Reader Post: Is This Legitimate Criticism?

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AjdsJews are a people of criticism.  We enjoy expressing our views and making our points.  We can be robust in our arguments, passionate in our beliefs, critical in our assessments.  We espouse views that are sometimes not always popular.  And our views are diverse across the whole spectrum of thought.  But there does come a time when we have to ask ourselves if some of the criticism that is leveraged is legitimate or not?  And that brings into question an organisation that promote themselves as Jewish, yet whose views are extreme to the point where we have trouble distinguishing between what they say and what those who want to hurt us say.  The AJDS is one such organisation.

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) is an organisation or society in Australia that calls itself “a progressive voice among Jews and a Jewish voice among progressives”.  In many ways, they are probably similar to J-Street in America.

The other day, in response to the recent violence in Jerusalem, they released a statement which purported to condemn that violence.  Seems fair, right?  That is – until you actually read what they said.  The full statement can be found here.

In a sweeping generalisation, they say they condemn the attacks in Jerusalem – which any sane or reasonable person would do.  The problem is that they fail to mention where the violence comes from.  There is no mention of Palestinian terrorists storming the synagogue armed with axes and meat cleavers and guns.  There is no mention of Palestinians purposely steering their cars, then ramming them at speed into innocent bystanders.  There is no mention of Palestinians, armed with knives, getting out of their car and plunging those knives into innocent people.  These important facts – not views – are completely omitted by them, as if somehow they’re not even relevant.  But further into their statement, it calls for “leading figures in the current Israeli government and their settler allies to halt their recent actions, which actively work against justice and instead incite violence towards Palestinians.”

Now, did I just read that correctly?  It could well have been a press release from Abbas himself cosigned with his Hamas partners.  You can almost hear the sneer in their voices when they say “settler allies” with the intention of dehumanising the people who live there – their fellow Jews who they purportedly care about.

The statement goes on further to lay the blame squarely on Israel with scant reference to the Palestinians, other than a throwaway remark about Hamas near the end.

The question is, when confronted with an organisation like this, is to find out what they actually want since the language they use is the same as the enemies of Israel.

They try to draw a clear line between the murder of of Muhammed Abu-Khdeir and the attacks on the Synagogue in Jerusalem – a connection that only they see.  A murder, which by the way, was abhorred by Israeli society which condemned the act, caught the perpetrators and punished them according to the law – which is what Israel is – a nation of laws with a robust justice system.  Let’s look at the reaction of Palestinian society which celebrated the murder of the rabbis in a synagogue in Jerusalem by handing out sweets.  Abbas may have condemned it, but with about as much sincerity as Russia expressing remorse for loss of life in their Chechnya campaigns.  Expect a street or square to be named after the Jerusalem synagogue terrorists soon.

But, as all extreme left wing organizations do, they live in a delusional fairytale where Israel is always the bad guy – no matter what they do.  They have a nerve to speak of “progressive values” yet they support the BDS movement – an openly anti-Semitic movement that aims to delegitimize the State of Israel.  As Jews, did they support the action of placing a pig’s head in the kosher section of a supermarket in South Africa – in order to raise awareness for their beloved BDS movement?

They speak of democracy and concern for human rights, yet do not raise awareness of the lack of these values in Palestinian society.  Anas Ismail, 29, of Salfit, near Nablus, was found guilty of “libel and slander” and sentenced to prison by the Palestinian Authority.  Guess what his crime was?  He clicked “Like” on a Facebook page that was deemed anti-Palestinian Authority.  Or let’s look at democracy – which is so prominent in their organization’s name.  The next Palestinian election is due to be held in 2009.  Ah…yeah.  5 years ago.  Sounds like democracy is in full swing!

The problem with organizations like this is that they use their Jewish background as some kind of anchor for moral authority, but their arguments and hypocrisy is quickly exposed when you realize their criticism is limited only to Israel – while willfully ignoring their “progressive and democratic” values when judging others.

Unfortunately, Israel has many enemies – within and without.  And by this Jewish movement adopting the language of those enemies, they give those who want to destroy Israel a twisted hope that even some Jews are against it.

Legitimate criticism is always allowed and encouraged, but when your organisation sounds the same as the one who wishes for the destruction of the Jewish homeland – I think it’s time for a bit of self-reflection.

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