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June 8, 2010

The Decision to Feature “Peace Now” at the Los Angeles Pro-Israel Rally

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_decision_to_feature_peace_now_at_the_los_angeles_pro-israel_rally_20100/

Read the response from the Israeli Consulate in LA below

By Daryl Temkin, Ph.D

Within a hand full of days after the international anti-Israel media blitz, the Los Angeles pro-Israel community got the word out to hundreds of synagogues, churches, Jewish organizations and political leaders to come to the steps of the Israel Consulate and show support for Israel.

The rally featured a line up of speaker’s who are the staunch “fighters” for Israel’s truth and existential presence. This last decade has seen countless concentrated attempts to defame and destroy Israel’s name and right for self preservation. Even Israel’s long time supportive friends have been weakening and in some cases have joined the opposition. Recent polls show that only 34% of Democrats and their elected representative are willing to actively support Israel.

Because the Jews are a shrinking group, the Israel rally organizers encouraged wide participation of the Evangelical Christians who are the new backbone for Israel support.  Some non-traditional Jews have felt uncomfortable with the Christian support for Israel due to select political issues and Christian theology. However, organizations like Peace Now have been clearly and virulently against this body of Christian support.

The rally was a grand success except for one surprising and perhaps even shocking glitch.

Within the extensive line up of Los Angeles’ most supportive personalities for Israel, someone among the rally organizers decided it would be a “smart” idea to place David Pines, the Peace Now director address the crowd.

In the name of unity, the Jews and Christians of Los Angeles were expected to be polite and listen to the organization which leads the anti-Evangelical protest and has done the most outlandish efforts to feed anti-Israel hate to the international media, defame Israel and the IDF, supports the cause to teach Israeli teenagers to dodge the IDF draft and not serve beyond the 1949 lines, have diligently worked to defame and discredit the 600,000 Israelis living in post 1967 Israeli borders and are responsible for promoting anti-Israel and anti-settler propaganda which has likely inspired deadly attacks upon many Israeli lives.  In addition, Peace Now was caught red handed being financed by anti-Israel foreign governments and they have been alleged to reveal Israeli military strategies, yet alone their support for those who disrupt the IDF soldiers who are tasked with maintaining checkpoints to defend the citizens of Israel.

This rally was to stand in support of Israel and its right to blockade Gaza form receiving weapons to kill Israelis in the name of humanitarian aid.

However, David Pines couldn’t say anything like, “This is a time of unity. I and Peace Now stand with the IDF and the brave soldiers who risked their lives to protect Israeli citizens from those who are bent on destroying us and delegitimizing our right to exist!”

Peace Now stands for the opposite and this rally was not about the opposite.

Peace Now says Israel has no right to blockade Gaza?  Peace Now does not support the IDF that stopped the flotilla.  Peace Now does not support the IDF’s right to prevent missiles and contraband from arriving at the Gaza shores?

All that this rally was about is counter to Peace Now’s agenda. Furthermore, in the last months, the government of Israel has been dealing with declaring Peace Now an illegal and fraudulent organization. Yet, someone from the Federation felt that they should be honored with speaking at this rally? Perhaps in the name of Jewish unity Neturi Karta and Jews for Jesus should also be honored with speeches?

The boos and jeers of virtually the entire rally audience did not even awaken the rally MC to limit Peach Now director’s speaking time. While all other speakers were pressured to condense their words, Peace Now droned on to condemn Israel’s occupation and use of force.

This decision was an embarrassment to the rally organizers, to our pro-Israel community and to the many Christian guests who have been only ridiculed and disparaged by Peace Now messaging.

The crowds’ negative response to David Pines represented the disrespect and lack of awareness that the rally organizer who insisted that Peace Now be honored displayed to the attendees and to the rally’s subject matter.

This was a most absurd decision which requires an explanation and an apology. An apology is due to our Christian supporters as well as to the
pro-Israel supporters. This was an inappropriate time to glorify and honor the Peace Now platform which has been experienced by most of the
rally attendees as a stab in the heart to Israel and its soldiers. Recovering from the harm and bad taste left by that decision will require an additional community effort which will hopefully not be neglected or avoided.

Daryl Temkin, Ph.D.,is Founder of the Israel Institute for Alternative Energy Advancement and Innovations Consulting


Response from the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles

Dear Daryl,

Thanks for your comments. The rally was a demonstration of support for Israel from ALL L.A communities: Jews, Christians, Latinos, Afro- Americans, Asians, Republicans and Democrats, Orthodox conservatives and reform, members of LGBT,  representatives from L.A, Beverly Hills to Long beach and even Minnesota, and yes, from the political right and left. We, the consulate and the Jewish federation, (although here I’m writing on behalf of the consulate and I’m sure Jay and Andrew have their own say) looked at the pro-Israel Zionist camp and invited all to be part of the rally. We are proud all accepted the invitation, from the Governor to the last participant. It may be comfortable to be in the company of people who think just like you, but in this case we had to exclude many participants- and in order not to inflame a fire I will not start mentioning them out but I’m sure you can see what differences exist between the different representatives at the rally. Yesterday we shared and transmitted one common thing- support and love for Israel, and put aside for two hours our opinions on other issues. The fact that an organization that has criticism on some policies of an Israeli government/s finds it appropriate to be part of a pro-Israeli demonstration sends a strong statement of unity in times when it is necessary. Do we really want to push out of the pro-Israeli camp a group that many of it’s members do MILUIM no less- and in some cases more- than other groups represented? who will draw the line who is in? who will we be left with? and who will be the bridge when we try to outreach to critics of Israel from the left who do not care for Israel but might be persuaded?

Last but not least, Peace Now advocates for a two state solution for about thirty years. The last four Israeli P.M -Barak, Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu. endorsed the two state solution with different emphasises. The Israeli public will speak in our democratic elections -and in between- and we here in the U.S. will express our most vocal support for Israel.

Thanks again for your comments which is evident are coming out of true love and support for Israel.

Gil Artzyeli is Deputy Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles

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