Some inside the Jewish world have asked why a group of 14 young activists affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace chose to disrupt Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans. Five of these young Jews stood up during Netanyahu’s G.A. address to unfurl banners and chant “The occupation delegitimizes Israel” and “The loyalty oath delegitimizes Israel.”
When I was a teenager, the late Phil Ochs was a folk-singing hero of mine. In his classic song, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal,” he skewered armchair liberals who talked a good game, but wouldn’t go as far as their more radical comrades. This attitude, of course, appealed to many in my generation as we took to the streets and demonstrated for civil rights, against the Vietnam War and to free Soviet Jews.
J Street often likes to portray itself as the innocent victim of Jewish communal persecution. But this should not camouflage its self-serving role in kicking up the media circus that erupted recently when its president was barred from speaking at a suburban Boston synagogue.