Brian Lurie Takes Aim at Occupation

New Israel Fund Chief Admits Being 'Rebel' at Heart

Rebel With a Cause: Rabbi Brian Lurie says the New Israel Fund is anchored in Jewish values.
haaretz
Rebel With a Cause: Rabbi Brian Lurie says the New Israel Fund is anchored in Jewish values.

By Chemi Shalev (Haaretz)

Published August 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 8)

New Israel Fund CEO Daniel J. Sokatch sits on the Task Force’s executive committee, together with well-known Jewish leaders such as the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ Malcolm Hoenlein.

When I asked Hoenlein about his participation, he said “Brian promised me that the Task Force would not in any way serve a political agenda, and he has kept his word.”

Says Lurie: “For me, the simple proof test of how you have a Jewish state is how you treat your minority. Every Jew in every Diaspora community has said, at one time or another: We want to be equal. That’s our history of 2,000 years. And now that we have a state, we don’t do the same thing? I know that Israel is a Jewish state and that there are certain limitations, but the situation can be far better than it is right now. The Middle East is our neighborhood. We’ve got to live with Arabs, and we’ve got to start at home.”

But you know that the complaints about NIF-funded organizations such as Adalah [the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel] are not about their work for improving the conditions of Israeli Arabs, but about the fact that they support organizations such as BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions ) or participate in forums that describe Israel as an “apartheid state.”

Lurie: “Excuse me? Support BDS? I even got NGO Monitor to back off of that. If you sat down with [Adalah founder and general director] Hassan Jabareen, he would tell you: ‘We do not support BDS. Period.’ And 98 percent of what Hassan does is work on trying to make Israeli Arabs equal. That’s the energy of the organization. Now let’s say the 2 percent or the 5 percent that you are now talking about is problematic for me. I’m not going to say it’s a black or white situation. But I have assurances from Jabareen, not only on BDS but even on Israel being ‘a state for all its citizens’ - which is something you do hear from them. Even on that he said: ‘I’m not going to push on it.’ Although I must say that I honestly can’t blame any Israeli Arab for endorsing ‘a state for all its citizens.’ I can’t fault them. I would tell them that I believe that Israel has to be a Jewish state, but I respect them, just like I understand a Supreme Court Justice who does not sing ‘Hatikva.’”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.