I applaud Reform Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s remarks before J Street’s Oct. 26 convention in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Yoffie explained that a “pro-Israel” group – which J Street claims to be – must “support Israel as a Jewish state, reject the trap of false moral equivalence, never, ever, express contempt for the state and its people, and avoid like the plague the self-haters in the Jewish community who defend the rights of every group except their own.” He reiterated his support for Israel’s actions in Gaza, castigated the Goldstone Report, demanded immediate sanctions against Iran, insisted “that no options should be taken off the table,” and criticized “those on the left who appear content to allow the [Iranian] situation to continue as it is. They seem far more prepared to tell us what should not be done than what should be done to deal with this grave threat to Israel’s very existence.”
Yoffie’s excellent speech is wrong only when he asserts that “the great majority of the Palestinian people yearn for peace.” We hear this refrain continuously but are never offered evidence to support it. Palestinian polls do not support it and common sense dictates an opposite conclusion. While Israel has numerous active “peace now” movements, there are no comparably organized movements on the Palestinian side that agitate loudly for peace or are brave enough to vociferously criticize their corrupt, torture-inflicting, fundamentalist and anti Semitic leadership. Peace rallies emanate only from the Israeli side. Self-critical analyses fill only Israeli newspapers and bookstores. In contrast, Arab Television and the Arab media, mosques, schools, and religious establishment are churning out extreme Nazi-like propaganda at a Goebbels-like pace and, like pre-war Germany, the people are raising their children not to yearn for peace but to yearn for the genocide of the Jews and the demographic destruction of Israel through the “nonnegotiable Right of Return.”
The Palestinians, and Muslims in general, must undergo a revolution in their thinking and learn to accommodate modernism and the tolerance and respect for other peoples and religions that they themselves demand before we can believe they yearn for peace and coexistence. These are the facts, and we ignore them at our peril.