Everything you need to know about the Jewish community’s marriage to Israeli is in this piece by former Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence in the Jewish Week, explaining how he managed to put down the burgeoning Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) at that Massachusetts school with roots in the Jewish community. Bring in Israeli soldiers, bring in lots of Israeli students, and invite “participation by anyone who cares about Israel… regardless of political views.” But all in the “context of love” for Israel.
Note that not one Palestinian is mentioned by Lawrence. They’re not stakeholders in the Jewish community’s view.
Here’s the part about the Israeli soldiers:
But perhaps the most significant event that evolved was what came to be called “b-VIEW” — Brandeis Visions for Israel in an Evolving World. This program, a campus-wide, broad-based Israel discussion group with a yearly multi-university conference, was started by three IDF vets whom we had recruited to Brandeis, and two American students. They created a forum for sharing a wide range of views on Israel in the context of love and determination for Israel’s survival and future. I was privileged to support it and help make it happen.
Speakers at b-VIEW conferences have included Mideast expert Aaron David Miller, Israel’s consul general in New York, Ido Aharoni, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. Most important were the breakout sessions where students from colleges up and down the East Coast wrestled together with the situation confronting Israel.
Whereas many campuses find themselves hosting a confrontational and adversarial discussion of Israel, Brandeis’ b-VIEW revolutionized the process because it goes beyond simplistic rhetoric and polarized debates. It invites participation by anyone who cares about Israel and the region, regardless of political views, and encourages engagement in constructive and mutually respectful conversation…The Bronfman Brandeis-Israel Collaborative Research Initiative provided research grants to faculty for projects done together with Israeli academics.
Now a scholar at Yale Law School, Lawrence says the “surest way to defeat BDS” is to promote Israel, not to be negative about BDS. But his Rx is essentially racist. Again: he mentions no Palestinians. And at the same time that he was torpedoing BDS, Lawrence was ending the school’s relationship with Al Quds University because its president Sari Nusseibeh failed to condemn in strong enough terms a rally at the school of masked militants carrying fake guns and giving a Nazi style salute. So Nusseibeh deplores the rally, but not loudly enough, and meantime his more powerful American partner hosts soldiers from an Israeli force that massacres children.
Lately I had a discussion with a friend about Who lost Israel? Israel is clearly in jeopardy right now as the “Jewish democratic state”; you can see the desperation in all J Street and New Israel Fund’s year-end communications. Help us get back to the Israel we love, by getting rid of Netanyahu, and Bennett, and Shaked, and Lieberman, and everyone else in the Israeli political establishment, tomorrow. Aren’t they speaking out a little too late? Yes, they’re too late. Israel has gone too far right to be redeemed, IMHO; and the American Jewish groups were complicit in this process because they kept feeding Israel rope, preventing any accountability in the States. As Frederick Lawrence preserved Israel’s impunity by shielding it from the nonviolent BDS movement. And anyway, my friend said that the American Jewish community lost Israel in 1980 when it forced the resignation of Andrew Young as the US ambassador to the UN because he had had a brief meeting with the PLO over the Palestinian state issue. You weren’t supposed to talk to the PLO; and in an election year under tremendous pressure from Jewish organizations, Jimmy Carter accepted the resignation of a man very close to him. A sad chapter. And all we can say is that Barack Obama knows all this, and is fighting back against the lobby.