Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How "Social Justice"-Crazed NIF Canada Misuses the Words of Israel's Founders

When I read the headline ("NIF director put on defensive during panel discussion") above Joanne Hill's excellent account of an event last week featuring reps from CIJA and the B'nai Brith along with the head of the New Israel Fund Canada, the thought that popped into my mind was: if only. That's because my impression sitting there was that, while the BB's Anita Bromberg did her utmost under the circumstances to inform the crowd about the NIF agenda, which includes its support for some mighty shady characters in the name of "social justice," I thought NIF Canada's Jay Brodbar was anything but "defensive." Actually, the phrase I would use to describe him is "supremely confident," as only someone who believes he has virtue, truth and a higher morality on his side can be. Dr. Brodbar is convinced that his is the right and proper way because--and this was both informative and highly disturbing--it's what Israel's founders would have wanted. In making his case, he quoted this, from Israel's Declaration of Independence:
THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex... 
Lovely words. Most inspiring. Utopian, even. The reality, however, is that Israel's enemies have never accepted its legitimacy, and that until they do, Israel can not attain Utopia. It can only do the best it can--which, alas, is not and will never be good enough for "social justice" junkies such as Brodbar.

The salient question here is: what would Israel's founders think if they knew that their words had provided the "moral" underpinnings for an ostensibly pro-Zionist outfit that gave money to out-and-out Zion-loathers? My feeling is they'd be sick to their stomachs.

Update: Call me crazy, but I don't think they'd give thumbs up to Peter Beinart's literalistic interpretion of the declaration, either. In a symposium querying various Jewish pundits about what it means to be pro-Israel he writes:
For me being pro-Israel means helping Israel live out the words of its declaration of independence, which promises a Jewish state that will provide complete social and political equality, irrespective of race, religion and sex. I think that one could argue about how to interpret those documents, but American Jewish leaders too often equate being pro-Israel with supporting the policies of the Israeli government. If we think about how we approach being pro-America, we’re more likely to think in terms of helping America achieve the vision that’s set out in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, rather than just helping the government achieve its policies. Israel doesn’t have a constitution, but it does have a declaration of independence, so that should be our North Star in terms of our support. We want Israel to live up to its own principles.
Update: The Soros and the pity. (H/t: RW)

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