The The Israeli Foreign Ministry campaign to crackdown on refuseniks and the American Jewish groups that host them got off to a rocky start, thanks to the efforts of the Zionist Organization of America. The Forward’s story of ZOA’s unsuccessful attempt to expel the Union of Progressive Zionists from the Israel on Campus Coalition has so many twist and turns, it reads exactly like the Yay, Boo game we used to play as kids. Yay! The Union of Progressive Zionists sponsored a tour of Breaking the Silence! Boo! The ZOA tried to get them kicked out of the Coalition. Yay! Everyone voted unanimously to keep them in. Boo! The American Jewish Congress announced it would leave the coalition in protest. Yay! The AJC said that was a mistake. Boo! No it wasn’t a mistake.
It goes on and on. It also points out that the very groups that want the Union out for criticizing Israel publicly, did just that during the Gaza withdrawal, except of course from the opposite political perspective.
I remember when Bibi Netanyahu’s in-laws came to my house to give a talk about Israel a few years back. Their son, Netanyahu’s nephew, Yoni Ben Artzi, is one of Israel’s best known refuseniks. As they described the slow, quiet emigration of each member of their family to Europe or the United States, Matania Ben Artzi said, “Yoni’s really the only real Zionist in the family now. He’s the one who wants to stay and fight…who believes it can get better.” That can be said of most of the refuseniks. And these are the ones they want to punish.