November 29, 2011
The UK has got Yachad the US has got One Voice different name same problem they ignore the fundamental reason blocking peace: Jew-hatred.
Last month, One Voice, an American/European-based organization promoting peace, arrived in Israel led by TV-star Jason Alexander. Supported by foundations like Rockefeller, Ford, and Cummings with histories of funding anti-Israel activities, offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Tel Aviv, and boasting personalities like Sir Paul McCartney, Mohammed Ali, Natalie Portman and Brad Pitt, One Voice got the red-carpet treatment, visiting with President Shimon Peres and hosted by MK Yoel Hasson's Knesset committee.
The Knesset meeting with about 30 members of the group was attended by representatives from Kadima, Meretz and Labor parties. The discussion lamented the demise of the two-state solution, castigating Jewish "settlers" who live beyond the 1949 Armistice lines ("Green Line"), dumping on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition and promoting the work of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas.
As for transparency, One Voice website muffles, "much of our funding comes from Arab-Americans and Jews. Businessmen in the region..."
Founded by Daniel Lubetsky, president of Peaceworks Foundation in New York, One Voice is dedicated to establishing a Palestinian state on the 1949 lines, including a division of Jerusalem; its position on the "Palestinian right of return" is ambiguous.
One might think that the organization's efforts on behalf of peace would include condemning PA incitement. Asked if the group raised this issue during their meeting with the PA in Ramallah, Howard Sumka, the organization's CEO replied, "We oppose all forms of violence and incitement on both sides."
But how does this translate into a dialogue with Arab leaders?
Asked about a recent anti-Semitic cartoon that appeared in the official PA media, Sumka added: " I am not about to engage in a defense or condemnation of every real or imagined offense of the Palestinians against Israel. No point to that. I am aware of most of the accusations (although I had not seen this cartoon before)."
One Voice's media reps did not reply to queries concerning why the organization did not raise the issue of PA incitement, nor would they explain their position on specific issues of dispute between Israel and the Arabs. MK Hasson, seemingly an enthusiastic supporter of One Voice, refused to answer any questions concerning his involvement with the organization, or its positions.
The moral dilemma of groups like One Voice is that in their desire to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict they ignore the fundamental reason that has prevented peace: Jew-hatred.
PA incitement is clearly documented by PMW and MEMRI, open and officially sanctioned. Pretending that it doesn't exist because one is feted in Ramallah and Gaza might delude one into thinking that peace is possible.
More dangerous, however, is that such gestures by perhaps well-intentioned but naïve or foolish people serve to embolden enemies of the Jewish people and Israel. That Jews hold prominent positions in such organizations is noch besser, further proof to Arabs of the righteousness of their cause.
Articulate, well-financed and festooned with "entertainment" personalities, One Voice can get the attention of some left-wing Israeli politicians, but it seems unwilling to get the PA's attention over the issue of incitement and violence.
An elderly non-Jewish couple from the West Coast that joined One Voice was in Israel for the first time. Asked why they came, they replied, "We are for peace."
"And how will that happen?"
"Ending the occupation."
"Which occupation? The one in 1967, or the one in 1948, called the Nakba (catastrophe) when Israel was established?"
"Huh?" they looked puzzled.
It is complicated.
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem