The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has accused Jewish critics of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress of repeating the mistakes of the Nazi era.
In a statement Monday night, the ZOA said Anti-Defamation League (ADL) leader Abe Foxman and Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) president Rick Jacobs were like those who tried to stop Jews from warning Congress about the Holocaust in the 1940s.
“The most prominent Jewish leader of the WW II era, Reform Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and his ilk urged the Roosevelt administration and Congress not to listen to brave Jewish leaders such as distinguished screenwriter Ben Hecht and Irgun leader Peter Bergson (a/k/a Hillel Kook) and their Bergson group, who were trying to publicize and stop the Nazi massacres of European Jews,” the ZOA said.
The ZOA was reacting to efforts by Foxman and Jacobs to urge Netanyahu to cancel or postpone his speech. Twelve Democrats in the House, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have said they will skip the Mar. 3 speech, as will Vice President Joe Biden. By comparison, no Democrats are skipping an address by Pope Francis in September, though it was also arranged independently from the White House.
Noting that the danger of a nuclear Iran to Israel is like the threat of Nazi Germany to Jews, the ZOA excoriated Foxman and Jacobs: “This is such an urgent and life-threatening issue–to both Israel and America–that every Jewish leader should be urging all members of Congress to attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech. Instead, Foxman and Jacobs are pressuring Netanyahu to cancel his speech.”
Meanwhile, J Street, a left-wing group that acts as President Barack Obama’s “blocking back” in Congress, has urged followers to protest that “Bibi doesn’t speak for me.”
— Jeremy Ben-Ami (@JeremyBenAmi) February 9, 2015
In 2010, J Street notoriously arranged meetings between members of Congress and the UN’s Richard Goldstone, who accused Israel of war crimes during the Gaza conflict of 2008-9. Goldstone later retracted the charges.
“It is intolerable that leaders such as the ADL’s Foxman and URJ’s Jacobs have not learned from history,” the ZOA stated Monday.
ZOA President Morton Klein added:
We cannot afford to again act like the Jewish leaders of the 1930’s-1940s who opposed life-saving efforts to save their European brothers and sisters from extermination. The ZOA begs fellow Jewish leaders to join with the ZOA in a unified effort to support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address before Congress, and to support ensuing efforts to impose sanctions and all other necessary steps to stop the existential threat to Israel, America, and the entire world posed by Iranian nuclear weapons.
The ZOA is the country’s oldest pro-Israel organization, dating to 1897, though it has since been overshadowed by larger pro-Israel organizations.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak