Friday, 7 May 2010

Love of the Land: J Street Arrives on Main Street

J Street Arrives on Main Street

Avi Davis
The Intermediate Zone
04 May '10

Last week, a full page advertisement appeared in seven major Jewish newspapers around the country. Placed by the self proclaimed Israeli advocacy institute J Street, it presented a letter from former leftist Meretz leader Yossi Sarid addressed to the Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. Three weeks ago, Wiesel had published his own missive, in a number of major American newspapers, imploring President Barack Obama’s understanding of the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem and why another division of the city can never be contemplated.

“For Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims are able to build their homes anywhere in Jerusalem and that only under Israeli sovereignty has freedom of worship for all religions been assured in the city.”

Sarid counters that there is a tacit racism inherent in Israeli housing policy that allows Arab families to be evicted onto the street if it suits the occupying power. He also warns Wiesel, who is certainly no Jewish fundamentalist, to avoid placing too much emphasis on the Jewish people’s religious attachment to the city.

“ You, my dear friend, evoke the Jews’ biblical deed to Jerusalem, thereby imbuing our current conflict with messianic hues. As if our diplomatic quarrels weren’t enough, the worst of our enemies would be glad to dress this epic conflict in the garb of a holy war. We had better not join ranks with them, even if unintentionally.”

But Sarid goes much further than even this. In his admonition to Wiesel, he states baldly what no other Israeli leader has previously dared to plead:

“ Barack Obama appears well aware of his obligations to try to resolve the world’s ills, particularly ours here. Why then undercut him and tie his hands? On the contrary, let’s allow him to use his clout to save us from ourselves, to help both bruised and battered nations and free them from their prison. Then he can push both sides to divide the city into two capitals – to give Jewish areas to the Jews and Arab areas to the Arabs – and assign the Holy Basin to an agreed-on international authority.”

Here we have a frank admission – and condemnation – rolled into one.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: J Street Arrives on Main Street

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