Judy Moore-Kraichnan on the Lannan Foundation and “Israel bashing”

In the Santa Fe New Mexican November 8, 2015, Posted online November 7, 2015 7:00pm

Reader View: Expect more Israel bashing at Lannan Foundation

By Judy Moore-Kraichnan

Whether the Lannan Foundation’s pro-Palestinian speakers are anti-Semitic is debatable.  However, if the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism includes “blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tension,” then they most certainly are.

I have experienced two such Lannan Foundation events in the past two years:  Omar Barghouti with Amy Goodman on Feb. 1, 2013; and Max Blumenthal, also with Ms. Goodman, on Oct. 10, 2014.  Both presentations were absurdly biased against Israel. They were essentially nonstop vilifications of the Jewish state.  They never acknowledged any culpability or accountability on the part of the Palestinians. Hamas and Hezbollah were never mentioned.

I wish they would read some histories of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, other than those written by Palestinians and their sympathizers. Then we might have a better more balanced and truthful assessment of the situation. Unfortunately, that is not their goal. Their purpose is to demonize Israel and put the entire blame on the Israelis. They simply ignore the most blatantly heinous behavior and speech by the Palestinians and their Arab supporters. This is going on right now in Jerusalem and all over Israel — young Palestinians are running amok, stabbing Jews, and when they are shot while doing so, Israel is accused of using excessive force.

Criticizing Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic. Israelis and Jews outside of Israel do so all the time. In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz listed what constitutes legitimate criticism and what crosses the line. The Lannan speakers are way over the line.

The Palestinians and Arabs have instigated almost every terror attack, intifada and war since 1948, and before. They have said no to every attempt at a two-state solution (with the exception of the Oslo Accords) from the U.N. partition plan of 1947, through Clinton’s peace plan and the offers of Israel Prime Ministers Ehud Barack, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu. It should be clear by now that what they want is a one-state solution: Palestine — which, according to Mahmoud Abbas, would be “Judenrein.”

Amy Goodman promised a healthy dialogue. There was none whatsoever. No questions from the audience were taken. Every snide negative remark or accusation against Israel was met with hoots and hearty applause from the audience. My friend and I were completely appalled. Ludicrous statements were made. Barghouti informed us that according to a recent poll, Israel was voted the third worst country in the world. Blumenthal opined that, “Israel and ISIS were two sides of the same coin.” These spurious statements are completely gratuitous and come across as rabble rousing.

According to Lannan’s roster for this year, it looks like we’ll be treated to more of the same banal Israel-bashing — twice. Richard Falk will be speaking on Dec. 2. Falk’s record at the United Nations is notorious for being outrageously anti-Israel, and even pro-Hamas. Juan Cole and Phyllis Bennis, scheduled for April 6, are excessively critical of Israel. This is the last thing we need, considering what is going on now in Israel. Would it be possible for the Lannan Foundation to bring two speakers, representing both sides of this issue, to debate and present a much more balanced picture of the situation in Israel? It is not so black and white as the extremes on both sides portray.

Judy Moore-Kraichnan is an artist and photographer living in Santa Fe since 1992. She has visited Israel often since 1987 and worked on photo projects there, mostly in Jerusalem.