Thursday, March 3, 2011

Monitored And Exposed!

The Israel Academia Monitor has, through tireless investigation, linked me to the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity organization. I might have saved them the trouble. My admiration for the young leaders of the movement is open, long-standing, and more or less boundless. Solidarity embodies my hopes for Israel as a globalist democracy. If I were the kind to follow leaders, these would be mine.

IAM gets almost everything else wrong, however, channeling uncritically some unnamed source at the Jewish Agency, which supposes Solidarity to be anti-Zionist. Most of Solidarity's young activists simply take the great achievement of Zionism for granted, namely, the modern Hebrew language and culture and a Jewish national home in a democratic state. Just last Saturday night, at the J Street conference, Solidarity leader Sara Benninga read, admiringly, the following from Israel's Declaration of Independence:

The state of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Some solidarity leaders think, as I do, that the Jewish Agency, the JNF, and other residual institutions of the Zionist revolution should long ago have become private NGOs; that they have no place as official organs of a democratic state. For the record, I think the same of the rabbinate, and would feel the same if the kibbutz movement exercised state power. Some in Solidarity think the Law of Return is an anachronism. So do I, and have said as much publicly for 30 years. Then again, these are things one concludes when one takes the principles in Israel's Declaration of Independence seriously. Will IAM's commissars endorse those? If not, and as if anybody cares, should we call them anti-Zionist?

Alas, some good people will care when these epithets are thrown around, which makes IAM all the more disgraceful. For all its pretense as monitor, IAM is really so eager to slime people whose democratic standards pinch that it cannot even be bothered with fact-checking. Had IAM called me, I would have told them that I was not against bringing Israeli flags to Solidarity demonstrations, though I don't much like bringing any flags, not even the Skull & Bones, whose presence week after week still amuses (and mystifies) me. IAM was relying on a post on Palestine Note attributed to me. It is a fabrication. (The part about flags was pretty obviously posted after a Nili Osherov article on Ynet, April 3 2010. Then again, thank heavens for IAM! How would Israeli scholars learn about sham blog posts and counterfeit claims if IAM were not so quick to circulate them?)

As for my position on BDS, finally, IAM defies gravity trying to find things in my Nation article to hate. I strongly urge people who think IAM is somehow tough but credible to read the article and then IAM's account of it.