Skip to comments.American Jews stand by Israel
Posted on 08/05/2006 9:49:20 PM PDT by familyop
The problem with watching a situation like Israels conflict with Hezbollah develop in the news is that it is very much like watching how a sausage is made, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the president of the Israel Project, told The Jewish Standard. Sometimes you see things that make you queasy.Even though Mizrahis Washington, D.C.- based organization is designed to get a pro-Israel P.R. message to the mainstream American and international press, media have been relaying every gory detail of Israels attacks against Lebanon, turning the international community decidedly against Israel.
But despite international criticism over Israels actions in Lebanon over the past four weeks during which hundreds of Lebanese civilians have died the American Jewish community is overwhelmingly united in support of Israels attack on Hezbollah, and that support has manifested itself in a wave of charity, solidarity missions, and rallies for the Jewish state. Also, tens of millions of dollars already have been sent from the American Jewish community to Israel.
"When the Jewish community sees Israel under attack, it responds with great emotion and generosity," said Doron Krakow, the senior vice president for Israel and overseas for the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization for the countrys 155 local Jewish federations. And that the federation system will pool about $50 million by the end of the first month of fighting in Lebanon and plans on mounting a $300 million campaign, shows that the broader Jewish community clearly feels that Israel is facing a legitimate danger, he said.
The Israel Project has been polling the American voting population extensively, according to Mizrahi. And though the polls have not specifically queried the Jewish population, "the American people have rallied heavily toward Israel," she said. "There was a huge spike in support for Israel and a strong dislike for Israels enemies."
Though the 1,000 people polled might not agree with every action that Israel has taken over the past few weeks, she said, they like the potential outcome of eradicating Hezbollah and weakening Iran and Syria.
It is her organizations job to reach out to the 400 international reporters who are usually in Israel, as well as the estimated 500 more who have flocked to the country since the fighting began. Her organization sends out e-mails to 6,000 reporters a day to try to dispel whatever anti-Israel myths other factions might be spreading, and 2,000 of those e-mails are opened each day, she said.
This is all done to give a more even-handed flavor to the way the story is relayed to an American population that generally breaks down into two factions when it comes to war the conservatives, who typically believe that every conflict has a good force and an evil force and that it is the job of the good to eradicate the evil, and the liberals, who believe less in good and evil and hold that any conflict can be resolved through mediation, said Mizrahi.
And while Americans in general seem to be leaning towards Israels side, the distinction between liberal and conservative thinking on this issue has dissolved for Jews. Mizrahi says that, anecdotally, there has been "a real surge in support for Israel, and a real rallying of the troops."
When Israel is not at war with its enemies, the American Jewish community tends to "engage in the luxury of polarizing itself, " reflecting the same divisions in religious and political opinions on Israel that are found in the Israeli population itself, said the Anti-Defamation Leagues national director, Abraham Foxman. And that polarization was best seen recently when Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza strip and parts of the west bank last fall, he said. "But the moment Israel is under attack and in danger, Israel closes ranks," he said. "[Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert has a 95 or 90 percent approval rate [for his actions in Lebanon]. It is un-Israeli, and almost un-Jewish," he joked.
With the exception of a few extremists on either side, there has been a vast outpouring of support from all factions of the Jewish community in terms of rallies, demonstrations, and fund-raising support, he said.
"There is a newfound unity," he said. "American Jews have a lot of differences, but all of a sudden those are subjugated to the greater need."
That appeal to the greater need has manifested itself in a variety of ways, said the UJCs Krakow. In recent weeks his organization has responded to an intense cry from Jewish communities across the country for information about the Lebanese conflict and for speakers who can address those communities, as well as for help with letter-writing campaigns to elected officials. But, he said, "charity is a barometer of how people are really feeling."
The UJC, through local federations and its own donor base, will likely have collected upwards of $50 million for Israel through its Israel Emergency Fund by the time the fourth week of fighting is over, he said. And Wednesday, the UJCs executive board was set to announce that it had set up a $300 million Israel Emergency Campaign.
According to a JTA report, by Tuesday of this week, the American Jewish Committee had raised roughly $950,000, Bnai Brith International had raised $160,000, American Friends of Magen David Adom had raised more than $1 million, averaging about $38,000 in gifts each day from Internet giving alone, and Friends of Israel Defense Forces had raised about $3.5 million.
The Jewish National Fund had raised nearly $3 million by Tuesday, the organizations CEO, Russell Robinson, told the Standard. But the proof of the solidarity that the American Jewish community feels for Israel right now is in the range of the donors, said Robinson.
Some $500,000 has come via Internet donations, which, Robinson says, shows that the JNF is hitting a relatively young donor base. In addition, 970 of the 3,000 donations that the JNF has collected since the fighting began have come from donors who had never given to JNF before, and the $3 million includes only one "major gift" of $25,000.
That money will, in part, go to help Israeli firefighters put out infernos started by Katyusha rockets that have already burned down between 500,000 and one million Israeli trees.
"The amazing thing is that we are finding that the American Jewish communitys connection to Israel is stronger than ever before," he said.
Similarly, Krakow said that the UJC and its affiliates are receiving money not only from its usual donor base but also from "those who dont usually reach out to us."
By the end of the first four weeks of this conflict, he said, the UJC already will have sent more than $50 million to Israel through the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel to help get Israeli children from northern Israel to camps and to provide a range of assistance for those remaining in bomb shelters in the north.
The large campaign, he said, would likely go to help Israel start to recover from the economic damage caused by the conflict. The dollar amount will be computed by the UJC together with JAFI and the Israeli government. The UJC collected and distributed some $350 million to Israel to help it deal with the second Intifada, which started in September of 2000, but the need arising from this conflict will not be able to be assessed until the fighting has stopped, he said.
Locally, the UJA-NNJ already has sent $250,0000 to Israel, $100,000 of which went to help the areas embattled sister city, Nahariya, and $150,000 of which went to the UJC to distribute, according to UJA-NNJ executive vice president Howard Charish. That money was borrowed from the federations reserve fund and will be repaid. But the UJA-NNJ has already collected $120,000 through a mailbox it set up last Thursday. And the federation is launching a campaign to raise $5 million for Israel (see box).
The UJC, which plans to send solidarity missions to Israel every other week as long as the conflict rages, has also been helping communities across the country set up their own missions to Israel. And of the local missions that it had set up before the conflict started, only one scheduled for August has been canceled, he said.
"For some, the need to be engaged with Israel manifests itself in a desire to be there," said Krakow.
And that is why Mel and Phyllis Schinasi of Ridgewood decided last week that this winter they will take their first trip to Israel in more than 30 years. The Schinasis were one of 24 area families who signed on last week to travel to Israel with the UJA Federation of Northern New Jerseys J2J community-wide mission to Israel set for February, according to federation officials. The federations goal was to have 125 families signed on for the trip by the end of July; its long-range goal is to bring hundreds of northern New Jerseyans to Israel next winter. But the Lebanese conflict has helped the federation far surpass that intermediate goal.
"[The conflict] was the trigger," said Mel Schinasi of their decision to sign onto the trip. "We decided that now was the time to get off the fence and sign up."
There has been a tremendous outpouring of local support for Israel from across the Jewish spectrum over the past four weeks, say local rabbis and federation officials.
While the Reform Temple Sholom in River Edge collected $5,000 in two days last week after its Rabbi, Neal Borovitz, sent out an e-mail to the congregations 450 members, Cong. Ahavath Torah in Englewood collected $250,000 in an initial campaign last week. That shul, which raised $1.5 million to help the UJCs Israel Emergency Fund during the first two years of the second intifada more than any other synagogue in the country is now trying to get together a broader campaign that will benefit both the federation and the shuls own Israel interests.
"This community has always been very responsive to what is going on in Israel," said Ahavath Torahs rabbi, Shmuel Goldin, who just returned to the country after a year-long sabbatical in Israel. "What we are doing here is minimal. Fundraising and rallies are our kapporah (atonement) for being here. We need to do what we can. But my wife said to me the other day, We are here [in the United States] for a purpose, and one of those purposes is to not let that connection between Israel and the U.S. rest. We need to keep pushing it forward."
The UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey has started a drive to raise $5 million as part of the United Jewish Communities Israel Emergency Campaign, according to federation officials.
The decision was made last Thursday at a meeting of the federations executive committee, after discussions with the UJC, the umbrella organization for North Americas 155 local federations, said UJA-NNJ president Dan Silna.
The money will be a part of a $250 million to $300 million national UJC campaign that will go to help Israel recover from its conflict in Lebanon, he said.
The money will go to help both rebuild towns in northern Israel that have been hit by Hezbollah rocket attacks, and to help the economy of northern Israel recover once the fighting stops. Short-term, it will help make the lives of Israelis now living in bomb shelters more comfortable, help relocate Israelis from the north, send northern Israeli children to summer camps in central Israel, and help provide medical and psychological care to those affected by rocket attacks.
Though the campaign will begin with a kick-off event in mid-September, after the federation has been able to put in place a professional and lay board to oversee the operation, the UJA-NNJ is already accepting donations, and as of Wednesday had collected some $120,000 through a mailbox that it opened on its Website.
The federation has been active since the conflict in Lebanon started, bringing together some 1,000 people for a rally at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly last Sunday. On Thursday, UJA-NNJ was scheduled to bring Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of kidnapped Israeli soldier, Ehud Goldwasser, to speak at Temple Sholom in River Edge between speaking engagements in New York and Washington, D.C.
"There are going to be building and rebuilding projects. Peoples businesses have been severely impacted," said UJA-NNJ Executive Vice President Howard Charish.
For more information, visit www.ujannj.org or call (201) 488-6800.
This should be good enough to rebut a popular myth.
They will still vote democrat....in mass.
Then stop voting for Democrats!!
But Jews will vote for the democrats who encourage their demise. I don't understand this either.
I heard a quote today from a Jewish journalist who worked for the Washington Post....making light of Jewish voters.... he said "Many Jews make money like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans".....LOL.....
...my apology for the repeat.
What the British Jews think of Israel's war
Runoff poll: If the '08 Republican primary were narrowed down to Tom Tancredo vs Newt Gingrich for president, which would you choose?
|Sit it out|
Definition of islamofascists terrorists:
1. Hates anyone outside there religion, period. will kill anyone outside there religion just for kicks. Ultra Hatred for Jewish and Christian peoples. No tolerance of other peoples religions, period. Will and have committed acts of mass murder.
2. No conscience of killing women, children, older people, those that cannot defend themselves against any acts of islamofascists terrorists. Numerous acts of this is in history and need not be repeated here. As a matter of fact,
islamofascists terrorists hide among the normal civilian populace to conceal their identity and try to give themselves safe harbor while committing their acts of terrorism. islamofascists terrorists Will commit their acts of terrorism from your own back yard of your house(such as setting up and firing rockets from civilian poplace homes and aiming them into another country)to conceal their location and try to give themselves safe harbor from retaliatory action.
3. Any concessions granted to them(islamofascists terrorists) is never enough for them! They always start their demands for whatever it is they want with bloody acts of terrorism. They never ask first, they commit their bloody acts of terrorism then make their demands.
4. Hold out an olive branch of peace to them and they cut your head off! islamofascists terrorists are medeival barbaristic butchers, sick animals that are sub-human, they have no respect for life other than their own and not much of that either! As they are willing to commit suicide, infantacide, patracide to achieve their terrorism.
islamofascists terrorists have no respect for life, period.
5. islamofascists terrorists expect God to reward them for their numerous acts of violence that brings misery and suffering to others including their own brothers and sisters.
6. islamofascists terrorists do not want to make a master race, they want to eliminate the Human Race!
I read that Condi Rice's father patrolled the streets of his neighborhood with his shotgun to protect against racist attacks. Why do the Jews of Seattle have less courage?
(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em Down Hezbullies.)