AIPAC and J-Street
Last night we went with J-Street, the new pro-Israel pro-peace lobby to see "The Gatekeepers", a European-Sony financed film in Hebrew (with subtitles) by Dror Moreh. He interviewed the last six heads of the Israeli security service (Shin Beth). These 6 men unanimously oppose the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank because Arab discontent and terrorism against Israel are growing in a vicious cycle, and Israeli responses are unethical and counter-productive.
Israel fell into occupying Palestinian areas because "there was no strategy, just tactics," said Avraham Shalom, the oldest of the formerly hush-hush Shin Beth directors (1980-86) who looks somewhat like my husband. He called the "brutal occupation force similar to the Germans in World War II"--not the Holocaust but the occupation of Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia. Like his fellow-ex Shin Beth heads, Shalom backs a "2-state solution."
The occupation which the country fell into because is dangerous to Israel. "You cannot make peace using military means", said his successor, Avi Dichtor (2000-05).
This film's searing indictment of the Netanyahu policy of delaying negotiating peace will have impact not only in Israel, where it is almost as hard to create a government coalition as in Italy, but also in the USA. It won the National Film Critics Aware for best non-fiction movie and was nominated for an Academy Award.
It may mark an end to the knee-jerk US political response to demands for the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which recently was defeated in its attempt to block the naming of Chuck Hagler as US Secretary of Defense. Despite vicious slander, the While House succeeded in getting the Senate to vote Hagler's appointment. What set AIPAC off against him was his frank disapproval of the excesses of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
Now AIPAC has another campaign it is pushing: excluding Israel from government spending cuts under the "sequester." This is such an unrealistic policy that it is clearly being mounted for US political ends, to try to legitimize a politically excessive pro-Israel position.
Back in the Dark Ages, when Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union was blocked, Israel was heroic and admirable. But even then (in the 1970s, when she worked for the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee), your editor opposed the occupation of the West Bank. She wound up removing her children from the Washington Hebrew Congregation Hebrew school because they were being taught that the Biblical borders of Eretz Yisrael included "Judea and Samaria". (We moved them to Temple Sinai, another Reform Hebrew School.)
Another Israeli black eye is discussed below, in our corporate news section. More for paid subscribers follows from Canada, Israel, India, Spain, Britain, and Sweden.