“If I will have to choose between losing more lives of Israelis, whether they are civilians or soldiers, or losing you, I will sadly, sorrowfully, rather lose you.”


Palestinian activist Rasmieh Yousef Odeh

The divide between Israelis and American Jews seems to be growing. Indications of the widening gap came last week with reports of a confrontation between an American Jewish activist and four members of Knesset, from across the political spectrum, at a synagogue near Boston.

As reported at The Algemeiner, at the end of a forum at Brookline’s Congregation Kehillath Israel, an audience member named Shifrah told the four Israeli lawmakers, “You are losing me and you are losing many, many people in the Jewish community… I cannot look the other way when three Israeli teenagers are brutally murdered and the response is to kill 2,300 Palestinians [in Operation Protective Edge in 2014]. I want to know what you are doing to make peace with the Palestinians. I want to know what the government is doing to make peace.”

Despite the general fractiousness of Israeli politics, the lawmakers, who spanned the Right-Left spectrum, rejected the woman’s claims. Not one of them was willing to accept her view that Israel was morally impaired for defending itself from Hamas’s terror war against it. Each in his or her own way pointed out that the woman’s question exposed a callous indifference and utter ignorance to the actual situation in Israel.

Speaking last, Likud MK Amir Ohana noted that Israel didn’t enter into its war with Hamas three years ago because of the execution and abduction of the three youths by Palestinian terrorists. Israel went to war against Hamas in Operation Protective Edge because the terrorist regime in Gaza began pummeling Israel with tens of thousands of mortars, rockets and missiles.

And as Ohana noted, “Each and every one of them [was] targeted to kill us.”

Ohana concluded, “If I will have to choose between losing more lives of Israelis, whether they are civilians or soldiers, or losing you, I will sadly, sorrowfully, rather lose you.”

To a degree, the Brookline exchange was a watershed event. This is true for two reasons.

First, there was the unanimity of the responses. And second, the lawmakers were willing to walk away from the increasingly vocal anti-Israel faction of the American Jewish community.

Shifrah’s statement was a moral and criminal indictment of Israel. It was also an egregious slander of the entire country.

Shifrah stood before a crowd of American Jews at a synagogue and alleged libelously that in retribution for the murder of three boys, Israel maliciously killed 2,300 innocent Gazans.

And the Knesset members told her not to let the flap slam her on her way out of the pro-Israel tent.

This action was long in the making and long overdue. For more than a decade, American Jews led by radical rabbis and thought leaders have been threatening Israel.

You are making us embarrassed, Peter Beinart and his supporters have said. We won’t be able to keep supporting Israel if you don’t succumb to all the demands that the PLO and Hamas are making. Their terrorism – that is, their “resistance to occupation” – is understandable.

Israel, they harangue, is losing American Jewry. We are progressives. We stand up for the oppressed against the oppressors. Israelis, you are oppressors and we won’t be able to stand with you and as Jews, we will stand against you.

We will seek common ground with anti-Semites like Roger Waters and Alice Walker and invite them to our most prestigious forums to speak. We will make common cause with terrorist supporters like Linda Sarsour and terrorists like Rasmea Odeh. We will show that we don’t hate Israelis by hosting EU-funded anti-Israel groups like Breaking the Silence at our synagogues and campuses. And we will insist we are pro-Israel and pro-peace and send our checks to J Street, a group that has never sided with Israel on anything.

Over and over again Israel has heard these voices, which are often well-paid and always well-covered by the media. Over and over we have listened to their threats of abandonment.

Rather than criticize them for their hostility and reject their threats, Israeli spokesmen, particularly from the Left, have tried to make these Jewish Israel bashers feel better about Israel.

True, we are “occupiers,” voices like Haaretz’s former columnist Ari Shavit told his American audiences. But we feel really bad about it so please don’t hate us.

We love you so, please love us back. We are one.

The time has long since passed for Israel to begin a frank exchange with these people.

There are lines you cannot cross and still expect us to care what you think.

Sometimes those lines are crystal clear.

For instance, last week, the anti-Israel and increasingly antisemitic Jewish Voices for Peace BDS pressure group held its annual conference in Chicago.

More than a thousand people showed up. JVP decided to use its annual event to honor a Palestinian terrorist murderer.

Rasmea Odeh, who was imprisoned in Israel for her role in the terrorist bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969 that murdered two Israelis, was honored by JVP for her fight against Israel.

Odeh is about to be deported to Jordan after being found guilty of immigration fraud for failing to mention that she is a convicted terrorist murderer on her immigration forms when she moved to the US in 1994.

Odeh took advantage of the microphone JVP provided her to pledge to continue fighting for the eradication of Israel for the rest of her life, and urging her audience to do so as well.

In her words, “Zionists aren’t going to stop their land grab in Palestine. The Palestinians there and the Palestinians and our supporters here have to stop them with our resistance and our organizing.”

JVP is certainly a Jewish group. Odeh was introduced by Rabbi Alissa Wise. But everyone associated with JVP is an enemy of Israel, Jewish or not. And Israel has begun to treat it as an enemy. Just this week, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan rightly castigated the group as antisemitic.

If JVP is the easy case, the situation quickly becomes complicated.

Can we draw a line when seemingly mainstream leaders join the ranks of Shifrah and JVP in libeling Israel? Can we walk away from prominent American Jews who indicate that as far as they are concerned, Israel is a moral burden that they are having a hard time carrying because they believe – and propagate – slanders of Israeli society and of the IDF? Consider the case of Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove. Cosgrove is the rabbi of the toney Conservative Park Avenue Synagogue in New York.

Last week Cosgrove joined the radical chorus of voices advancing the Israel is Apartheid slander.

In an event at his synagogue following the AIPAC conference, Cosgrove spoke of his daughter’s uneasiness at the sound of speaker after speaker rejecting the false allegation that Israel is an apartheid state.

Cosgrove said that his daughter pointed to the fact that the Palestinians do not vote for the Knesset as proof that Israel is in fact apartheid.

As Yisrael Medad noted on his website, Cosgrove’s daughter’s statement was utter nonsense.

Why would Palestinians vote for the Knesset when they have the right to vote in the Palestinian elections? The Palestinian Authority, not Israel, is their governing body.

It isn’t Israel’s fault that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has failed to hold an election since 2006.

The fact that Rabbi Cosgrove was unwilling to point this obvious truth out to his daughter, and indeed, the fact he thought her ignorant slur was worth repeating publicly and supportively to his congregants speaks volumes about his own anti-Israel prejudices.

Medad also noted that in an article in The Jerusalem Post last year, Cosgrove threatened Israel with a withdrawal of American Jewish communal support.

Cosgrove wrote, “American Jewry isn’t able to reconcile the dream of Israel as a liberal democracy and the death of the two-state solution; it is unable or unwilling to defend Israeli actions in the court of world or campus opinion.”

There is a straight line between Shifrah’s false claim that Israel needlessly and maliciously killed 2,300 Palestinians in Gaza in the 2014 war with Hamas and Cosgrove’s insinuations that Israel and its military actions are to blame for the absence of peace with the Palestinians.

Both are slanderous attacks against Israel. Their goal is not to cultivate a dialogue but to justify condemnations and opposition to Israel.

Telling the Shifrahs and JVPs of the world that they are beyond the pale is important, but insufficient. Israel needs to make clear that blaming Israel for the crimes of its enemies and ignoring objective reality is not acceptable. If the Cosgroves of the American Jewish community cannot tell the difference between Israelis and our enemies, then it is they that require a moral reckoning.

We, with sorrow, will have to make do without their phony support.

April 4, 2017 | 19 Comments » | 1,061 views

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20 Comments / 19 Comments

  1. Forget about their money too. Live without it. Call their bluff and tell them to take a hike. It’ll be liberating. We are knocking our heads against the wall trying to convince/placate people who are using what should be their birthright to practice and cultivate their Judaism and a real Jewish identity to bash not just Israel but their own tradition. They are more dangerous than antisemitism emanating from the gentile world. Beware of someone who wants to help you. Their only Jewish identity is to prop themselves up with a sense of moral superiority claiming it to be an expression of Jewish “values” while not giving a sh*t about real Jewish practice. We shouldn’t engage with them in any dialogue to convince them as that only emboldens them. When they reopen the ovens, they get to go first.

  2. Any American “Jew” who criticizes Israel for not rolling over and letting the pals destroy Israel is, in my mind, an enemy of the State (Israel). How can members of JVP listen to Jew-haters and killers and think they are doing Israel a favor? These are the same type of people who got on the trains in Europe and thought they were going on a pleasure trip! “We don’t want to do anything to upset the apple cart” was how they thought. Today they would be the ones who say “Israel is always wrong, is an apertheid state, and let’s have Palestine from the river to the sea”. It makes me sick to have to listen to their garbage-speak, their “guilt ridden” apologies, and their siding with those who want to destroy Israel. Wake up before they come for us!

  3. @ David Chase:
    There was a time when Israel needed whatever financial help it could get. Not now that Israel is emerging as an economic super power.The hell with those American Jewish anti-semites who put money and power over morality,decency and common sense. They can shove their money where the sun doesn’t shine. Likewise their advice to Israel.

  4. :
    This conservative synagogue greatly benefits from the relatively large Jewish population of Brookline. It also has a 100-year legacy which it can leverage for support.

    But when religious Jews, with their four+ small kids, visit Beantown, they stop in Brookline for kosher Chinese and the minyan at Young Israel.

  5. Lemme guess: This synagogue claims two Nobel prize winners, and Barney Frank, as members.


    The first thing the Jews who side with Jew’s enemies adopt, from gentile Jew’s enemies, are their lies.
    Once that door is open, the way is clear for whatever they desire to say against their own People, which are actually themselves.
    For Jews who side with Jew’s enemies. there is no more Emunah, nor Emet; they don’t care about them.
    Read the warning in Jeremiah 5: 1, 2 and 3

    Jer 5:1 Run ye about in the streets of Jerusalem, and see, and know, and seek in her broad places, if ye can find one, if there is any one that does judgment, and seeks faithfulness; and I will pardon them, saith the Lord.
    Jer 5:2 The Lord lives, they say; do they not therefore swear falsely?
    Jer 5:3 O Lord, thine eyes are upon faithfulness: thou hast scourged them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them; but they would not receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; and they would not return.

    Question: Will they ever return to Eretz Yisrael and the Jewish People?

  7. That’s exactly what I meant. I actually prefer your not so diplomatic blunter way of saying it. Exactly right. Besides the message, trying to be at all diplomatic about it is a big part of the problem. Sort of like Trumpians who were wary of saying they support Trump. I think the important lesson to take from all this is the idea that somehow because another person is Jewish they must necessarily have Israel’s best interest at heart. We need to call a spade a spade and treat all these so-called pro-Israel Jews as hostile witnesses…and not validate them by taking their financial support and, therefore, giving them a platform for their hostile views.. Kol HaVod!

  8. The ‘liberal’ Jews have a major allegiance to a corrupt political party that gave us Obama and the Clintons. These ‘Liberal’ Jews have often sided with hostile Democrats over the security of Israel. They must NOT be allowed to judge Israel with false accusations. Instead they must now be held accountable for their own occupation of stolen Indian lands. They are Jewish ‘occupiers’ on stolen land. Where is the state for the Indians? The Indians traded ‘land for peace’ and got neither. What happened to the hundreds of treaties between the U.S. government and the indian nations which were never honored by the U.S. government? What is the condition of Indians still living on tiny reservations? ‘Liberal’ Jews focus on Palestinian ‘rights’ but not on Indian rights.
    It is time to stop apologizing to our enemies among the Jewish leftists. Instead they should be hammered for their callous indifference to the plight of the people who were here first.
    On balance the Jewish left is a liability to Israel and to the Jewish people. Judaism allows for divorce when the parties are incompatible. It is time for Israel and Jews of faith to ‘divorce’ from the Jewish left and eliminate their damaging influence inside the larger Jewish community.

  9. Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Jews are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Who cares what they think? Vicious traitors. Who cares whether they are Jewish or whether they are religious? A good response to all of our enemies, Jewish or not:

    “new website is publicizing the identities of pro-Palestinian student activists to prevent them from getting jobs after they graduate from college. But the website is keeping its own backers’ identity a secret.

    “It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a female narrator intones in a slick video posted to the website’s YouTube account…”

    Read more:

    Home » Jewish Holidays » Chanukah » Themes » History
    History Crash Course #29: Revolt of the Maccabees
    But it is not just a war against the Greeks, it is also a civil war – Jews, who were loyal to Judaism, fighting other Jews, who had become Hellenized and who were siding with the Greeks.”

  10. In my opinion, this issue needs to be clarified. Perhaps there should be a formal hearing, like a grand jury to debate the fate of those who take up common cause with International Terrorism.
    Ex-Communication should not be taken off the table. Rabbis who espouse should lose their certifications. They are behaving like human shields. If they yearn to throw their lot in with Hamas, then…they are Hamas. Treat them as such.
    Glick has corrected her generic put down of American Jews in favor of more specificity as to whom she refers. This is exactly what I was trying to express in my posts, last year. Great improvement, Glick. I cannot agree with her more. I told some of those Voice of Peace Ed Asner Mutants that they should be ashamed of themselves. Let them go, they are No different than Neturei Karta.

  11. Firstly, Congregation Kehillath Israel is a homosexual friendly place. Clearly what HaShem thinks is not of primary consideration.

    Secondly, there is no American Jew. There are only Jews that happen to be living in exile rather than Israel. People that have no intention to return to Israel are not Jewish because they will never fulfill many mitzvot encumbent on them. Being Jewish is not about the label, but about what one does.
    So the perspective is a bit different.
    If Shifrah or Cosgrove intended to return to Israel, they would want to return to a SAFE & SECURE country, the prime requisite of any state.
    Instead KI have a program for Israel, not a life in Israel. There is no committment. What is the value of a relationship where there is no committment?
    It seems to me Ohana was not characteristically explicit when he replied.

  12. I don’t care if somebody davens until they drop or lusts after sheep. Or both.Those who support Jewish sovereignty, solidarity and survival are friends; the rest are treif.

  13. :
    Yet another leftist rabbi wrote,

    [Unrepentant leftists whose moms happened to be born Jewish are] unwilling to defend Israeli actions in the court of .. campus opinion.

    But they’re willing and eager to defend [BIG] government policies which tax supporters of Israel in order to subsidize Israel- (Jew!) hating left-wingers on campus.

    The beneficiaries of such redistributionism include profsters who don’t teach and slackers who want to waste four+ years of their lives partying (and burning tens of thousands of their parents’ dollars).

  14. The state of Ohio bought a one-day record of $61 million in Israel Bonds.
    The largest single government purchase of Israel Bonds, which took place Monday, makes Ohio the largest holder of Israel Bonds with $165 million, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.
    State Treasurer Josh Mandel told the newspaper that the purchase in part was in response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS movement, against Israel.
    “First and foremost, we are making this investment because it’s a good investment for the taxpayers of Ohio,” said Mandel, who is Jewish. “Second, we are making this investment in an effort to combat the bigotry of the BDS movement. Third, we are making this investment to stand with the only country in the Middle East that shares American values.”

  15. @ mrg3105:
    What do we do if anti-Semitism gets so bad in the US that these Israel-hating Jews decide to make aliyah? Ban them or let them in? Make them repent first? If the Exodus story repeats itself and 80% remain in exile, this question is nullified. I’m betting they will wait too long and be too assimilated to leave.

  16. I agree with you. If they wait to long they probably will be too assimilated to leave but I think we should vociferously reject their agenda while simultaneously not giving up on them. I think this means more outreach, not to non-Jews obviously like they do, but to those Jews who are so lost most likely because they haven’t had an opportunity to experience any, more Jewish, alternative. In many cases, their ignorance might not be their fault and if we simply knock heads with them they will become only more entrenched in their anti-Israel belief system. Do we want to give up on them like they’ve given up on anything Jewish? We still need to try to embrace them as they are still Jews and can return. We shouldn’t be more judgmental on them than Hashem himself would be.

  17. I have nothing to add, other than screw the American Jewish Left, and their interpretation/bastardization of tikun olam. G-d, how I detest them.
    There will yet be a time when they come screaming for protection (that time IS coming).
    Screw ’em (did I already say that?)

  18. Stockholm Syndrome seems to infiltrated the sympathies of the liberal left Jews of my former hometown Boston. They need to recognize what they are allowing to happen to themselves and need a ‘self-correction’. Their misplaced sympathies toward the Arabs and distress reading the news is out of step even with Israelis who are directly in the line of fire.

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