Kampeas concerned: Has ZOA reversed position to criticize Israel on security decisions?


This ZOA press release landed in my inbox on Tuesday, with this as its subject line:

ZOA Concerned – Has PM Netanyahu Reversed Position to Accept Indefensible 1949 Lines as Basis for Talks?

Further in, it quoted its president, Morton Klein, as saying:

Has Prime Minister Netanyahu placed Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley on the negotiating table? We are deeply concerned to read reports indicating that he is on the point of backing down on his correct insistence that a return to the 1949 armistice lines, or anything similar to them, is out of the question. This is especially so at a time when the PA continues to engage in incitement to hatred and murder in its media, mosques, schools and youth camps and has signed a unity government agreement with the ‘kill the Jews’ Hamas terrorist organization. It is also astonishing when we have it direct from Mahmoud Abbas himself that, as he put it in May, ‘Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.’
Israel should be delegitimizing the PA by exposing its continuing record of incitement to hatred and murder and glorification of terrorism, not legitimizing it by renewing negotiations based on a further, major and dangerous Israeli concession. Israel should also be calling on an end to U.S. aid to the PA.
Whatever the truth to reports that the PA would reciprocate by recognizing Israel as Jewish state, it would be a strategic error for Israel to make such a vast and dangerous concession in return for averting a PA resort to the UN for recognition of Palestinian statehood. The PA is violating its Oslo commitments, specifically the 1995 Oslo II agreement, by seeking to alter the political situation by any means other than negotiations with Israel. Oslo II stipulates that ‘Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.’ Rewarding the PA with a major concession for agreeing not commit this violation is the last thing Israel should be doing.

The highlights are mine (as if you hadn’t guessed.)

It wasn’t so long ago — barely three weeks in fact — that the ZOA was haranguing anyone who would dare advise Israel what it "should" be doing and who would counsel the Jewish state on what was and was not a "strategic error." The issue was Israel’s law allowing civil action against individuals and groups that call for boycotts of the settlements:

Israel is under existential threat from many countries and peoples around the world.  Israel is enduring an organized worldwide campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) the Jewish state.  Israel is also watching with deep concern as its neighbors are undergoing dramatic change which could bring even more radical Islamist, anti-Israel, anti-US, and anti-West governments into power. 


We, in America, thankfully do not have to worry about and deal with these kinds of threats.  Therefore, the ZOA believes that Jewish organizations should be very careful about telling Israel how to protect its security and economic interests, especially when enemies of Israel and outright anti-Semites are using the words of Jewish organizations that criticize Israel to encourage and promote their own external boycott, delegitimization and sanction efforts against Israel.

I’ll give ZOA half a pass here, because of the second half of the last sentence: The prospect of enemies of Israel using Jewish criticism of its laws is real, whereas I doubt anyone would use an utterance of Mort Klein’s to slam the Jewish state.

I’m not agreeing with Mort that Jews should be silent lest their words be used against Israel, I’m saying that as far as this argument goes, he’s at least consistent.

The half a pass I’m withholding from Mort — where he is not at all consistent — has to do with his assessments that Israel is "under existential threat" and that Americans don’t have to worry about such threats.

That, it would seem, would hold for whatever strategic decisions the Netanyahu government is contemplating about terms of negotiations and relinquishing territory.

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