Identity, Israel, Politics

This week's patriot-off: Mort Klein vs. 500 whistleblower veterans

Mort Klein is at it again: playing Jewish communal chicken with forces bigger than himself. This excellent reportage from Larry Cohler-Esses at the NY Jewish Week about Breaking the Silence:

“This is a fight over the identity of Israel and Judaism,” said group co-founder Yehuda Shaul…“This is why American Jews must take part in the debate.”
But Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared he would call the national president of Hillel this week to protest the Harvard chapter’s decision to provide Breaking the Silence a venue.
“Harvard Hillel should be ashamed of itself and should immediately rescind giving legitimacy to a program that only promotes hatred against Israel and Jews,” he declared. “They should not be allowing programs that harm Israel’s image, in this case falsely. Donors give to Hillel because they think they will be promoting love for Israel, not a negative and distorted image of the Israeli Army.”

Mort’s private ZOA soapbox is noisy. But if he wants to go head-to-head with 500 Israeli soldiers who saw it, did it, and regretted it, then he’s more than welcome to embarrass himself once more. (Hell, he should do it more often.) He’s called BTS a lie. A year ago, Mort Klein tried and failed to get the UPZ kicked out of the pro-Israel campus umbrella for sponsoring a tour by the veterans. It comes as no surprise to anyone that his goat is got again.
And truth be told, Harvard Hillel didn’t welcome BTS with open arms:

The upshot was a change of mind just weeks before the event and an offer to host it at Hillel, after all. “We made it clear we’re not pleased the exhibit is coming,” said Simon. “But what would have potentially been a situation of one of our affiliated groups bringing this to campus and another opposing it—and people seeing these images without contextualization—we thought we’d really rather have it at Harvard Hillel.”

They did it to prevent the message from being hijacked by the real “Israel haters.” At least Hillel took a courageous step and really (for once) defended their ideal of “the big tent” as they put it. Klein, however, is screaming at the sky, as the tides turn and hopefully, just hopefully, undermine finally his credibility to decry any Israel criticism as unpatriotic.
Boo-ya, Mort.

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