Nope, same old inclination toward peace

I can’t tell whether it’s Sullivan linking or one of the underbloggers, but in a post called “Euope’s J-Street,” The Dish tells us that

The times they are a-changin’. From France:

A new leftist European Jewish group, JCall, has written a letter to be delivered Sunday to the European Parliament calling for a cessation of what it calls systematic support for Israeli government decisions.

The story is from English Ha’aretz (not in France), and it’s piss-poor. The letter in fact says nothing about the State of Israel receiving “systematic support” from the European Parliament — which is on the face of it ridiculous!

It says rather, referring to private citizens, in a cautionary way more than as an indictment:

While the final decision belongs to the sovereign people of Israel, our commitment to Israel as Jews of the Diaspora obliges us to work towards reaching a just solution. Systematic support of Israeli government policy is dangerous [to Israelis] and does not serve the true interests of the state of Israel.

Back to the Dish’s article… Although

JCall […] describes itself as “the European J Street” and is to be officially launched Sunday with the presentation of the letter,

The letter and the potential lobbying group are very different things. If I were European, I would sign the letter, that doesn’t mean I would join the group —

has raised a storm with its call to stop construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.

I see no evidence of such a “storm.” And Ha’aretz doesn’t help us out; it seems like just hack writing. Is this a just out of university writer-in-training?

The letter is signed by some 3,000 Jewish intellectuals, among them philosophers Bernard Henri-Levy and Alain Finkielkraut, considered some of Israel’s strongest defenders among French intellectuals.

[…] The letter calls occupation and settlements “morally and politically wrong,” noting that they “feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad.”

Um, nope. Andrew pay attention, because the signed letter doesn’t put your recent writing on this issue in good stead — emphasis mine:

[…] the continuing pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of East Jerusalem. These policies are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad.

Andrew isn’t on that page at all.

The creation of this new group is actually I think an attempt to differentiate the State of Israel’s policies from Jews, in the eyes of gentile Europeans. But that seems to me a bit short-sighted, considering that group membership will offer European antisemites a way to condemn Jews: “See, those Jews are not even part of this figleaf group; therefore, they are the most barbarous of the Zionists!”

That’ll be great for an organization’s future, not so great for European antisemitism.

Here’s the JCall prefatory message on the English page before the letter:

Our objective is to allow the opinions of European Jews, who have been silent for too long, to be expressed publicly and to allow a Jewish voice to be heard that is both committed to the state of Israel and critical of the current choices of its government.

Finkelkraut and other well-known liberal Zionists who have signed the letter have noted that Jewish silence on Israel, in the sense of silence about their pro-Israelness, is because of antisemitism. This adds some distortion to the issue.

Anyway, they were probably contacted by the group first. I don’t think Finkelkraut and Henri-Levy are signing their agreement with the prefatory message on JCall’s website, if they have even seen it.

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