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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Forward reveals that Stand With Us is - gasp! - right of center!

Here's another Forward expose, this one written by Nathan Guttman, where they find out that a pro-Israel organization is somewhat to the right of the Forward!

Shocking, I know:
[I]n a time characterized by burning debate among Jews regarding what it means to be pro-Israel, SWU’s stance has provoked some strong criticism. Those who claim to be Zionists and supporters of Israel while publicly criticizing its government’s policies towards the Palestinians, says Rothstein, are not supporters at all. For SWU, said [SWU founder Roz] Rothstein, supporting Israel means “respect[ing] the elected government of Israel.”

Rothstein rejects the claims of critics who say this constitutes a right-wing agenda. But a close look at SWU’s learning material and talking points reveals a right of center narrative on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rothstein said that SWU welcomes any pro-Israel view. But in an interview with the Forward she explained that she does not consider the dovish lobby J Street as pro-Israel because “they are lobbying this country to pressure the government of Israel to change its policy.”
StandWithUs has also been active in opposing West Coast communities hosting a speaking tour of Israeli soldiers who speak out against the occupation.
So in The Forward's view of the world, a rightist pro-Israel organization must accept the leftist narrative as equally valid - but where are the Forward articles demanding that J-Street allow Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to speak at their events, or that left-wing Jewish groups not protest Israeli speakers on campus?

Apparently, The Forward's indignation goes only one way.

One of the oldest tricks in the media book is to hide the reporter's opinions behind a supposed "expert." We saw it in the last hit piece against Zionists we looked at from the Forward, and Guttman doesn't fail us here:

“I think their attitude does harm to Israel,” said Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. “If we adopt a view that we support anything official Israel says then we’ll deprive Israel of the benefit of our good advice and discourage Jewish Americans from being involved in the discourse over Israel.”

Cohen, who has conducted extensive research into the opinions of American Jews on Israel, said that to win the PR war, “we need outspoken Zionists from all camps.” Cohen believes this discussion should include even representatives from the far left, as well as the right-wing Hilltop Youth settlers.

So Roz Rothstein has an opinion. Steven Cohen has his. The Forward makes clear which side they are on.

The only problem is that Steven Cohen's, and The Forward's, opinions are meant specifically to weaken Israeli democracy. The entire purpose of J-Street is to circumvent Israeli democracy by using outside money and outside pressure to, frankly, change the government to one that they find more palatable. Israeli electorate be damned.

I do not recall StandWithUs protesting against Israeli policy under Kadima, so StandWithUs is consistent in its support of the democratically elected Israeli government's decisions, no matter what its orientation.

Not to say that Jews outside Israel cannot make their opinions known, or that they cannot criticize Israel. But lobbying against the Israeli government is not merely expressing an opinion; it is an attempt to interfere with and undermine a democratically elected government.

Sorry, but that cannot be considered "pro-Israel" by any definition.

If Steven Cohen or any American Jewish leftist doesn't want Israel to be deprived of their "good advice" (as if they can advise anything that Israel's Left hasn't thought of)  there is a simple solution that every Zionist, left or right, would wholeheartedly support: They can make Aliyah.

The rest of the article is just smarmy, as the Forward brings facts about SWU that are perfectly ethical and above-board and paints them as vaguely underhanded:
SWU supporters also keep an eye on pro-Palestinian campus activists. In the case involving 11 students at University of California, Irvine, who interrupted a speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, it was an SWU videotape of the protestors that led to their arrest.
...
Pro-Israel organizations usually take special care not be seen as operating on behalf of the Israeli government, since that would require their registration as foreign agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. StandWithUs stressed it did not receive any payment from the Israeli government for the Ayalon video or for any of its other activities. And Craig Holeman, an expert on U.S. lobbying laws, said it was unlikely federal law would require a group like SWU to register as a foreign agent. Holeman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a citizen rights advocacy organization, said that a group focused on public education, as SWU is, and which does not receive funds from a foreign government, does not need to register as a foreign agent.
And who even intimated that SWU should register as a foreign agent to begin with? Why, Nathan Guttman of The Forward!

Stand With Us is probably the single best proponent for Israel in the US today. Unlike The Forward, SWU is unapologetically Zionist.

Which is the real reason the Forward writes such pieces of drivel to begin with. They are simply uncomfortable that some people love Israel without reservation.

So they must spare no effort in trying to rid the world of such proud Zionists, to assuage their own discomfort.


(Disclaimer: StandWithUs has used some of my posters/graphics in their materials and they have compensated me. And I can tell you Roz Rothstein has personally rejected quite a few of my posters for being too far to the right.)