Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ADL Chutzpah and the Preaching of Ethics to Israel - by Judith Bergman

Speaking of the “ethical thing to do”, there is a particular chutzpah in preaching to Israel about ‘ethics’. Israel spends a disproportionate amount of resources –compared to its tiny size — on humanitarian aid all over the world, especially in Africa, and has done so for decades. Israel cultivated a strong relationship with Africa from the earliest beginnings, when the newly ‎decolonized African nations emerged. Israel sent thousands of Israeli experts in agriculture, hydrology, ‎regional planning, public health, engineering, community services, medicine and scores of other fields ‎throughout Africa between 1958 and 1973. Thousands of Africans trained in Israel during the same time. Unlike Europeans, who lived in their own, segregated compounds, the Israelis lived among the Africans they came to ‎assist on the African continent.

Judith Bergman..
12 March '18..

Large parts of the West, including American Diaspora Jewish leaders, appear to have decided that unless Israel desists from its plan of deporting thousands of single, male Africans who infiltrated Israel illegally during the past decade or so, then the Jewish state is either deeply “racist” or inhumane. In any rate it is certainly, they claim, compromising its “Jewish values”.

Now, there is nothing new in the fact that most people seem to love nothing better than a bit of virtue signaling, especially if it can be done at the expense of the Jewish state. However, the latest virtue signaling over the illegal African migrants in Israel seems of even poorer taste than usual, given the disproportionately large humanitarian contribution of Israel to the world, especially Africa.

For decades, Israel has been helping other nations flourish, while usually getting absolutely nothing in return, apart from being condemned by every conceivable international organization from the EU to the UN.

No matter how much Israel does though, it seems it is never enough. Not for the world in general and not for the leaders of US Diaspora Jewry in particular, who constantly obsess over the fate of “Jewish values” in the much harassed Jewish state.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wrote this to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January: “As American Jews, one of our greatest concerns is the well-being and security of Israel…We also care about our shared Jewish values and refugee heritage—a very human concern that reaches across borders and distances—and unifies us as a people. We therefore strongly urge the Israeli government to refrain from implementing this plan…Addressing this issue in a humane and responsible manner remains no easy task, but it is the Jewish and ethical thing to do…”

Giving illegal migrants, the majority of whom only entered Israel to seek a better economic future, $3,500 each and passage to a safe third country, as Israel has offered, is actually an ethical thing to do, especially if one considers the alternatives.

Whereas Greenblatt runs an American-Jewish organization, Netanyahu runs a country. As such, other considerations than those of Jewish ‘purists’ – geopolitical realities for example — come into play.

Jewish community leaders can afford to focus on ethics only while keeping their hands clean of actual decisions — which cannot be guided by ethics alone — because what they say and do generally has little consequence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, has to deal with the harsh unpleasantness of actual reality and the potentially damaging consequences of his decisions for the entire state of Israel.

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