Tidbits From Israel
By Ron Jager
Much has been said about the Europeans’ latest decision to boycott Jews. What most of us don’t know is that the decision to boycott affects much larger regions beyond just Judea and Samaria and includes, in addition, the following areas: the eastern, western, northern, and southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem; the whole Ramat HaGolan; the whole Jordan Valley; and parts of the Dead Sea. The fact that all of these areas have been awarded Israeli sovereignty and are considered an integral part of Israel means nothing to the Europeans. It’s been less than 70 years since the last time the Europeans forced Jews to be publicly labeled so that they could be differentiated from the rest of humanity, and it seems as if they have no qualms or regrets doing it again.
The European Union’s decision to bind the 28 European Union member nations to label Jewish goods and services, and even academic research proposals from institutions and factories that have their offices or manufacturing facilities in Judea and Samaria, is relatively recent yet no different than the “gentleman’s agreement” that has been voluntarily adopted and implemented by the New York Federation for many years. The New York Federation does not cross the Green Line (known by many as the 1967 borders) unless of course it’s to assist Palestinian Arabs, meaning that Jews who can benefit from the many programs that are funded and provided by the New York Federation for the citizens of Israel are effectively barred if they reside in Judea and Samaria.
Jews living beyond the Green Line have been voluntarily boycotted by the New York Federation despite the fact that there is no legal prohibition to support organizations or communities located in these areas not only according to Israeli law but also in accordance with American tax law. Any American dollar donated is fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. This has not stopped the New York Federation from voluntarily boycotting 700,000 Jews, joining the Europeans and the many enemies of Israel who have been behind the boycott movements throughout the world.
The most blatant example of this voluntary boycott by the New York Federation has to do with the victims of terror. The community of Itamar, located adjacent to the city of Shechem in Judea and Samaria, has had no fewer than 22 of its residents murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists. They have the highest terror murder rate of any community in Judea and Samaria, in Israel, and probably in the world–the Fogel family massacre being the latest tragedy that this community has endured. They would be the ideal community to benefit from trauma interventions at all levels–community, family, individual, and children–but essentially they have been untouched and boycotted by the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), an organization that was wholly established by the New York Federation, funded entirely by Federation donations, and operated according to Federation guidelines. The local Regional Council has helped with their limited resources, the very opposite of all other communities within the Green Line that have received generous trauma assistance from the New York Federation.
Judea and Samaria as a whole is the home of over 100 terror orphans. The New York Federation has invested tens of millions of dollars in trauma resiliency programs and trauma treatment programs in Israel, and not one cent of direct funding has crossed the Green Line to assist these very special children. Despite the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria being on the front lines on the “War on Terror,” the New York Federation would prefer to use funding to give exposure to those that support boycott movements and the dismantling of the State of Israel rather than fund programs such as therapeutic horseback riding and music and art therapy for these children who have experienced and in many cases have witnessed the deaths of their parents and siblings. If New York Federation-funded agencies can so blatantly boycott children who have lost their parents and siblings to terror, why should we be so surprised when the Europeans adopt a similar policy of boycotting Jews?
Israel should and must respond to those that boycott Jews, and expel the EU from the so-called peace process. Israel should declare that the European Union and all its member states will no longer be considered honest brokers, and no Israeli official will meet with them on any issue related to the peace process. Furthermore, any European state wishing to be included in the peace process must sign a statement that the territories of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights are in dispute and their fate will be determined through direct negotiations. It must also commit to disregarding the EU directive regarding those same territories. The Europeans should also be reminded that Israel is an important trade partner with Europe, and is its third largest trade partner in the region, and that a retaliatory trade war and boycott would hurt the already failing European economy.
As for the New York Federation, their hypocrisy and misguided budgetary priorities must be exposed for what they are, and they must be held publicly accountable to those that support and donate to the Federation system. Implementing guidelines that are racist and discriminatory in nature are in violation of the law in America as well as in Israel. Israel must make it clear that as long as NGOs such as the New York Federation continue their voluntary policy of boycotting Jewish communities and organizations in Judea and Samaria, they risk legal action that could culminate in curtailment of their activities in Israel, restrict their access to Israeli government officials, and have their entry into the Knesset forbidden.
All it takes is a firm conviction on our part. v
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ronjager.com.