Bringing out our best and worst
Two Seattle locals exploit kidnapping to promote anti-Israel agenda.
Times of communal Jewish trauma, like the abduction of three teens from the Mekor Haim Yeshiva last week, brings out the very best of the Jewish people. As news of the kidnapping spread, communal prayer, extra Shabbat candles and acts of kindness were the spontaneous response across much of the Jewish world. The Shabbat was like no other, the usual celebrations seemed muted, a pallor hung over the holy cloud. The already long northwest Shabbat day seemed to stretch even longer as we awaited the final blessing of the havdala prayer that we hoped would be followed by good news from the outside world.
The opposite can also be true, where such blows to our people reveal a much different response – much like the lifting of a rock on the beach reveals the often unpleasant things that lie underneath.
This is the case for two Seattle locals. The first and perhaps more notorious, Richard Silverstein used the tragic kidnapping as a bludgeon. While acknowledging in his own creepy way that the Yeshiva which the kidnap victims attended did not represent “the type of radical extremism represented by Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar.” He does not give the victims a pass “Though, in truth, these are settlers as well.” In the world of Silverstein the word settler is synonymous with war criminal, inherently bad people. What purpose could this clarification serve if not to apologize for or justify the crime committed against these boys and their family?
Which is what he precedes to do, mocking Netanyahu’s assertion that PA President Abbas bears responsibility, Silverstein claims that the Prime Minister is cynically exploiting these horrible events to justify…
“a collective punishment against the Palestinian Authority and its citizens. With that goal, Israel will try to construct a legitimate justification for labeling the PA as a terrorist organization…and demand it be boycotted, even by Arab states. It also presents Israel with a good opportunity to “prove” that it was not Israel that derailed the peace process – for how can you negotiate with an authority that has embraced Hamas into its ranks.“
With clearly no understanding of the soul searing pain experienced by those who have thrown their lot in with the Jewish nation, he refers thus to our collective cry of Agony “[It is] this Israeli government’s modus operandi to bitch and moan to the world and expect that the world will somehow care.“
Ben Murane, the Seattle based outreach director for the New Israel Fund follows suit, pointing out over and over again that these kidnapped boys are “settlers“. Tweeted Murane “Three settler teens were kidnapped while hitchhiking in West Bank. Why are they allowed to live there??” Why is their status as “settler” and where they live relevant if not to somehow implicate the boys in their own abduction for daring to be where a Jew does not belong.
The disingenuousness of Murane is laid bare in his inability to simply express sympathy with the Jewish victims. For Murane, every expression of concern must be paired with the implication of Jewish guilt; as in this non-sequitur Tweet “My heart goes out to families of the settler teens from Mekor Haim. Netanyahu must emplore his people not to take price tag retaliation.“
Or when he prays for the safe return of the kidnapped teens, his expressed concern is not for the welfare of the missing boys but rather how their loss (G-d forbid) would be a setback for the “peace process”. “I pray they come home safe. This would be a further tragedy for the peace process”.
Murane concludes this particular thread by morally equating the victims of terror to the terrorist perpetrators with this tweet for the ages “ Every human being is of equal worth. No exceptions, ever.“
While Silverstein slinks around the periphery of the organized Jewish community, far more comfortable in the pews of St. Mark’s Cathedral than in his own North end synagogue, Murane is perplexingly welcomed and often seen within the halls of our establishment organizations like Hillel and the Jewish Federation.
The Mike Report joins with all people of good will in praying for the safe and speedy return of these young men to the warmth of their parent’s arms.