America’s got a “double standards” problem when it comes to Israel. This is true of almost the entire international community. But Israelis expect better of their closest ally.
A group representing 2,000 American rabbis last week called out the Biden Administration over its bemoaning the rise of right-wing nationalist Israeli lawmakers like Itamar Ben-Gvir.
They noted the blatant hypocrisy in criticizing Ben-Gvir and trying to keep him out of the Israeli cabinet, while at the same time restricting their rhetoric toward and insisting on negotiations with Palestinian Authority leaders.
Earlier this month, Ben-Gvir attended an event marking the 32nd anniversary of the death of his mentor, Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Kahane was an advocate of absolute Jewish sovereignty in the Promised Land, resulting in his political party Kach being labeled racist and ultimately outlawed. Israel, Europe and the US State Department went so far as to designate Kach as a terrorist organization. While elements within the movement have engaged in property damage and issued threats against Arabs, its members have never killed anyone.
The rabbis this week noted that Ben-Gvir very explicitly stated at the memorial event that he no longer agrees with all of Kahane’s positions.
That however didn’t stop State Department Spokesman Ned Price from calling Ben-Gvir’s attendance an “abhorrent” celebration of a “terrorist legacy.”
And that’s what really got the rabbis’ goose.
You see, for many long decades the State Department that Price now represents has been the driving force behind American engagement with the Palestinian Authority, which is just a political facade for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), once the world’s premier terrorist outfit.
Still today, no name besides perhaps Osama Bin Laden is as synonymous with terrorism as that of Yasser Arafat, a man with the blood of many on his hands.
And yet, when the Palestinian Authority that is today ruled by Arafat’s protégé, Mahmoud Abbas, marked the 18th anniversary of his death earlier this month, Price said not a word.
How are Ben-Gvir’s actions a “celebration of a terrorist legacy,” but Abbas’ are not?
That’s what the rabbis behind the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) were wondering.
CJV Rabbinic Circle Chair Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer wrote on the group’s website:
“If the United States Department of State were genuinely concerned with support for terrorism, it would not be enhancing its relationship with the Palestinian Authority, much less providing funding that ends up indirectly financing its infamous ‘Pay to Slay’ program.”
CJV Israel Regional Vice President Rabbi Steven Pruzansky added:
“The bottom line is that Rabbi Kahane never murdered anyone, while the Palestinian Authority, a union of terror organizations, instigates and lauds murders on a daily basis, following the model of its founder, Yasser Arafat, who was a State Department favorite beginning in the 1990’s.
“The State Department is funding the PA’s ongoing support for terror while rushing to wrongly condemn Ben-Gvir for attending a memorial service for someone who died over three decades ago. This reflects both an egregious violation of American law and a blatant double standard, at odds with the State Department’s proclamations of neutral and fair treatment. We can and should expect better from the US Government and its officials.”
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