Israeli Groups Reject "American Jews, Keep Quiet" Approach
By Hillel Fendel
Aryeh Mekel, Israel's consul general in New York, has stated that those American Jews who do not support Olmert's realignment plan "will be told to keep quiet." Israeli groups are up in arms.
Three Israeli organizations - Professors for a Strong Israel, Women in Green, and Mattot Arim (Cities of Israel) - strongly approach. They feel that from both a Jewish and democratic point of view, Jews in the U.S. have not only a right, but an obligation, to speak their minds. As has been said, "Jews can speak up on human rights violations in Rwanda, but not on whether the Jewish People should give up their homeland?!"
Excerpts from the joint statement:
"The Olmert realignment plan is a successor of last summer's realignment plan, which has thus far cost Israel both a rocket war and a political victory for the Hamas. Nonetheless, Mekel insists 'it's not up to them [American Jews] to second-guess Israeli democracy and the Israeli voter's choice.'
"As Israelis, we regret the rudeness and presumption of Mr. Mekel's statement. More to the point, his statement runs counter to the very basic Jewish teaching, which has been promoted in our day by the World Jewish Congress: All Jews are responsible for one another.
"As for Mr. Mekel's remarks on Israeli democracy: American Jews who oppose the Olmert plan are not second-guessing the Israeli voter, because Mr. Olmert and his realignment plan are the United States' choice much more than they are the Israeli voter's choice. Firstly, only 15% of the Israeli electorate actively voted for Olmert's party (the voter turnout was 62%, uncharacteristically low, of which less than a quarter voted for Olmert's unilateral retreat party).
"Secondly, Olmert became prime minister of Israel only after the President of the United States intervened on his behalf: In the midst of spirited parliamentary jockeying between two possible prime ministers, Olmert and territories-for-true-peace 'social' candidate Amir Peretz, President Bush made a phone call, well publicized in the Israeli press, hailing Mr. Olmert as prime minister... This heavy-handed unilateral endorsement was not lost on the newly elected Israeli MKs... After all, Israeli MKs are keenly aware that theirs is a small country whereas the United States is the largest world power and Israel's sole benefactor.
"Under these circumstances, it is obvious that American Jewry is not merely entitled to speak up against the dangerous realignment plan; American Jews have a clear political and moral obligation to do so. In fact, they have even more of a moral imperative to fight the dangers of the Olmert realignment plan than we Israelis do, because their political leadership - not ours - is responsible for ushering this bizarre plan into a position of power."
The joint statement was signed by:
Dr. Amy Rosenbluh, Chairperson, Professors for a Strong Israel 972-54-5709061
Ruth Matar, Co-Chairwoman, Women in Green, 972-2-6249887
Susie Dym, Spokesperson, Mattot Arim, 972-52-8301999
Arutz-7-21 June 2006