Oy vey! So, what's new? Ros-Lehtinen/Berman resolution 867 passed: 344-36.
That it did so with such a wide margin is a bit surprising...certainly craven...and shameful. After all, this nonbinding resolution merely urged Obama and Clinton to oppose unequivocally any endorsement of the Goldstone report. If ever there's a time to placate the progressive population -- and lose very little in doing so -- a nonbinding resolution is it!
Given Congress's, the Pentagon's, and mainstream America's ongoing and uncritical support for Israel and its policies, what is new is Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman was threatened enough by the possibility of the House not backing H.R. 867 that he called on Judge Goldstone to repudiate his report.
Said Abe to the Judge: "I have had great respect for you over the years. Your work at the head of the South Africa Reconciliation Commission and in helping to find a just solution to the Bosnian conflict deserves the highest commendation....I know you to be a proud Jew who serves on the Board of Trustees of Hebrew University and who has a daughter living in Israel...[and] the Human Rights Council has repeatedly demonstrated its bias against Israel..."
When has the House, or the Senate, ever let Foxman and his friends down? This is the same Foxman who denies the Armenian genocide, who believes that issue should be resolved between Turks and Armenians, and who works behind the scenes to defeat a fair hearing about that genocide in Congress.
Ironically, at a San Francisco Jewish Community Center for a recent book event, Foxman said, "No one can dictate to you to use the word that you want us to use. We will use the words that we feel comfortable with."
Accordingly, Foxman feels comfortable making thoughtful Jews feel uncomfortable with words such as anti-Semite, self-hating Jew, Israel-threatening Jew, Israel-bashing Jew, and so on.
Author and medical doctor Alice Rothchild grew up as a good American Jewish girl and came of age to the dominant narrative of Israel as heroic, courageous, standing bravely against all odds.... Since then, believing what her eyes show her, she's changed her views about the situation. This effort to grow, learn, and change one's mind based on new information is essential to adulthood. But it landed Rothchild on the Jewish S.H.I.T List, an alphabetized roll-call of more than seven thousand so-called Self-Hating and/or Israel-Threatening Jews.
In a recent radio interview* I asked her about the moral underpinnings of her work.
She said, "One big moral dilemma for me is how the American Jewish community blindly supports everything the Israeli government does. My question is, what is the role of US Jews and the United States in this conflict? While it is difficult to paint American Jewry with one broad brush stroke, for the most part mainstream American Jewry walks in line with Israeli policy no matter what it does. It is very intolerant of any critical dissent. That is bad for us...and it is bad for Israel."
She continues, "I believe that if we American Jews see our brothers and sisters in Israel doing things that we find morally indefensible, we have to say something. If we don't, it is bad for them...and it is bad for us. Let's face it, it doesn't get any better than having a Zionist, Jewish South African human rights lawyer like Goldstone reporting these facts. For the Jewish community to come down so heavily on his report makes me want to cry. For, if we don't face up to what is in this report, we as Jews and as Israelis are going to lose any moral credibility in the world."
Rothchild makes a compelling analogy. "Just as we in the United States are made stronger by facing up to our history of slavery, the civil rights struggle -- all the things that we are ashamed of in our history -- Jews and Israelis need to do too."
Rothchild concludes, "The US government sends Israel billions of dollars of aid every year...and for what? There is a huge intermix of the two military establishments. They try out our weapons, they do all our dirty work... Once you start researching this stuff it is very disturbing. It is a dangerous relationship and it raises difficult moral questions for all of us."
Apparently, it raises no moral question for 344 members of the US House. Or Abe Foxman.
I imagine the day when that S.H.I.T. list becomes a roll call that honors the people whose courage and steadfast morality helped turn the tide in Israel/Palestine.
Meanwhile, Let's see what Obama and Clinton do. I'm afraid there will be no surprise there either. Oy vey!