Strong Jewish leadership: Let Mort Klein show Jeremy Burton how it’s done
Shortly before she left office, Massachusetts state representative Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, a Democrat, used her political platform to defame Israel, accusing the Jewish state of racism and genocide.
“The US must acknowledge that the @Israel administration [sic] is an apartheid run thuggery terrorist regime on a mission to kill Palestinians [sic],” she tweeted on December 29. “Killing and land taking has nothing to do with anti-semitism. It is genocide.”
Accusing Jews of mass murder and apartheid can and has led to physical attacks on Israelis and American Jews who support Israel. Given the surge of Jew-hatred in America, Belsito’s lies constitute a clear and present danger. Both the liar and the lies need to be forcefully exposed. It can be as simple as saying this:
“Rep. Belsito, Gaza’s population in 1970 was about 131,000. Today, it’s a little over a million. Charging the Jews of Israel with ‘genocide’ is an outright lie designed to incite hate. Shame on you!”
But Boston’s Jews don’t have strong leaders, at least among the Boston Jewish establishment organizations. And so it took an import — Morton Klein, head of the ZOA — to set her straight.
Boston’s Lamb vs. the ZOA Lion
Jeremy Burton is head of the New England Jewish Community Relations Council, and should have called out Belsito straightaway as a liar and anti-Semite. Instead, as reported in JNS, he said this:
“We vociferously reject and denounce her comments regarding the state of Israel.” He added that while harsh criticism of “any duly elected government and its policies, or of the ongoing relationship of occupation between Israelis and Palestinians, is legitimate — even when it is painful to hear,” Belsito’s attack crossed the line.
“Characterizing Israel — an American ally and itself the target of an enduring antisemitic campaign of elimination since its founding — as a ‘terrorist regime’ engaging in ‘genocide’ is both unacceptable and repugnant,” Burton said. “In using this language, Rep. Belsito comes dangerously close to invoking antisemitism rather than offering legitimate criticism.”
“Dangerously close?!” To accuse the world’s only Jewish nation of horrendous atrocities it has not committed is not “dangerously close” to anti-Semitism — it is anti-Semitism. “Unacceptable and repugnant” is the best Burton can do? It’s almost as if he were chastising a breach of etiquette. “Tsk, tsk!”
In contrast to Burton’s limp comments, ZOA president Mort Klein called Beslito what she is — a liar. And, unlike Burton, he named and explained the lies.
Mort Klein: “She lies that Israel’s goal is to kill Palestinian Arabs yet ignores the Palestinian regime paying Arabs lifetime pensions to murder Jews,” he said. “She lies that Israel practices apartheid, yet ignores Palestinian leaders saying no Jew will be allowed in a Palestinian State. She lies about Israeli genocide, yet ignores the fact that Israel’s Arab population has increased 10 times since 1948.”
There could be no clearer demonstration of the failing, weak, wimpy leadership Boston-area Jews have had to suffer for decades as anti-Semitism from the left and from Islamists was ignored — out of fear of and to appease our leaders’ chosen “allies.”
While Jew-haters hate Jews, Boston’s “leaders” imply they need to “be nicer,” and not “cross the lines” of polite discussion.
Real leaders, like Mort Klein, show Jews how to fight back as though their lives depended on it.