Friday, August 7, 2009

Jennifer Rubin: Repercussions of Bay Area Outrage

Daniel "J Street' Sokatch and Peter Stein appear to have bitten off a bit more than they can chew. Here's another piece by the formidable Jennifer Rubin about the fallout from SFJFF anti-Israel fiasco:

Repercussions of Bay Area Outrage

Jennifer Rubin - 08.07.2009 - 8:25 AM

On Sunday I wrote about the San Francisco Jewish Federation–sponsored Jewish Film Festival, which featured the Palestinian propaganda film Rachel and descended into a display of anti-Israel venom. If the letters to the editor in this week’s are any indication, there are plenty of very upset Jews in the Bay Area. One writes:

Many people think that the recent showing of “Rachel” at the SFJFF was meant to stir controversy in the Jewish community over Israeli policy. It has accomplished more than that. Some people wanted to see the film for what it was and did not anticipate the repercussions; i.e. the intolerable rudeness toward Dr. Mike Harris and the stomping out of his opposing point of view. They thought that Cindy Corrie’s presence would add credibility to the film, not knowing that she is a pro-Palestinian propagandist who was photographed smiling next to Arafat.

Some other accomplishments were:

1. That changes will be made on the SFJFF board;

2. That people are annoyed with what seems to be spinelessness in Jewish leadership;

3. That a major contradiction is “free speech” and discussion are for some, but not for others — an issue to be examined;

4. That there are “peaceniks” who have disdain for any peace, but instead, behave like violent thugs.

It’s an accomplishment that the broader Jewish “community” has woken up here and elsewhere in the States and world.

Another writes:

In donating to the federation I trusted and empowered a group to manage my contribution in a responsible way. They agreed to use proper judgment with any investment. The federation has no right to use diversity as an excuse to justify their support of predictable behavior similar to Hamas or KKK as demonstrated by some anti-Israel organizations.

Holding an anti-Israel, hate-fest film festival with our federation donations is not what I would consider Jewish behavior. Nevertheless, the film festival has the right to screen any film or invite Cindy Corrie to be a speaker — all of which I strongly oppose.

Following several failed attempts to influence the federation to reconsider their position and instead apply good judgment and leadership, I finally understood that they have deliberated, considered all sides carefully and made a final decision. One which, with my minimal wisdom, I cannot support.

I had no choice but to stop all my donations to the federation. I will be redirecting my funds, as well as additional money, to pro-Israel groups who demonstrate better judgment and have no difficulties leading.

And Natan Nestel writes of the federation:

Federation CEO Daniel Sokatch camouflages the Federation’s failure to oppose the incessant ideological assault on Israel by invoking buzzwords like “diversity” and “depth of feelings and convictions.” He ducks the real issue — how best to counter extremists, their propaganda and their political machinations.

The anti-Zionist crowd cheered Ahmadinejad, anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions and screamed “Sig Heil” — all with Federation (your) funds and its tacit approval.

This “debate” is about life-and-death issues regarding our brethren in Israel, not a local dispute with friendly disagreements. Sokatch’s failure to see that distinction is indeed disturbing; Federation leaders don’t seem to get it.

Federation’s misguided effort to grant legitimacy to anti-Israel organizations must stop. Simply put, the Federation shouldn’t support organizations or events that promote anti-Israel venom and that collaborate with anti-Israel groups and individuals.

Perhaps the Jewish Film Festival and its federation sponsors misread their greater audience beyond the netroot film crowd. If so, some good may come of this horrendous lapse of judgment.

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