Welcome to the official newsletter of ZOA's Fuel For Truth: ReFuel. On the first Tuesday of each month, be sure to check your inbox for the latest edition. To provide feedback or suggestions, please reach out to Tali Snow Schwartz, [email protected]
ReConnect: Announcements & Events
COME ONE, COME ALL, BRING A GUEST, AND PARTY FOR TRUTH!
Monarch Rooftop Bar, NYC | Thursday, January 25 | 7:30 - 10:30 PM
APPLY TO BOOT CAMPWe are now accepting applications for our March NYC Boot Camp and there's 1 WEEK LEFT to apply to our inaugural Boston Boot Camp, which begins January 30. Spread the word to your friends and family and let them know there's no better place to learn how to talk about Israel and be part of an awesome, diverse community. Click here to learn more and apply.
ReCap: December 2017
Mazal Tov to the newest FFT-NYC Boot Camp Graduates!
In the wake of the December 20, 2017, UN General Assembly vote on the US Embassy relocating to Jerusalem, FFT-DC Executive Director Daniel Flesh, in The Algemeiner, recommends reducing US funding to the UN as a potential US response. Find his article here.
Over 70 people attended FFT-DC’s inaugural L'Chaim Ball where FFT members and friends schmoozed, partied, and danced the night away.
ReTold: Daniel Brooks' Story
Anti-Semitism: Where’s the Conversation?
On Tuesday, November 28, the New School held a panel discussion titled “anti-Semitism and the Struggle for Justice”. A few friends and I attended to witness this public relations stunt. With the help of these friends, I also protested this charade inside the auditorium by distributing flyers throughout the event.
I’m a progressive and a Zionist. For years, the attempted mainstreaming of anti-Zionism has increasingly disturbed me. In that way, this event wasn’t uniquely bothersome. What compelled me to protest this one was its staging of speakers concerned about the anti-Semitism they actually help fuel. These speakers were posing as guardians of a Jewish community they famously detest. I was genuinely concerned that well-meaning people who didn’t know the issue would be confused, taken in by slogans, and exposed to a false narrative without a response.
Every one of the six speakers was an anti-Zionist. There were no other voices, so I wanted the audience to know what Zionism is, that most Jews are Zionist, and understand the difference between constructive criticism of Israel and actual anti-Zionism, which is the advocacy for Israel’s demise. I stated that when anti-Zionists accuse millions of Israeli Jews and their millions of Jewish supporters of racism and apartheid, Jews are increasingly hated, targeted and attacked. I restated the panelists’ past Jew baiting remarks and actions, and called for anti-Zionists to end their boycott and public mockery of Zionists and engage in a long overdue conversation.
The event described itself as “a discussion of how to combat Anti-Semitism today.” Their answer was provided early on: be an anti-Zionist! Panelist Lina Morales said, it’s “because I love the Jewish people so much that I hate Zionism…with a passion!” It’s bizarre that the movement for Jewish liberation, the source of pride and empowerment for millions of Jews, is hated with a passion by someone ostensibly concerned with Jewish welfare. “Safety for Jews is rooted in connection and solidarity,” according to panelist and Jewish Voice for Peace Director Rebecca Vilkomerson. While alliances and solidarity are important, Jews have learned the hard way that their security shouldn’t rest with other groups, with different priorities.
If you follow the problem of anti-Semitism, you’re likely aware of the disturbing trends: last year’s FBI Hate Crimes Report listed Jews as the country’s most targeted religious group. On college campuses, Jews are harassed by student mobs, which also make sure to shut down their Israel events. Jews in Europe are assaulted in the streets, and fleeing in record numbers. The world’s largest Jewish community – Israel – is under constant physical and ideological assault.
Anti-Zionism is a driver of these hate crimes against Jews, which explains why the anti-Zionist panelists specifically avoided acknowledging them. Instead, Morales made the absurd claim that “anti-Semitism is at a low point now, but it could always come back.” None of the panelists talked about how anti-Semitism actually manifests – outside Charlottesville and Trump’s associations and tweets. The notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan was mentioned (since panelist Linda Sarsour has praised him) only to dismiss his relevance. “His hatred doesn’t endanger Jews,” Morales falsely assured us.
Actual Jewish people and their very real experiences were not in evidence on the panel, with the exception of anti-Zionist Jews. According to the panelists, the only Jews targeted with hate these days are anti-Israel Jews. The idea that critics of Israel can’t seem to get a public hearing without being branded anti-Semites is not rooted in reality. Daily articles report all sorts of accusations against Israel, barely any of them researched. Op-eds critical of Israel far outnumber those critical of the Palestinians. This criticism against Israel is responded to with ... Don't miss the rest! Click to read more and see Dan's handouts...
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Take a deep breath. In advocacy, we have a biological flight or fight response when we hear something that offends us, especially when it’s a conversation about something as existentially important as Israel.
Ron's Book Selection
The Case for Israel
by Alan Dershowitz
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz's detailed and penetrating analysis of the issues that fuel the continuing war in Israel should be read by everyone interested in reaching a fair conclusion as to how the tragic conflict should be ended.
Every charge leveled by Israel's opponents is dealt with lucidly and convincingly by one of the nation's brightest legal minds and most effective advocates. This is not a defense of every Israeli policy or action, but of its basic right to exist, to protect its citizens from terrorism, and to defend its borders from hostile enemies.
What to Watch
With remarkable access, award-winning Israeli filmmaker, Shimon Dotan traces the history of Israeli settlements in the West Bank since Israel’s decisive victory in the 1967 Six Day War.
While government leaders and the Israeli public initially saw the military victory as an opportunity for a negotiated peace, Jewish religious zealots saw it as a divine calling to redeem the Biblical land of Israel. Dotan embarks upon the most comprehensive retelling to date, employing little-seen archival footage, candid comments by security officials, uncensored interviews with the pioneers and a diverse range of modern-day settlers, religious and secular alike, to weave a provocative web that entangles the destinies of Israel and the Palestinian people.
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