups on the Right and weaken overall American Jewish support for Israel by delegitimizing the American Jewish organizational structure.
In July 2010, as the IRS was engaged in delaying and denying the applications for the non-profit status of groups that campaigned for limited government, J Street asked the IRS to cancel the non-profit status of American charities that support Israeli entities located in or operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
Since then, a dozen completely legitimate, law-abiding charitable organizations have been embroiled in lawsuits or audits and have been forced to fight for their institutional lives.
“The J Street Challenge” provides footage of speeches by J Street leaders and founders who question Israel’s right to exist and defame the American Jewish community for supporting Israel. In one such speech, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami used the classical anti-Semitic imagery of a Jewish hydra suffocating the world in his description of the American Jewish establishment.
As he put it, “I think we’re taking on much more than AIPA C. I think it is the Conference of Presidents. It’s the American Jewish Committee. It’s the lobbying structures of the Federations. It’s the network of JCRCs, the community relations councils. It’s a multi-layered, multi-headed hydra.”
The most outspoken critics of Israeli anti-Zionist NGOs and J Street are on the Right. And that makes sense. It isn’t hard for rightists to make the distinction between speeches and extortion.
But the primary target of these groups is not the Right. It is the leftist Jewish establishment, in Israel and in the US.
And as J Street’s nearly unchallenged rise in the US, and the Court’s self-defeating incoherence on the boycott campaign indicate, over the decades, the establishment Left has become so dependent on rejecting the Right for its own sense of identity, that it is no longer clear whether its members are capable of siding with the hated Right against their common foes.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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