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The once good friends who have turned on Israel

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather outside Barclays Center and march through Brooklyn to mark the Nakba four days ahead of its 76th anniversary on May 11, 2024 in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo: Matthew Rodier/Sipa USA)

Those who remember the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, with its many marches, demanding equal rights for American Black people, also likely remember that some of their greatest advocates were Jews who gladly accompanied them, committed to their plight and throwing support in their fight for the same privileges that were afforded to white citizens. 

It was due to the fact that Jews, who had come from a history of oppression and being cast as the underdog, were all the more sensitive to bigotry, prejudice and inequality. Consequently, Jews have always been at the forefront of championing the rights of blacks as well as other minorities. 

Sadly, now that Jews need to be championed, the very people that they once eagerly helped are not only nowhere to be found but have actually turned on them. How else can Sunday’s Jerusalem Post headline, “NAACP asks Biden to halt weapons to Israel” be explained?

Demanding that Israel end its war in Gaza, the organization wasted no time “reminding Biden that his support for Israel could hurt him among Black voters in November’s election.” Not going to the extent of young progressive students, who have blindly recited “From the river to the sea” chants, the organization “urged Hamas to return the hostages and ‘stop all terror activity,’” as if that message will be taken to heart by avowed murderers. 

Likewise, they had a message for Israel – which is to “commit to an offensive strategy that is aligned with international and humanitarian laws,” as if we aren’t. Needless to say, both directives were a great waste of their time since Hamas won’t take orders from them nor are we guilty of violating the laws of war. Nonetheless, they felt compelled to weigh in and make it clear that they are not supporting the ancestral homeland of the people who so graciously took up their cause many years ago.

But they are not the only ones who have left the Jewish people high and dry at a time when so many others are happy to jump on the bandwagon of piling on blame, accusation and guilt, following a savage massacre which should cause every freedom-loving, civilized human to come to the defense of those who suffered horrific atrocities at the hands of conscience-lacking terrorists who would not hesitate to do the same to them. 

Oddly enough, the Portland Teachers’ Union (PAT) has also gone the same route, evidenced by the creation of an anti-Israel program which has been turned into a “lesson plan for pre-kindergarten to high schoolers, teaching about Israel as an illegitimate settler-colonial state, as well as anti-Zionism teaching and participation in protests.”

What is odd about the move is that American Jews have traditionally played a major role in unions, especially within the educational system, to the point where Randi Weingarten, herself a Jew, is the President of the American Federation of Teachers, a position which she has held since 1998.

As a lifelong Democrat, one can only wonder how she views the very blatant anti-Semitism that is espoused by the Squad, who represents the more extreme wing of the party but who, nonetheless, wields a great deal of influence. But as a graduate of Yeshiva University, one wonders how Weingarten might feel about being aligned with the anti-Israel sentiment that is coming from her party.

Added to this list is the San Francisco gay community whose annual parade has welcomed Palestinians to take part in their march which will exclude an Israeli float – a display that had previously been present. But this year, a new “Resistance Contingent,” has already happily waved the fee of any pro-Palestinian groups which are keen on joining the festivities. 

How that plays with the Jewish gay community is only a mystery. They’re counting on gay Jews understanding that these new sensitivities are not aimed at them personally but rather at the Jewish homeland which is the real culprit of evil. Yet, it’s kind of hard to ignore the obvious association which has already been made on campuses throughout the U.S., where Jewish students have been singled out for their ethnicity despite most having no connections to Israel.

Last, but not least is the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin who has called out Israel for being guilty of genocide. While no one has any delusions, when it comes to the many atrocities that have been attributed to Putin even before he became president of Russia, there was a time, not too long ago, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would pay frequent visits to the leader in an attempt to solicit mutual cooperation between the two governments. In fact, it was the late Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon who described Putin as “a true friend of Israel.”

It is believed that the Russian President and the current Israeli prime minister had a close relationship which became strained once the war in Ukraine began, further aggravated by the Israel-Hamas war. Putin has aligned more closely, in recent months, with Iran, agreeing to supply them with fighter jets and attack helicopters as well as pilot training and military-technical cooperation.

While all of these items, outlining a sharp departure in our once friendly relations with these different groups, were published in Sunday’s Jerusalem Post, it was hard not to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that, in the aggregate, Israel is hemorrhaging friends at a rapid pace. The question to be asked, would be, “Is it coincidental?”

While some might think so, it’s a tough case to make, because all of these positions have only undergone a radical change since the events of October 7th, so it’s easier to believe that there is a concerted and coordinated effort, among groups, to distance themselves from Israel, now seen as a pariah among the nations. No longer the cool kid on the block, everyone is loath to be seen with or supporting those being accused of being the real evildoers who make Hamas look great by comparison.

The societal reversal of fortunes is staggering, leaving the Jewish state to go it alone with no points accrued for whatever help they have offered those in need. Forgotten are the amazing advances in just about every field imaginable which have benefitted mankind. Israel has been hung out to dry, relegating her to the place of scorn which she has held for millennia.

But Israel is used to abandonment, because it’s the familiar story of her existence. The flip side of that tale, though, is that the Almighty will never forsake her, and that’s worth more than the respect, admiration and support of all the nations combined!

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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