Â Foxman under fire in Haaretz by an editor at Moment magazine:
Foxman has particularly distinguished himself by indulging in spineless acts of rhetorical ambiguity, declaring that “this is not an issue where we take a position one way or the other. This is an issue that needs to be resolved by the parties, not by us. We are neither historians nor arbiters.” This from a man who rightfully claims that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial amounts to an attempt to destroy Jewish identity! This from the leader of an organization that has rightfully called on the world not to avert its eyes from the genocide underway in Sudan’s Darfur region! (One wonders what Foxman would do if Khartoum were on friendly terms with Jerusalem.)Â
All the good that they had done for Israel in their early days has now been offset by the power they have established in the D.C. community. As with any powerful lobby, there is a tendency for such groups to bully their way through the Congress to achieve its goal. And AIPAC is no worse or better than the NRA and other such self-interest groups. While AIPAC is primarily a Jewish organization, I am aware that most liberal Jews hate what they are doing and the tactics that they are using. Since over 70% of American Jews are liberal, I believe that AIPAC is not representing the views of most of the Jewish community.
I want to point out that progressive or unaffiliated or alternative opinion Jews have as much responsibility for the right-wing stranglehold over “mainstream” Jewish life as right-wing fatheads themselves — for ceding the space to them. Hopefully, as I’ve watched the number of AIPAC sorties increase in the Jewish press over the past three years (ten years ago, I’m told, this was just unheard of in Jewish press), this cessation is giving way to more and more progressive voices breaking into communal space. The birth of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom and JVP attest to one side of the equation of a particular Israel debate where the dissatisfied are picking up clubs, whereas the pickup of once-controversial firebrands by the institutional voices signals an acknowledgment from inside that the calculus of communal opinion is changing. (We hope.)
Jewschool was given the option to fade away upon the retirement of our founding editor, but all of us felt that our voice — particularly a religiously-progressive, politically-progressive, socially-progressive voice — is vastly important to the vibrancy of the Jewish community, to the boat rockin’ that needs be done for it’s sake. More so than any so-called attack on the right wing, which is just a metaphor that I’m using here, but an attack on the hesitations we alternative thinkers have on engaging with mainstream institutions, with playing with the big boys, and balancing the impact of right-wing fatheads like Foxman can have upon the future of Jewish life.
The assault is on. Shabbat shalom.