WHILE YOU STAND ON ONE LEG: We have to grasp more clearly that certain influential groups in America are increasingly stridently hostile to our Jewish homeland of Israel. Two such groups are the mainstream media, and left-wing claimers of Israel as a “settler-colonial project.” We have to respond to their attacks on our homeland and heritage.
Recognizing Two American Groups as Foes of American Jews, and Doing Something About It
I was a little kid during the Second World War, but I remember afterwards our parents’ generation shrugging “we didn’t know” in the face of charges we hadn’t done enough to garner American and Allied action in saving Jews from the Holocaust, even just bombing the death camps their bombers flew over. Well, we American Jews know who are enemies are now. Or do we?
There are (at least) two big groups in America deeply opposed to our Jewish people’s crucial interests, from whose opposition it seems to me we are averting our eyes no less unhelpfully than did our parents’ generation. I refer to the mainstream American media, typified by my hometown Philadelphia Inquirer, and the “progressive” movement, typified by “Black Lives Matter” and its affiliates.
The Media, Typified by the Inq
Two weeks ago in #1062, I quoted two instances, one just now, and one years ago but involving the same enemies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, fighting Israel as just now, in which the Philly Inquirer (Inq) exhibited utterly derisive contempt for us.
To recap real quick, a 4/29/08 Inq AP article reported: “The Israeli army shot four Palestinian militants [sic] who were trying to plant explosives near the Gaza Strip border fence,” and quoted Hamas calling them its members “on a jihad mission.” Inq headline: “Israeli Army Shoots Four Palestinians.” Just three days before that, a 4/26/08 Inq AP article reported that two Israeli factory guards had been shot dead by a Palestinian Arab whom “a spokesman for Islamic Jihad” said had snuck into Israel and reached the plant in a border industrial zone in which “Israeli factories employ Palestinians.” Inq headline: “Two Israeli Factory Guards Die.” (A week later, an Inq news squib reported a rocket from Gaza killed an Israeli civilian mowing his lawn. The Inq headlined something factual. I’d expected: “Israeli Gardening Enthusiast Dies.”)
Two weeks ago, the 5/23/21 Jerusalem Post headlined “Temple Mount Reopens to Jews After Week of Clashes and Unrest”; captioned a photo “Jews visit Temple Mount after closure,” and led, “The Temple Mount was originally closed to Jews on Jerusalem Day, following clashes between Arabs and Israeli police ….” The Inq didn’t portray it that way. Not contenting itself with calling the Temple Mount “the Al-Aqsa mosque complex,” the Inq twisted its Jewish most holy site-derogating knife by bestowing upon not just the Al-Aqsa mosque structure itself but upon the entire Temple Mount a “third-holiest site in Islam” sanctity. Inq photo caption: “On Saturday, a group of 250 Jews visited the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.” Can you envision a more sneering denial of Jewish holy place equity?
These are not anomalous incidents. Lee Bender, of Blessed Memory, and I wrote a book citing tons of them, Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-to-Z (Amazon), in which we inundated the reader with mainstream Western media examples, under every letter of the alphabet [“Apartheid, Borders, Creation-of-Israel ….], all heaping contempt and derision on our Jewish homeland of Israel.
Well, what to do about it? Over these twenty years of weekly emails that began as and partly remain a “pro-Israel media watch,” I participated in several group meetings with editors of the Inq. I stood twice (once as one of the three speakers) in grassroots group [alas, not Jewish community-wide] protest on the Inq’s sidewalk back in the days of its old Dark Tower On Callowhill Street (May It Have Crumbled Into a Parking Lot). Lee once garnered us ten minutes to address the Trustees of the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Philadelphia. What would you tell our assembled communal leaders if they gave you five minutes? I told them that in a long chain of emails I’d garnered a Clearing the Record and acknowledgement from the Inq commencing “Mr. Verlin is right in saying there are not millions of refugees from the 1948 war….” And then I said to the Federation, “But who’s Mr. Verlin? That Inq acknowledgement of the media’s monstrously misleading ‘Millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants from Israel’s creation/war that followed Israel’s creation’ should have commenced ‘The Jewish Federation is right … the Board of Rabbis is right … the JCRC is right … the Jewish Exponent [nice name] is right that there weren’t ‘millions of 1948 Arab refugees.’”
It’s all very nice to “meet” with Inq and other media editors, pleading for Israel coverage balance. But as a community, we have to take offense to mainstream Western media contempt and derision of our Jewish homeland, and act on it. When utter outrages like “Israeli Army Shoots Four Palestinians” vs. “Two Israeli Factory Guards Die,” and “Jews visited [not the Temple Mount but] the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam” grace newspapers hitting our general community’s driveways, we have to engage, even us, in “BDS,” and tell the perpetrating media outlet’s advertisers why. Is anything less than that effective? Self-respecting?
Anti-Israel Progressives, Typified by “BLM”
Ok, I haven’t recovered from that NY Times ad last year by 627 American Jewish organizations, including the Reform and Conservative religious movements, backing “Black Lives Matter.” But I cannot think of a more fundamental attack on our three-millennia Jewish homeland of Israel than calling it a “settler-colonial project” needing to be “dismantled.”
And “BLM” is not just talking generalities. E.g., its LA chapter is full into what’s going on right now in Jerusalem:
“Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles stands in solidarity with Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and the West Bank. We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. #SaveSheikhJarrah.”
Temple U’s Prof. Hill touts his knowledge and professional credentials as a professor of Middle East history.
Major League Baseball, for one, has endorsed “Black Lives Matter.” Last month, in #1060, I wrote an open email (unanswered) “Dear Phillies: Why I’m Suspending Following Baseball,” appending #1058, “Bye-Bye, Baseball.” Is it too much for us to suspend following baseball, and letting Baseball know why?
If you belong to one or more of those 627 American Jewish organizations that signed that NY Times ad backing “Black Lives Matter,” use any influence you have to reverse this, which has nothing to do with supporting that Black lives matter.
Beyond “BLM,” “Progressives” in the Democratic Party, in the name of “intersectionality” or whatever, are exhibiting increasingly strident anti-Israel positions. There is still much goodwill towards Israel in the Democratic Party, and the majority of American Jews are Democrats. If you’re among them, you have a job to do strengthening that support by endorsing those elected officials who speak out for us and by making our Jewish homeland’s case in that party. Dershowitz is right that American support for Israel must be bipartisan.