On Tuesday night, David Horovitz, founding editor of the Times of Israel, began a speech sponsored by the Israel lobby group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, at Temple Israel in Westport, CT, by telling the story of his family, and he made this joke:
My brother in law [Zion Evrony] is ambassador to the Vatican, which of course is the best job in Israeli diplomacy because you live in Rome and you don’t have to deal with the Jews.
Raucous laughter followed from the 120 or so people in the synagogue. Horovitz added:
I thought I was bad for telling that joke, and you should feel bad for laughing at it.
Of course, the same joke told by a non-Jew in public life would do a number on his career. Horovitz gets away with it because he loves Israel and wears a yarmulke and is a member in good standing of the tribe. Though you can’t help wondering, when all those people laughed: What do they think of Diaspora Jews? Are they saying, We know we’re demanding?
P.S. The event was a fundraiser for AIPAC, whose representative said that building close bonds with politicians in both parties is essential to maintaining America’s support for Israel. Horovitz’s speech was otherwise thoughtful but extremely pro-Israel. He repeated the word “complicated” many, many times. He said that all Israelis would want to sign a peace deal tomorrow, but they had no confidence at all in Palestinian society or in Palestinian leaders who inculcate their young people not to accept the Jewish state. He said that Israel needs a strong Jewish majority to exist as a “democratic Jewish state,” and that Palestinian citizens are subject to discrimination in municipal funding and in education but that Israel is working on that. He said no one likes Benjamin Netanyahu very much, but he’s the devil you know, and no one feels safe replacing him. Though many in Israel disapprove of his stunts in Washington opposing the Iran Deal. He said that former PM Ehud Barak is one of the smartest guys in Israel, but he and many others wanted to give up the Golan Heights for a peace deal with Syria 17 years ago, and if they’d done that, it would be a complete disaster now, with ISIS coming to Israel’s border. He said he couldn’t understand why young people in the U.S. focused on Israel when there was a slaughter going on in Syria (hint: US is on one side in the Israeli brutalities), said the situation in the Middle East was so complicated and threatening now that it’s understandable Israel doesn’t want to make a deal to create a Palestinian state, and said the young Egyptians in Tahrir Square in 2011 were demonstrating for Egypt to be like Israel. He repeatedly called on Americans to go out and see Israel for themselves and see how happy and fulfilled Israelis are.
Oh and by the way, for the Zionism is part of Judaism file, Horovitz and AIPAC were introduced with a lot of praise by Rabbi Michael S. Friedman, below right, a graduate of Yale with an impressive resume in Reform congregations.