December 06, 2011

The lobby lobbies Israel

Here's Akiva Eldar in Ha'aretz on how America's Jewish (yes, Jewish) lobby successfully lobbied Israel over a racist advertising campaign by the State of Israel in the USA.

An uproar in the "holy city" of New York. An Israeli Absorption Ministry campaign - using the slogan "Before Hanukkah turns into Christmas, it's time to return to Israel" - has convulsed the offices of Jewish professionals in the city. How dare those Israeli beggars patronize us? Who has ever heard of such chutzpah: delegitimizing Jews in America?
Heads of Jewish federations have sent urgent letters to Israel's prime minister, warning that the campaign is liable to harm relations between Israel and the U.S. Jewish community. Really! Ambassador Michael Oren apologized, and Benjamin Netanyahu canned the slogan. Apologies were made, now everyone can prepare for Hanukkah parties. And the main thing? "Jewish leaders" are now free to become involved in a renewed struggle against the "delegitimization of Israel." Or, in other words, they will defend Israel's government, whose forte is promoting the delegitimization of the "other."
Actually it's the State of Israel that delegitimises the "other", not this or that government. Zionism is zionism after all but the Eldar isn't averse to promoting the oxymoron of Israel being "a democratic, Jewish state". Tony Greenstein covers the whole issue of what prompted Israel's racist advertising campaign in the first place.

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