Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lara Friedman Plays Both Sides Again (Part 2)

This is a continued response to Lara Friedman's hopefully final defense of the infamous church letter and her attack on the Jewish leaders that dared to stand up for themselves. Where we left off she had finally arrived at the content of the letter:
"Some have suggested Christian leaders are unfairly singling Israel out for accountability. The reality is that Congressional oversight of Israel -- its use of U.S. funding, its use of U.S. arms and munitions, its settlement activities, or anything else -- is virtually non-existent. On the other hand, the Palestinians are arguably the most reported-on, overseen, and held-accountable recipient of U.S. aid in the world. The huge and ever-expanding body of legislation related to the Palestinians requires reporting on their use of U.S. funds, their textbooks, their record on incitement, and the functioning of their security services, to name just a few."
Great, now this becomes a question of what exactly "virtually non-existent" and "huge" really means. Notice how Ms. Friedman comments on the settlements, perhaps because she knows that's her best and only card. American military aid to Israel doesn't have anything to do with the settlements because those don't involve the use of American weapons, at least not directly. What the church letter was about was to ensure that US aid was not used in a manner that "violates human rights," if you recall, except that "violates human rights" is a meaningless term.

With that in mind, let's cut out the fluff and get to the actual subject of this discussion, which is US aid. There are organizations in place to monitor where the aid goes, but remember that most of it just goes back to America to buy weapons. This is something that most Huffington Post readers don't know and need to be reminded about on a daily basis, and apparently Ms. Friedman is one of them. Now, is it America's obligation to ensure that all those weapons are used 100% humanely all of the time, as if that's even possible given that we are in fact talking about weapons?

It's obvious what the church leaders are really saying. They are saying that if Israel does something that they don't like (such as defend themselves) then 'we should have a conversation' about cutting off US aid. It's not like Americans and the American government aren't aware of what Israel is doing, even the bad things (though Peace Now would probably disagree), it's just that they know that in a similar situation they would do something similar.

The church leaders seem to be saying that every time an Israeli soldier does something wrong the American Congress should launch an investigation and penalize Israel for it. Which is not only unrealistic and absurd but also a double standard: We don't go poking our noses into every country and institution that receives aid, even ones that we probably should.

Now what about the Palestinians? Ms. Friedman is wrong on them as well: Although America is aware of incitements in textbooks, just to take an example, and takes steps to try and limit them, that is something different from what the church leaders were saying. The church leaders (and Ms. Friedman earlier) were talking about the laws determining how US aid should be used. That is, as far as I can tell, never been applied to the Palestinians or any of their "security services."

Sorry that took so long, let's get back to the article. After talking down the mainstream Christians in America, calling them "dispensationalist" Ms. Friedman returns to where she is most comfortable: shilling borderline anti-Semitic tropes. For example:
"Not long ago, many in the American Jewish community heaved a sigh of relief when the Presbyterian Church, under tremendous pressure from the Jewish community, defeated (barely) a proposal to support divestment from companies that support the occupation and settlements."
First of all, nice attempt to apologize for BDS but it won't work. Secondly, what "tremendous pressure" do you mean, Ms. Friedman? The article that you linked to was about Jewish organizations lobbying, so I guess you'd better get that spin started right away huh? Oh wait, here's something interesting:
"Earlier this week, the dovish American Jewish groups Americans for Peace Now and J Street also called on the Presbyterian Church’s plenary to vote down the resolution."
This is what I mean when I say Ms. Friedman plays both sides against each other. She defends the church leaders when they call for something like divestment, votes against divestment when it comes to vote, and then whines about how terrible it is that the Jews are "pressuring" people not to divest. It's enough to make your head spin.

Anyway she follows this up by more threats and doom and gloom. If Israel does not chaaaange it's waaaays then BDS will wiiiiiin! Very appropriate for Halloween and if you're wondering what this has to do with the church letter or the Jewish reaction to it then stop: because this is the Huffington Post and there's really only one subject of discussion at any point in time.

Now she's back against the Jews, after declaring herself to be part of the Jewish community earlier:
"Some have suggested that the real issue with the Christian leaders' letter is that it is a betrayal -- that these Christian leaders had an obligation to consult certain Jewish groups before doing or saying anything related to Israel. Consultation, however, increasingly appears to be code for a demand that these same Jewish groups get to dictate to Christians the boundaries of "kosher" activism on Israel."
I wouldn't use the words "obligation" or "betrayal," and I think since there are no links this is another case of Ms. Friedman putting words in other people's mouths. But the letter was unquestionably a provocation on an area that the writers knew that Jews found sensitive, and it was written specifically to get a reaction. At the very least the writers could have said something to the Jews or maybe even discussed the issue before they just sent out the letter. The Jewish leaders got blindsided by it and it's no surprise that they reacted the way they did. That was the idea.

But Ms. Friedman can't be bothered to think about nuance like that. Easier just to make thinly veiled accusations that rely upon anti-Semitic tropes than take a second to look at things from somebody else's point of view.

This is getting somewhat long so let's conclude with one more attack on the American Jewish community, because there isn't enough of that on the Huffington Post:
"Now, in the absence of credible efforts by these same major American Jewish groups to get Israel to change its policies, they are enjoying ever-diminishing authority when seeking to influence church leaders with respect to Israel-focused activism. American Jewish groups that choose to continue in this vein shouldn't be surprised when others who have a stake in the Holy Land stop seeking their advice and approval."
Amazingly, Ms. Friedman still hasn't explained why American Jewish groups should be getting Israel to change their policies. As I have explained a million times, no American (Christian, Jewish or otherwise) will be suffering the consequences should Israel or the Palestinians make a mistake and another war starts. Those mistakes can from either a left-wing decision or a right-wing decision, I might add.

Sorry but it's obvious to anyone who read the letter that it was a partisan attack on Israel designed to weaken the US-Israeli relationship and nothing else. The views in the letter were not in line with APN's (at least, I don't think so) but because Ms. Friedman is on the left she has to be contrary and disagree with what 99.99% of American Jews are saying. And that's why she can only find a place on the Huffington Post.

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