Seattle Jewish Federation Sponsors Promoter of Israel Boycott
In a move sure to send shock waves through pro-Israel circles well beyond the Pacific Northwest, Seattle’s Jewish Federation announced today their sponsorship of a lecture this coming Thursday evening at Hillel UW featuring Israel critic, Peter Beinart. The controversial pundit created a firestorm back in 2012 with his proposal for limited BDS, or as he christened it in a New York Times piece, “Zionist BDS”.
Prior to Beinart’s infamous New York Times op-ed the notion of targeting Jews for boycott conjured up for many, chilling images of 1930’s boycotts of Jewish businesses. With too many failing to appreciate the nuance of Beinart’s proposal – to only boycott those Jews who reside where he believes they should not -in one fell swoop Beinart helped catapult the BDS movement from the extremist fringe to mainstream consideration.
Local Israel supporter Nachshon Ben-Ami explained to The Mike Report that thanks to Beinart, in certain progressive circles “the conversation immediately shifted from should we or shouldn’t we boycott Israel to should we boycott all Israelis or just some Israelis?”
We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel. We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities. -Peter Beinart
In response to our inquiry, The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s CEO & President Keith Dvorchik (JFGS) provided The Mike Report with the agency’s Israel Speaker/Program Sponsorship Criteria. The policy precludes the Federation from sponsoring any event by any group or individual that fails to “reject boycott, divestment and sanction against Israel”. Dvorchik reiterated to The Mike Report the Federation’s position that “we support Israel, the 2 state solution, and are against BDS.”
If moderate settlers living near the green line resent being lumped in with their more ideologically driven counterparts deep in occupied territory, they should agitate for a two-state solution that would make possible their incorporation into democratic Israel. Or they should move. – Peter Beinart
Despite the Federation’s policy and Dvorchik’s stated rejection of BDS or boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel, the Federation is nevertheless sponsoring a speaker who is a chief advocate for boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israel. That the boycott targets only those Israeli government and civilian entities situated beyond the green line (Beinart opposes full scale BDS) makes it no less a boycott of Israel. More troubling to many is the notion that the collective punishment of 314,132 Jewish souls who happen to reside in the biblical Jewish heartland is somehow, under any circumstances acceptable.
Varda Epstein a resident of Efrat, one of the communities singled out by Beinart shared with The Mike Report the pain caused her family by the Seattle Jewish Federation’s embrace of Beinart and his targeted BDS. Said Epstein “It’s hurtful to think that the Seattle Jewish community would work to deprive my family of a livelihood and think of me a fellow Jew, a mother and a grandmother as some kind of criminal.”
It’s hurtful to think that the Seattle Jewish community would work to deprive my family of a livelihood. -Efrat resident; Varda Epstein
Said Dvorchik regarding the Federation’s sponsorship guidelines “We created these guideline to be clear and transparent to the community that we are supporters of Israel and what would be required of other organizations or speakers who were interested in our sponsorship. There is no point in having these guidelines if we aren’t going to follow them.”
Also sponsoring the Beinart lecture at Hillel-UW in addition to the Jewish Federation and Hillel UW is the New Israel Fund, J Street, JTNews, Temple De Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Kol HaNeshamah.
“A powerful state oppressing a stateless people”??? Beinart knows nothing of the true facts. Israel is a tiny state surrounded by 22 Middle Eastern Muslim states sworn to annihilate it. The “Palestinians” are stateless in the sense that they are not a people, have no history, no unique language or culture, but are Saudi and Egyptian Arabs, mostly, with a few other Arab origins. They’ve never ruled in any kind of government from Israel at any time in history. They are a lie created by the Arab states to destroy Israel. Regardless, they have at least 9 Arab states and 56 Muslim states they can go to, plus EurAbia. Jews have only one state in which they can celebrate Shabbat without danger of being fired from jobs, ostracized etc. If Israel is “powerful” against all these wealthy oil states, it is only because they serve a powerful G-d. When these students finally get around to opening a credible history book, they’re going to have massive amounts of egg on their faces.
How’d they get from Saudi Arabia to the West Bank?
I don’t understand why the Seattle Jewish community puts up with such behaviour by its leaders. Are they elected representatives? If so, kick them out. Is the Seattle Jewish Federation any kind of legally constituted entity? If so, does it have Articles of Association which it could be said to be violating? After all, it seems to be violating its own policy by allowing Beinart a platform. Surely it is time for the Jewish community to hold its so-called leaders accountable for their actions!
At any rate, Mike, I trust you and other like-minded people will be there this evening to make your views heard.
Ben: “How’d they get from Saudi Arabia to the West Bank?”