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‘Peace Now’ plays the Borscht Belt

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on 30 Comments

Today I received an amusing letter from Sara Ehrman of Americans for Peace Now, promoting a “What Would Liebel Do?” awards dinner in Boston in honor of the late great Leonard “Leibel” Fein. Ehrman is a battler for the holy grail, the two-state solution, a friend of Hillary Clinton’s, and an owner of a SodaStream seltzermaker from the occupied West Bank; and she is obviously very charming, but the letter reads like a plea for irrelevance. There is zero political messaging in it, along with a reference to retirement. Not a word about the coming crisis in Israel, the wicked Netanyahu and the virtuous Herzog, or the unending settlements, let alone the Gaza slaughter; and I sense from this that the old center is collapsing, and Peace Now is doing like Reform Jewish congregations and avoiding all talk of the issue lest liberal Zionists and non-Zionists begin to tear out one another’s hair. When the truth is, as liberal Zionists Shaul Magid and Peter Beinart (who is speaking at the Boston dinner) have both stated, the Jewish state faces a huge crisis, and now is the time for liberal Jews to be discussing these subjects, and maybe even hearing from anti-Zionists? The letter:

Dear Phil,
Back around Purim time, earlier this year, APN asked me to write a letter trying – rather brazenly I might add – to raise funds around my turning 95. Now that Sid Topol is turning 90, they’re throwing him a dinner and APN still asked me to write another letter. Chutzpah!
But after all, it is APN and Sid the Kid – and I love them both.
I’m not quite sure what Sid has done. Something along the lines of inventing cable TV. At least he thinks he did. And there’s nothing good to watch either. Thanks Sid. And they’re throwing you a dinner?
Sid, who sits on the APN Board, is actually an innovator. Whether inventing advances in microwave technology or promoting peace, Sid’s done it all. From Raytheon to APN, from Scientific Atlanta to Israel, he’s seen it all and probably donated money to it too. Unrelenting in his pursuit of peace and justice, Sid is truly someone who deserves our respect and support.
But I have to say, what was APN thinking having this dinner in Boston in the middle of winter? Feeling okay, Sid? What’s the rush? I hear Miami is nice in January.
In spite of this mishegoss (look it up), I hope everyone can come. Jim Klutznick, chair of APN’s Board, is on the program and he’s a hoot. You know, he develops retirement homes, so there are more of these dinners in APN’s future. Peter Beinart is on the program too– I guess Tom Friedman was booked.
But I have to say, if you can’t make it, please for crying-out-loud, let’s ALL say Happy Birthday to Sid and let’s donate at least $90 to the cause. APN, being the sports that they are, will put your name in the tribute book they are handing out at the rubber-salmon dinner in the middle of winter in Boston.
Send $90 (or more)—put “Topol” in the comments box and it is tax-deductible. You can pay now or when I turn 100 when they better give me a dinner.
Sara Ehrman
P.S. Here’s the invitation. Just in case. And if Sid isn’t enough to make you go, there’s Rabbi Toba Spitzer who is also being honored. Okay, she didn’t invent cable TV, but she’s a mensch. That’s enough.

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30 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    December 28, 2014, 11:52 am

    Phil, did you hear about this former Peace Now activist? It was on the Arutz Sheva site.

    “Dr. Anat Roth used to be an activist with the leftist Peace Now organization and an advisor to former Labor leaders Ehud Barak and Amram Mitzna, but now has had a “change of heart”.

    Roth announced on Saturday night that she would be running for the Knesset with the Jewish Home party.”

    It says she has now “seen the light.”

    “According to Dr. Roth, “The Labor movement and the Israeli left have stocks in the creation of Israel and the Zionist enterprise, but the facts have changed and reality has set in, and the Labor party cannot handle them. The last decade shows us that the desire for peace was and remains a thing of the Israeli side only, and that the processes in the Palestinian Authority and around us show that an Israeli withdrawal from land will lead to the establishment of a terrorist state.”

    The comments are pretty funny. Most are saying that this is a good move but she will need careful watching to ensure her ideological purity. Very Soviet of them.

    • Philip Weiss
      December 28, 2014, 3:14 pm

      Thanks for that blah I did not see it, but I collect string, and this goes on the ball of string!

      • a blah chick
        December 28, 2014, 5:33 pm

        No sweat, Phil. There are just so many hours in the day and as commander of the Armies of Darkness you can’t be everywhere, that is what your loyal minions are for. : )

  2. Krauss
    December 28, 2014, 12:47 pm

    There’s something endearing to Peace Now’s total irrelevance.
    The 1SS is the new 2SS, but like the 2SS, it also has two versions. The democratic version and the Apartheid version.

    I’m guessing a lot of liberal Zionists will end up as Mrs. Ehrman, simply blocking out reality when it gets too painful and keep doing events and dinners where they are praising a ghost, a phantom which has never existed but it does exist, they tell themselves, so long as it is alive in their minds.

    I pity these people. They are truly lost and scared.

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2014, 3:08 pm

      “I pity these people. They are truly lost and scared.”

      I think Reform Judaism will de-Zionize just about the same way it Zionised.

  3. Mooser
    December 28, 2014, 12:55 pm

    “Peace Now is doing like Reform Jewish congregations and avoiding all talk of the issue lest liberal Zionists and non-Zionists begin to tear out one another’s hair.”

    You were expecting something like the Trefa Banquet?

    • Mooser
      December 28, 2014, 3:11 pm

      By the way, the link is the most detailed description of the actual event I’ve yet seen.

  4. Ramzi Jaber
    December 28, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Very silly letter, bordering on the pathetic.

    All zionists are the same……. left, right, center, or anywhere else in between. They are all united in one goal: greater israel. they just go about it in different ways, with different words, and different faces. But the bottom line is the same.

    zionism is evil. zionism is racism. zionism is genocide. zionism is violent. zionism is wrong.

    1S1P1V, the one and only way forward.

  5. Annie Robbins
    December 28, 2014, 1:48 pm

    this letter is pathetic “Peter Beinart is on the program too– I guess Tom Friedman was booked.”

    ??? where’s the oversight committee! lol.

    • W.Jones
      December 28, 2014, 3:26 pm

      I think APN is serious about the Friedman reference.
      APN has a Facebook page that begins:
      “Tom Friedman: “Israelis are right to suspect some boycotters of using this cause as a cover for anti-Semitism, given how Israel’s misdeeds are singled out. But that doesn’t mean that implanting 350,000 settlers in the West Bank and turning a blind eye to dozens of wildcat settlements — that even Israel deems “illegal” — is in Israel’s interest…”

      The problem with this quote is that Friedman admits the settlements are illegal, yet he wrongly assumes that some of those who especially focus on this crime and others must be motivated by racism, rather than by moral objections to those violations themselves.”

      • Annie Robbins
        December 28, 2014, 4:36 pm

        w.jones, it is irrelevant to me if they were seriously considering friedman or not. this line is supposed to be mildly humorous or entertaining (it’s not). there would be no other reason distribute it. i know that because in polite circles everyone knows you don’t advertise someone is playing second fiddle. so because they did it publicly as part of their promotion it means they think it’s funny. it’s dumb.

      • W.Jones
        December 28, 2014, 6:26 pm

        OK, now I get it.

  6. W.Jones
    December 28, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Chomsky in 1988:

    QUESTION: Is there protest in Israel against the current policies?

    CHOMSKY: One good thing that has happened in Israel is that for the first time, a significant, authentic peace movement has developed. I don’t mean Peace Now, which is largely there in order to convince American liberals that they should continue to support Israel. In part th[e newer peace movement] is around Yesh Gvul, which has been around for a couple of years. But there are a couple of new groups… I don’t know what appeal they have in the population. Polls would indicate maybe 10% or 15%.–.htm

    • W.Jones
      December 28, 2014, 6:37 pm

      More from the interview on Peace Now and Friedman:

      CHOMSKY: Thomas Friedman, I should say, has by now revealed himself, in the Israeli press, as the astonishing racist and megalomaniac that he is.

      QUESTION: Which is why he won the Pulitzer prize?

      CHOMSKY: He won two Pulitzer prizes. He won for balanced and informed coverage. You may have noticed that it was announced on April Fools’ Day, which was not by accident. For years the guy has been covering up for Israel, falsifying facts. When the Israeli press comes out with headlines saying “Arafat Calls for Negotiations, Peres Refuses,” as they did in December of 1986, Tom Friedman will choose that occasion to write one of his many articles saying that Peace Now is losing credibility because there is no counterpart in the Arab World.

  7. Pixel
    December 28, 2014, 11:26 pm

    A few thoughts…

    First, she’s pretty funny.

    Second, she’s just given you the theme for Mondoweiss’ next funding drive! “…let’s ALL say Happy Birthday to Sid and let’s donate at least $90 to the cause. “

    It’s perfect!

    Of course, you’re too young to inspire donations as large as Sid’s – that is, unless you can instigate the downfall of cable tv companies and/or resurrect market share for Fizzies, the biggest Sodastream product challenger.

    (Root beer Fizzies win hands down!)

    At your party, Annie can lead the singing and Mooser can give the toast, which among other gems must include, “Unrelenting in his pursuit of peace and justice, [Phil] is truly someone who deserves our respect and support.”

    Lastly, I want to offer my HEARTIEST congratulations to Sid (and Sara) on being 90 and 95. They are growing older every day, and I love birthday cake!

    Mazel tov!

  8. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 5:16 am

    Johnny: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

    So who’s Johnny here, and who’s Baby? And where’s that corner?

  9. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 6:19 am

    Dear Sara Ehrman: Please take a look at these photos–especially the first one depicting the young school girls in their natural habitat awarded to them by the state you love so much:

  10. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 6:38 am

    Here’s a bit more, Dear Sara:
    Crushing Flowers: Report on Israel’s Targeting Palestinian females last summer:

  11. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 9:37 am

    The Catskills are passé. This is contemporary reality: How I know #BDS will win, and I will lose

    • W.Jones
      December 29, 2014, 4:55 pm

      Looks like a good article. Too bad for the paywall blocking it, Citizen.

      • Citizen
        December 29, 2014, 8:56 pm

        It’s extremely revealing. I emailed notice of it to Phil Weiss. I guess I was able to read it because one is allowed a few free looks a month? I just found the author’s twitter account and informed him some people cannot afford to read his article in Haaretz. Author also has a blog:

      • W.Jones
        December 30, 2014, 5:25 pm

        The opening of the article basically agrees with what BDS says in its criticisms of the occupation. Here is the ending of the article:
        Progressives notice [right wing pro-Israelis’ attacks on liberal pro-israelis.]. Why take a nuanced, moderate stance, if you will still be smeared and attacked? Balancing Zionism and progressivism is hard enough without Jewish institutions declaring war on liberal Zionists. After years of right-wing gatekeeping within the Jewish community, we should not be surprised that progressives think the choice is BDS or Bibi.

        If Jews want to avoid future BDS victories, we have to offer an alternative plan for ending the occupation. We should do so on our own, Zionist terms, insisting on a two-state solution and a secure Israel. As an American Jew, I favor selective divestments aimed at the West Bank, investing in progressive elements in Israeli society, and political lobbying in Washington D.C. – but I am open to better ideas.

        Alternatively, you can write off progressive America, claim we are a bunch of anti-Semites who know nothing about the conflict, and demonize anyone who talks about the occupation. You can smear J Street and the New Israel Fund, and you can go to war with Jon Stewart, The New York Times, and the Presbyterians. Just don’t be surprised when the next union votes for BDS.

        Raphael Magarik is a graduate student in English and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

      • W.Jones
        December 30, 2014, 8:01 pm

        It reflects the problems of someone from the liberal nationalistic position, like Beinart or others, who have liberal beliefs, accept the Israeli political system and its justifications and basic narrative viz a viz Palestinians, but oppose its militaristic brutality.

        That is, the author opposes putting negative measures like BDS on the Israeli system she likes to dissuade the system from its violations. But her position is difficult for her because the state acts brutally in its onslaught of Gaza’s population, for example. And that makes it hard for her to oppose dissuasive measures.

        So her main point is that she wants to see some realistic way for the state to change its policies or to persuade the state to do so. But she does not come up with what she sees (or is) a strong effective response against BDS, because she sees Israeli policies as basically supporting BDS’ arguments against the system. Her desire is for the state to recognize violations and reform itself, but that is made harder by the intense support that establishment institutions and its uncritical advocates give it.

        Her letter is basically a plea for the establishment institutions and state’s intense supporters to change tack, recognize the seriousness of the violations, and make the state reform radically. However, for such a plea to be successful, her audience would have to radically change their own views to come to her own, and while that would be good, I think that it would take far more than a letter in Haaretz or what J Street has put out, unfortunately.

  12. CigarGod
    December 29, 2014, 9:54 am

    95 and still so full of potential…yet so oblivious.
    That is a disaster.
    I cant believe a woman with such ability cannot have made great contributions in her life.
    Not to be able to understand such a core issue at the end of life, is a personal disaster.
    I can only feel compassion for her.

    • Citizen
      December 29, 2014, 9:59 am

      I had the feeling upon looking at her picture, reading what she had to say. Meeting her so as she is, is very depressing. The old adage that youth is wasted on the young seems to have a partner: wisdom and empathy are wasted on the old. I could draw an analogy to a few old Germans. Some people, no matter how old they grow, refuse to recognize reality as it unfolds, and has unfolded.

      She should meet the other senior Jewish American woman who wrote an article on this blog a month or two ago. Do the “have some coffee, let’s talk” routine.

      • CigarGod
        December 29, 2014, 3:15 pm

        Thanks, Citizen,
        I met with an elderly BundesMaiden (sp?) leader, in Germany years ago. We picked downed walnuts from the fallen leaves of her garden and then went in and had coffee. I decided not to let the opportunity to pass…so for the next hour or so…she fixed her fierce blue ex-nazi eyes on me and justified the early years, but then admitted the “excesses” of the later years. It was good to see that she had come to some sort of thoughtful conversion. It doesn’t look like Sarah will have the same awakening.

      • Citizen
        December 29, 2014, 5:17 pm

        @ CigarGod
        They use to get blue German crosses, in three different degrees, bronze, silver, or gold–complete with blue ribbons, for the amount of pure Aryans they produced. I don’t know, does Israel give any comparable medals? Israel certainly brags about it’s realizing reproductive capacity, comparable to others, such as EU nations.
        I agree, Sarah has not seen the light.

  13. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 10:09 am

    Instead, Sarah Erhman does her best to be a feeble clone of Joan Rivers:


  14. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 10:48 am

    Sarah Erhman, meet Lilian Rosengarten:

  15. Citizen
    December 29, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Today, the US slammed the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN:

    US says it won’t support the proposal as it calls for unilateral action on Israel’s part. Silence on the fact that US supports daily Israel’s on-going unilateral land theft.

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