Category Archives: Refuseniks

How South African Jews ‘protected’ their youth from the Shministim

It is not surprising that the same quarrels among Jews that we see here in the US are also at play in other parts of the world. Take for example South Africa, the land that gave us the word Apartheid.

Check out this cartoon, that appeared in the Mail and Guardian last week…Zapiro cartoon at South Africa\

Before anyone goes running to the hills, shouting ‘Anti-Semitism,’ let’s clarify… the cartoon was drawn by South African leading cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (aka “Zapiro”), who is Jewish and whose kids go to the Herzliah school depicted in the cartoon.

What’s going on here?

Let the crackdown begin…. sort of

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.

Cracking down on refuseniks, US Jewish peace groups

Israel’s Ynet reports that an internal Israeli Foreign Ministry document sent to Israel’s representatives across the US urges putting a stop to the embarrassing refusenik (conscientious objector) tours sponsored by US Jewish peace groups like Brit Tzedek.

The willingness of Jewish communities in the United States to host these organizations, and even sponsor them, is unfortunate. This is a phenomenon that must not be ignored, the report said. The report urged for action to be taken against the refuseniks and their organizations, saying their negative effect on Israels image must by stopped.

Wow. What part of “Western-style democracy” don’t they understand? Well, come to think of it, actively working to thwart the free speech of advocacy groups seems perfectly within the definition of Bush-Cheney style Western democracy. Our refusenik friends are reportedly outraged, saying their message, far from being anti-Israel, is one of co-existence and diplomacy.