"I've never touched the Wall for a very simple reason: women by law are segregated from men, and cannot pray as I do -- as a man -- in that space."Okay, it's not an unreasonable criticism. If you take a look at any picture of the Western Wall you will see a clear divider between men and women and the organization Women of the Wall's principle complaint is that they cannot pray the way men do such as using Torahs, etc. Of course Mr. Boxt leaves out why these laws are in place, which is informative in its own right, but then takes this story as a jumping off place to talk about foreign policy:
"If the American government should strive as a foreign policy goal to protect the country of Israel from enemies such as Iran and Syria (as I believe it should), Americans (and American Jews in particular) should fight to protect the people of Israel."Okay...and what do the people of Israel need to protected from? Here's a spoiler: This is a left-wing American website talking about Israel. Have you figured it out yet?
The answer is themselves.
"American Jews can't allow the foreign policy political debate that serves to define and separate the "pro-Israel" crowd from the "not pro-Israel enough" crowd to prevent us from agreeing on something on which we all should agree: all women must be treated equally under the law. That's democracy."Talk about a roundabout way to make his point. And the way that Mr. Boxt phrases his words indicates to me the sign of a guilty conscience. He expects to be attacked for saying that the Western Wall should be integrated, even before he said the words. I don't know where Mr. Boxt has been for the past few years but as someone who is very involved with pro-Israel activism, nobody is going to disagree with him about that. Even on the Huffington Post when this issue is discussed everybody is on the same page: The religious barriers at the Western Wall and elsewhere should be gone.
That being said, to declare that "all women must be treated equally under the law. That's democracy," is a bit of a stretch. The fact that Israel bent to the will of the ultra-Orthodox and made the Western Wall gender segregated does not make it undemocratic, except in the bubble that is the Huffington Post. Visiting the Western Wall is not a right, it's a privilege. Ditto with the Temple Mount. But instead of realizing this Mr. Boxt doubles down:
"The same people who crow about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East as a reason for adopting hyper-hawkish positions on Israel should be the same people who are leading the charge to defend women in Israel from being treated as second class citizens."Um, yeah. I can't help but get the impression that this article really wasn't ever about the Western Wall or about the women who want to pray there, was it Mr. Boxt? It was about finding something that you think these mythical "other" American Jews who don't criticize Israel would defend and then raking them over the coals for it. If you think I am exaggerating, let's take a look at the rest of the article and we will say that's all Mr. Boxt has to say: It's all attack, attack, attack. And because this is the Huffington Post, the last bastion of "Israel firster" accusations, he uses that too. Click below to see.
"When an American Jew has the temerity to call out Israel for this, or this, or this, the knee-jerk response from the right (call them the Israel First crowd if you must) is to accuse the claimant of being anti-Israel. (emphasis mine)"It amazes me that a guy who has built all of his credibility in this article around being a Jew would so foolish as to fall for the "Israel first" accusation, what with its roots in anti-Semitism and Dreyfus-era treason accusations. Of course it makes me wonder how much of him is "Jew" and how much of him is "asaJew." As for his examples, they are more examples of bad Haredi behavior. I have never seen someone (ignoring the usual ridiculous labels) accuse anyone who criticizes the Haredim of being anti-Israel. And that includes the many articles on the subject at the Huffington Post. Consider this another challenge: Find me an actual example of someone being called anti-Israel for "calling out Israel" in regards to the examples Mr. Boxt mentioned. Because I don't think you'll find one, except in Boxt's guilty conscience.
Here's another example of Mr. Boxt's informative choice of words:
"[This issue] is no less-important, fundamentally so, in fact, to the claim of Israel as "the only Democracy in the Middle East."Did you see that? Israel being a democracy is a "claim" now. Not a fact. And considering the contents of the next paragraph, it does start to make me wonder about whether he is as pro-Israel as he claims.
"So the next time I hear a Republican candidate claim to be a bona fide supporter of Israel, who will be "Israel's best friend in the White House," I will question him or her, time and again, about their stance on women's equality in that great democracy of the Middle East -- not because I am anti-Israel, but because I love Israel..."
I know, I know. This is the Huffington Post. But I can't help but wonder why Mr. Boxt took an issue that in the grand scheme of things is not that important (especially compared to treatment of women in other segments of this society) and did three things with it: 1. Used it to attack his fellow Jews including calling them traitors 2. Used it to attack Israel as undemocratic and 3. Published an article entirely dedicated to attack Israel and its supporters.
When we finally get to the end in which Mr. Boxt claims that this is all "tough love," I'm not sure that I buy it any more. It's more like the usual Huffington Post double step: Spend nine paragraphs bashing Israel and then one paragraph saying that I wrote the above nine paragraphs because I love Israel so much. So to answer the question that Mr. Boxt posed in the headline of this article, no. That's not pro-Israel.