Michael Lesher


From Ramzy Baroud’s groundbreaking book on Palestinian prisoners: “I have nothing to apologize for,” Mohammed al-Deirawi told the Israeli judge who sentenced him. “I will never apologize for resisting the occupation, defending my people, fighting for my stolen rights. But you need to apologize, and those who demolish homes while their owners are still inside are the ones who must apologize.”

Michael Lesher writes ahead of Jerusalem Day, “please do not expect any kind words from me over the latest attempt to distract newspaper readers from the advancing flood of Israeli apartheid–I mean, the spat over whether or not Donald Trump thinks the Western Wall is in Israel. The real question is why anyone would think the retaining wall of the Second Temple complex, built by Herod (not Solomon) as part of an urban renewal project meant to broadcast his own glory, was worth a war. For that matter, who could imagine that this pile of stones, or anything like it, would ever justify 50 years of military occupation?”

An unnerving bunch, these Jewish public moralizers. Just when you think you’ve got their propaganda down pat, along comes a shift in U.S. power and they turn the whole game upside down. Remember when it was bad form to analogize Israel’s army of occupation to the Nazis? Well, that was then. Today it’s David Friedman, Donald Trump’s pick for US ambassador to Israel, who publicly accuses the liberal-Zionist Jews of J Street of being even worse “than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.”

Michael Lesher writes: “Another anniversary of Kristallnacht has come and gone. And for me, as a Jew, what is there to do but grieve? Part of what I feel records what happened on that long night in 1938 when Nazi hooligans ransacked and destroyed Jewish shops, homes, schools and synagogues. Of course it does. But another part, more immediate and more painful, is a grief born of rage: grief over the complicity of my fellow Jews in a present and continuing crime, eerily similar to what the Nazis did on Kristallnacht. A crime for which, I fear, ordinary Jews bear more responsibility today than did ordinary Germans 77 years ago.”

Given the Jewish Week’s powerful reach into mainstream Jewish households – the paper has reported 100,000 weekly subscribers in the New York area (making it the single biggest-circulation Jewish periodical) – its commentary on the growing violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories carries significant weight. Alas, the Jewish Week’s most recent summary of events, while ostensibly expressing sympathy for victims of “terror,” confounds its subject matter so completely that, in the end, it succeeds only in propagandizing for systematic violence, defending international crime, and embracing disinformation as an instrument of justice.

There’s a certain poetic justice about the indiscriminate treachery of Michael Oren’s new book, ironically titled Ally. Like Shakespeare’s Richard III, whose systematic betrayals punish his comrades for the parallel sins of their pasts, Oren – once Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. – is now smearing many of his Jewish-American former friends with a dose of their own medicine. In fact, it’s hard not to notice that every one of the folks offended by Oren’s new book has been just as mendacious as Oren himself when it comes to flacking for Israel.