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JCall: even European Jewry beginning to publicly criticize Israel
By: Michael Warschawski
Alternative Information Center
3 May 2010

A few days ago, we published in the AIC website a statement from our friends of the Jewish French Union for Peace (UJFP) criticizing the text of a petition of prominent European Jews that criticises the rejectionist position of the present Israeli government. I fully agree with the criticism of UJFP, in particular the fact that the only reason the drafters gave for criticizing Netanyahuís politics was the effects on the fate of Israel, and not the effects on the basic rights of the Palestinian people, as if they were a mere object and not a political actor.

Saying that does not mean one should remain indifferent to this petition and to the establishment of JCall in Europe. The fact that prominent Jews like Bernard Henry Levy or Daniel Cohn-Bendit have taken the decision to openly criticize an Israeli government is a strong sign of the growing isolation of Israel in the international arena and the malaise within Jewish communities.

The creation of J Street in the American Jewish establishment should have been understood as a warning by the Israeli leaders, precisely because it happened within the Jewish establishment and not in the radical fringes of US Jewish public opinion. Instead of protesting against the decision of Obamaís administration to be present at the J Street convention, Netanyahu should have listened to the double message coming from the other side of the ocean: part of the organized US Jewish community is not ready anymore to unconditionally support whatever any Israeli government is doing, and the US administration is not ready to bend to the permanent blackmail of AIPAC.

The ultra-right wing Israeli government chose to ignore this double message. Now, it is confronted by a second call, coming this time from Europe. All the signatories of JCall have a long past of defending Israel, even when its policy was indefensible, like, for example, during the massacre in Gaza last year. Many of them did not hesitate to lie, slander opponents and to distort obvious facts in order to provide a shield to the Israeli governmentís policies, as if they were saying: we will defend Israel and Israeli policy at any price and unconditionally.

Now they are asking for the payback: you, Benjamin Netanyahu, should have not only used our (many) words of support but also heeded our (mild) criticism, as both were expressed for the sake of the State of Israel, its existence, wealth and security. The reaction of Netanyahuís administration to J Street was an unambiguous signal that the Israeli government doesnít care. If it doesnít care about making the White House angry and part of the American Jewish supporters confused, he definitely will not be concerned that a few thousand prominent European Jews are criticizing his politics.

The JCall should not been taken lightly because it is another signal of the growing isolation of Israel in the international arena. The question is whether or not, and when, that message will be understood by Israeli public opinion. For the time being it seems that public opinion in Israel is no less deaf than the government.

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