Monday, March 24, 2008

Booing Peace

It's moments like this that show the worst elements of some in the Jewish community:
Twelve-hundred Jews booed you last month.

This happened at the "Live for Sderot" concert at the Wilshire Theatre on Feb 27. All three presidential candidates each appeared on screen to deliver a videotaped statement of support for the Israelis undergoing a brutal campaign of terror in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared first, spoke clearly and decisively and received a smattering of applause. Then you came on. The crowd jeered throughout your brief statement and booed and hissed at the end of it. I didn't have the opposite of an applause meter with me, but I'd say the reaction hit a low point when you said we must all look forward to a day when "Israeli and Palestinian children can live in peace."

Jimmy Delshad, the Persian Jewish mayor of Beverly Hills, bristled. "Palestinian?" he told me. "It's like he has to throw that in our face."
That brief audition was as clear a demonstration as any of something I've noticed happening over the last few months: the giant sucking sound of Jewish support for the leading Democratic candidate.

There a couple of things that could be noted here, particularly that the type of Jew that is engaged enough to attend a "Live for Sderot" concert might differ from the average. That being said, I actually have a friend who is from Sderot (a border town under consistent rocket attack from the Gaza Strip), and I certainly think that Jews (and human beings) of all political stripes have an obligation to stand for its security and the safety of its inhabitants.

But booing peace for Palestinian children? "Bristling" when their lives, too, are brought up? Claiming that it is something that he "threw in your face"? It's sickening. For that is the dream, isn't it? We can disagree over how to get there and what needs to be done, we can be adamant (correctly) that Israel's security must be maintained. But the end of this trip has to be a world where Israeli and Palestinian children live in peace. One in which either has peace, but the other has fear and strife, is no world I wish to live in.

They boo, I say it louder: I look forward to a day when Israeli and Palestinian children can live in peace.

Now, who out there among my Jewish friends wishes to boo me for saying it?


Anonymous said...

They boo because people like you are living in cookoo land. It's like wishing for a day when Nazi and Jewish children can live side by side.

When someone announces that he's going to cut your throat, you defned yourself, not wish it away.

emanuel appel

Anonymous said...

Re: emanuel appel "like wishing for a day when Nazi and Jewish children can live side by side"
Your comparison is unspeakably odious. Try instead "like wishing for a day when German and Jewish children can live side by side". Which, by the way, has come to pass.

Anonymous said...

Re emanuel appel "you defend yourself, not wish it away"..
And also, having effectively defended yourself, you investigate why "someone announced that he's going to cut your throat". And you address those root causes applying the principles of intelligence, justice, truth and humanity that make you what you are.

PG said...

The one that troubled me was Dana Milbank's article, "The Audacity of Chutzpah," about a meeting on Israel to which each major candidate sent a representative. Obama's rep had to defend him for saying that he needn't have a "Likud view." Who's got the chutzpah here, when Clinton's representative is saying, "The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel" -- and gets applauded?
The role of the president of the U.S. is to support the state of Israel so long as doing so is consistent with our national interest, including our moral commitment to sustaining a functioning liberal democracy in the Middle East. Supporting whatever political party might get elected on a given day, including one whose charter declares that the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be annexed to Israel, is not part of the deal.

It's a weird disparity when South Asians get upset because Obama's campaign copies Clinton's joke that she is "Democrat-Punjab," but some of the Jewish community cheers if Clinton's own rep describes her as essentially "Likud-Israel."

Unknown said...

Reminds me of something I came across today.

"And then there was that experience with him in my synagogue in 2001. It was Yom Kippur. The rabbi was giving his sermon only to be interrupted by a bellowing obnoxious Krauthammer who was shouting him down for expressing a hope for peace between Israelis and Arabs."

-M.J. Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

I don't think "Jewish support" is as important as it was previously. The groups that purport to speak for us Jews, really speak to a diminishing minority of Likud-centered supporters.

They can deliver a minority of the Jewish vote, a minority that is shrinking each year. In 2006 the Democrats received over 85% of the Jewish vote, in spite of constant Republican support of these traditional Jewish political groups.

What these groups did deliver is a lot of money. The rise of internet fund raising diminishes the dependence on such funds.

Obama can relax.