The Reverend Martin Luther King was a Zionist
When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, You are talking anti-Semitism”
More exact words were never said, and they were spoken by the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
However, the quote didn’t come from a letter, as long believed, but were spoken by him.
Martin Luther King Jr. whose life and dream we celebrate today, was a great leader for civil rights. Unlike today’s “Civil Rights” leaders who seek divisiveness and handouts, Dr. King dream was a post-racial society where people were judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.
Also unlike most “Civil Rights” leaders today, Dr. King was a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. In recognition of MLK day many Jews will post a letter supposedly penned by Martin Luther King called “Letter to a Zionist Friend,” but the story of the letter is a hoax.
During his lifetime King witnessed the birth of Israel and the continuing struggle to build a nation. He consistently reiterated his stand on the Israel- Arab conflict, stating “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable.” It was no accident that King emphasized “security” in his statements on the Middle East.
The most famous line from the letter “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking Antisemitism,” was uttered by Dr. King, just not in any letter. Over the next day or two, you will read various posts containing the letter— most of the text does not include the words of the great Civil Rights Leader. The good news is, however, is it does contain his sentiments.
On this Martin Luther King Day, the future of African-American and Jewish relations hangs in the balance.
The explosive controversy around National Women’s March leaders like Tamika Mallory refusing to apologize for their love of Louis Farrakhan — or to affirm Israel’s right to exist — is disturbing enough. But The New York Times’ decision to feature Michelle Alexander’s op-ed, “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine,” signals the opening of a new line of attack against our community.
Michelle Alexander has superstar credentials. She taught the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court. Today, she teaches “social justice” at Union Theological Seminary. Her 2010 bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, argues persuasively that the post-1960s “war on drugs” cemented African-American males’ status deep in the new underclass, a condition of racial inferiority reminiscent of the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow era. But she implies that much of our current racial crisis is the result of white racists — and immoral white liberal politicians in league with them. During 2016, she urged African-Americans and white progressives not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
James Foreman, Jr., son of a civil rights icon and himself a Yale Law professor, just won a Pulitzer Prize for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. His central thesis in may ways reinforces Alexander’s argument — as he has acknowledged. Yet Foreman has criticized Alexander for downplaying the role of exploding black violent crime during the 1960s and 1970s in creating a political crisis over drugs, for flirting with the idea of an alleged white-racist political conspiracy when many African Americans also supported a harsh crackdown on crime, and for inflaming black-white polarization at a time when cross-race and cross-class alliances are needed for prison reform.
In her New York Times broadside, Alexander paints a picture of Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories as the greatest human rights crime of our time. There is no mention of Arab armies repeatedly invading Israel, of Palestinian terrorism, of the corrupt Palestinian Authority’s refusal to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution, or of the genocidal Hamas. Worst of all is her shameless revision of Martin Luther King’s history to re-imagine him as a late-blooming critic of Israel.
King was a man of peace and a humanitarian, sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. But he knew — from first to last — the difference between right and wrong in the Middle East.
The American Zionist Movement commemorated Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., noting his support for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, on the national holiday named in his honor.
“Dr. King…is famously remembered for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, delivered at a moment and in a place where not only the country, but the world heard his message and joined in his commitment to build a better life,” the organization’s statement released Monday read. “Theodor Herzl, the founder of our modern Zionist movement in 1897 was also a dreamer who famously proclaimed, ‘If you will it, it is no dream.'”
King was a supporter of Israel during the Six-Day War, and vociferously condemned antisemitism. The statement from the AZM included King’s statements in support of the Jews.
“I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews, because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all,” King said.
“Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity,” King said. “I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy.”
“Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality,” King said.
You don’t seem to need the encouragement, but now that my birthday has come around again, so has a boost in the apparent drive you have for taking my words and shoehorning them into your ideological box. Yay.
My entire ethos revolved around achieving equality for all Americans, regardless of ethnicity. The non-violent protest movement I had the privilege to lead resulted in a moral credibility that even today, more than forty years after I was murdered, people want to invoke. Even if my views on their pet issue prove the polar opposite of theirs. Such an honor.
Take “Palestine.” I made it plain on multiple occasions that hatred for Israel serves as a poor mask for hatred of Jews. But that doesn’t stop self-proclaimed human-rights activists or New York Times op-ed columnists from pretending I’d change my pro-Israel stance if only I knew the truth. I know the truth, folks, and the truth is that giving credence to unceasing slander of Israel as if it commits some unique evil and therefore deserves unique, existential opposition, stands against everything for which I fought and bled. I should not need to spell this out.
I had this dream once – you may have heard me describe it, or read a transcript of the description. You know, the one about wanting people to be judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. To have it bandied about in support of identity politics or intersectionality constitutes a grievous insult, but another truth is that the people doing the bandying about don’t really care for truth, or my aims. They just want to score political or rhetorical points, and, well, citing Dr. King will give you quite the cudgel. So what if he wouldn’t agree with you or your goals? A mere technicality. The same attitude had anti-abolitionists quoting Scripture to defend the institution of slavery.
IsraellyCool: That Time Marvel Dealt With Arab Discrimination of Jews
As a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this comic strip – apparently from Marvel Superhero’s Contest of Champions (1982) – puts a smile on my face.
Or perhaps it is a grimace. Either way, it just goes to show how things have not changed much in 37 years.
But there was an optimistic ending: according to a thread on Reddit, he later saved her from falling with his flying carpet and they fought side by side.
Meanwhile, Marvel need to make a Sabra movie, starring Gal Gadot!
With the graves of the Holocaust victims still fresh, Joseph Stalin embarked on his own campaign to complete Hitler’s final solution. But unlike the Nazi approach with clear-stated goals and loud bravado, the Soviets preferred the path of concealment with the vocal support of the “useful idiots” abroad. The survivors were being accused of undermining the Soviet state and culture. A number of Jewish doctors were “discovered” to be part of the “Doctors’ Plot” scheming to poison the Soviet leadership – including Comrade Stalin himself. Everything was done in the name of the Holocaust victims and the fight against the omnipresent fascism and its imperialist friends. Those events rehabilitated antisemitism and infected the West with the new ideological virus causing otherwise high-minded humans to love the dead Jews – but hate the living ones. They infected the United Nations, the body created to prevent future genocides, to become an institution that has produced, in a little over a half a century of its existence, more antisemitic “edicts” than perhaps did the Church during the Middle Ages.
That fig leaf allowed every intelligent antisemite to claim complete innocence. One may declare Israel to be an illegitimate state, Zionism to be a racist ideology, Judaism a parasitic religion, Jews themselves to both run capitalism and ferment revolutions and not be accused of antisemitism because of one’s respect for the Holocaust victims. One is hard-pressed to find a single antisemite not in love with dead Jews. Even most Holocaust deniers don’t deny the event itself, but try to be skeptical about the actual number of the dead.
This charade, in itself a fascinating circus act, would be enough of a spectacle if not for the most recent innovation by its practitioners. Linda Sarsour and her comrades realized to their own surprise and astonishment, one does not have to restrict one’s love only to the dead Jews of the Holocaust: other dead Jews are as good. On the contrary, the fresher the graves the bigger the impact. Now, thanks to the leaked conversation of the Women’s March organizers, even the most naive and stupid know their true feeling towards the living Jews, but their love for the dead ones and ones in grief is unparalleled. However, every massacre, every cemetery vandalism generates so much determination and generosity of soul one may think Linda and her friends are standing in front of the gates of the Warsaw ghetto.
This intellectual necrophilia is indeed a new addition to the arsenal of the antisemites. It is a huge achievement, given the long history of antisemitism at the time when we all thought the field is well explored and everything has been said and done. Last year Professor Steven J. Zipperstein published a monumental book, Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History. It tells a story of the horrendous atrocity, Jewish helplessness and the beginning of Jewish self-respect. Sadly, based on the American Jewish reaction to Linda Sarsour and her partai genossen (party comrades), the Jews still, as a hundred years ago, love to be the victims.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without hearing that Israel is on the fast track to fascism. Government bills, political statements and any (real or imagined) displays of racism are promptly condemned as “fascist” and presented as further proof of the country’s accelerated political and social deterioration. However, these prophecies of doom mostly reflect the ignorance and superficiality characterizing Israel’s cliché-riven and agenda-driven public discourse.
The rise of fascism in the 20th century took place amid abnormal and extreme circumstances. A traumatized Europe was facing severe economic and social strains in the wake of World War I, as well as the menace of a Bolshevik Revolution that threatened to spread across the continent. In these chaotic times, especially in fragile democracies much younger than current-day Israel, violent ultra-nationalist movements emerged as a counterweight to the threats of Bolshevism and social disintegration.
Yet the conditions in Israel today are utterly different from these realities; none of the ailments that heralded the advent of fascist movements are present here at this time. One wonders why and how fascism would flourish in a country whose circumstances are so incommensurate with the familiar “fascist model.”
Moreover, while a consensual definition of fascism has proven elusive, most historians agree that it is characterized by a wide array of radical hallmarks that are not “fascist” in and of themselves. After all, ultra-nationalism, political violence and militarism have been present throughout history in contexts that were not fascist at all. Yet in Israel it is customary to excitedly point to any one hallmark or specific incident and attribute it to “fascism” without considering the bigger picture or placing it into any reasonable context.
Consider militarism, which has declined steadily in Israel in recent decades. Enlistment for military service is down and army generals once treated as godlike heroes are now often condemned by both Right and Left. The defense budget’s share of GDP has shrunk dramatically over time, and military expansionism has been curbed. While the IDF has boosted its hold in the West Bank and Golan Heights, it has withdrawn from the Sinai, Gaza and south Lebanon. It is ironic that the Israel of yesteryear, which “anti-fascists” often long for, was considerably more militaristic and aggressive than current-day Israel.
The national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, is criticizing The New York Times for publishing, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a column endorsing a boycott of Israeli banks.
Foxman tweeted Sunday morning, “NYT when will you stop being so biasedly obsessed with Israel? Today even to the extent of abusing the memory of MLK — an American icon who understood and condemned anti-Semitism and valued the Jewish State. How sad!”
The Times article is by one of the newspaper’s regular op-ed page columnists, Michelle Alexander. It appears on the front page of the newspaper’s Sunday Review section, jumping to nearly a full page inside the section.
The column also drew a denunciation from the American Jewish Committee, which called it “shameful.”
A detailed rebuttal of the Alexander column was published Sunday morning by The Algemeiner, reporting that the Times columnist “seems totally unfamiliar with the reality of Israel.” Although “she concedes that ‘while criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, it can slide there.’ … She seems not even the slightest bit aware that her own column is a demonstration of precisely that phenomenon,” The Algemeiner column said.
There are plenty of successful veteran Israeli Arab journalists who would likely share their warts-and-all insights on maintaining a balance between their professional life and personal identities. A who’s who of Israeli Arab journalists would include personalities such as
Lucy Aharish — the first Arab Muslim news presenter on mainstream Hebrew-language Israeli TV.
Ali Waked — head of i24 News’ Arabic division.
Zouheir Bahloul — longtime sports journalist and recently retired Knesset member.
Khaled Abu Toameh — The Jerusalem Post’s Palestinian affairs correspondent.
Ayman Sikseck — Haaretz columnist whose short stories, poems, and literary criticism have raised his profile.
Shibel Karmi Mansour — Druze news anchor on TV and radio.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Instead, Berger’s window into Israeli Arab journalism is provided primarily by Majd Daniel, Ameer Khatib, and Rafaat Abu Aish — a trio of obscure twenty-something freelancers living in Israel. (Unlike regular journalists who are directly employed by a news service and receive a regular salary, freelancers are their own bosses and are paid on an hourly or daily basis.)
These three haven’t been around long enough to have a broader view of the Israeli Arab media landscape. Thus, we’re treated to chestnuts like this:
“I cannot be a Palestinian journalist in a medium that broadcasts the news in this way,” he says, declining to go into specifics. “When I left i24News I was looking for a medium that’s talking like me, that has the same point of view, an agenda that I agree with basically.”
Blurring the differences between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians doesn’t serve anyone’s interests, especially when writing for foreign audiences. People seeing the Columbia headline declaring that “Palestinian citizens of Israel struggle to tell their stories” will assume that this is another story about “occupation.”
People who support Farrakhan because of the alleged good he does for the Black community and despite his overt anti-Semitism are complicit in bigotry, and those who march under the banner of such bigots are only one degree removed from such complicity.
There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism by the left and right alike, just as there must be zero tolerance for other forms of bigotry. Everyone must pass “the shoe on the other foot test.” If you would not march with leaders who declared David Duke to be “the Greatest of All Time” so, too, you must not march with leaders who declare Farrakhan to be “the GOAT.”
Farrakhan is far more dangerous than Duke precisely because his anti-Semitism is given a pass not only by the hard left, but also by several African American members of Congress and even two former presidents. Would President Clinton have remained at a memorial service if one of those on the stage had been David Duke? Of course not. He would have marched out in protest. Yet he remained on the stage at Aretha Franklin’s memorial service, sitting only a couple of seats away from Farrakhan, a man who believes he can have a successful career founded on racism, slander and hate. Years earlier, former President Barack Obama posed with Farrakhan and participated in his Million Man March. Would he have done those things with white bigots?
So, shame on those women — both Jews and non-Jews — who displayed tolerance for anti-Semitism by marching under the banner of leaders who support the dangerous and influential anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan. None of their rationalizations or excuses justify their complicity with the very racism they claim to reject.
Bari Weiss (NYTs) Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis
Those who call themselves anti-Zionists usually insist they are not anti-Semites. But I struggle to see what else to call an ideology that seeks to eradicate only one state in the world — the one that happens to be the Jewish one — while empathetically insisting on the rights of self-determination for every other minority. Israeli Jews, descended in equal parts from people displaced from Europe and the Islamic world, are barely 6.5 million of the world’s 7.7 billion people. What is it about them, exactly, that puts them beyond the pale?
During that interview with CNN, Ms. Omar also tried to defend another of her controversial tweets, this one from last Tuesday, suggesting that Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, was being blackmailed. Many people read this as an insinuation that he is gay and closeted, and someone was threatening to out him. Her evidence? She had none. But it was in keeping with her predilection for making accusations based on nothing more than prejudiced stereotypes.
Democrats may want to believe that such conspiracy thinking is the domain of the Republican Party. But Ms. Omar’s comments are proof that no party has a monopoly on speciousness.
The particular challenge in the case of Ms. Omar is that she is exactly the kind of politician a vast majority of American Jews, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and who have long aligned themselves with liberal causes, want to celebrate: Here is a refugee, a mother, a Muslim and a woman of color — the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in Congress. It’s no wonder she has already landed on the cover of Time magazine and in front of Annie Leibowitz’s camera. Who wouldn’t want to cheer her on?
Indeed, her identity seems to have fogged the minds of some Jewish commentators, who have insisted that we ought not to criticize Ms. Omar and other people of color who have recently exposed their anti-Semitism (Tamika Mallory, Marc Lamont Hill) because, well, its just not a good look to be criticizing leaders of the black community right now.
This is an untenable position, especially in a moment when the F.B.I. is sounding the alarm about the spike in hate crimes against Jews. Ms. Omar now sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she’ll represent a growing intellectual climate that sees Jews as bearers both of monstrous moral guilt and of the secret power to conceal it. It may be more difficult to call out those who ought to be our friends and political allies, but alas for the Jews, not all anti-Semites carry tiki torches.
The Women’s March is prioritizing efforts to fight legislation that would curb boycotts of Israel, a policy paper laying out the group’s agenda released this weekend shows.
The organization has positioned itself as a powerful grassroots counterbalance to Trump administration policies, but has been roiled by accusations of rampant anti-Semitism among the group’s leadership, leading to a smaller than previous turnout to an annual protest march Sunday.
On Friday, the group released a 71-page document detailing its policy agenda for the first time, including 13 broad goals ranging from ending violence on women to migrants rights to healthcare.
One section, titled Civil Rights and Liberties, includes fighting state laws that, in one form or another, prohibit participation in Israel boycotts, as well as attempts to pass similar legislation at the national level.
Code Pink, the women’s anti-war group that is active in the anti-Israel boycott campaign, recently announced on its website an obscure “Peace Delegation” to the Islamic Republic of Iran that is taking place January 10 to 18. The group claims that the purpose of their visit is to “move our two nations from a place of hostility and military threats to a place of mutual respect and peace with one another.”
To draw a moral equivalence between Iran, a brutal theocracy, and the United States, a Western democracy, is of course absurd. Peace is not illusive because of a lack of mutual respect, but rather a direct consequence of Iran’s blatant disregard for regional and international peace and security.
But even more absurd is the itinerary of Code Pink’s trip. From a feminist enterprise with a focus on human rights, one would expect meetings scheduled with local women’s rights organizations, activists and free thinkers, civil libertarians and opposition figures, or even political prisoners. In a disgraceful betrayal of their own principles, at the top of Code Pink’s agenda are meetings with “representatives of the Foreign Ministry and Parliament” – that is to say, officials from the mullah theocracy.
This is the same regime that is complicit in the mass murder of innocent civilians in Syria and planned terrorist attacks on European soil. These are the tyrants that sponsor war in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. A regime that threatens to wipe Israel off the map and enlists child soldiers in Yemen.
“Wait,” I can hear Code Pink say, “but we are also meeting with professors and their students.” But who has selected these individuals? The same officials who decide who lives or dies in Iran, who control which candidates run in elections, and who bar ethnic and religious minorities from powerful government positions.
— Jerusalem Dateline (@JlemDateline) January 18, 2019
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he took advice on dealing with conservatives from a far-right figure, who tweets extensively about Jews, complaining that they are “over-represented,” peddling “Jewish supremacy,” and occasionally praising them.
Dorsey acknowledged to the Huffington Post on Friday that he took advice from a figure known both as Ali Alexander and Ali Akbar. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Dorsey delayed the removal of provocateur and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from Twitter on the advice of Akbar.
“I don’t act on all of his comments,” Dorsey said of Akbar after the interviewer, Ashley Feinberg, read him a number of tweets by Akbar focusing on Jews. “I listen, and I think that’s the most important thing. I was introduced to him by a friend, and you know, he’s got interesting points. I don’t obviously agree with most. But, I think the perspective is interesting.”
Akbar, on Twitter, frequently asks contentious interlocutors whether they are Jewish, and points out the Jewishness of figures whom he derides, like Bill Kristol, a conservative critic of President Donald Trump, and CNN anchor Jake Tapper. He tries to end arguments by accusing interlocutors of favoring “Jewish supremacy,” and has said that Jews are “overrepresented” in the “liberal racist media and Hollywood.” He also has praised Jews and Jewish practices, including Yom Kippur.
Long-time readers may recall that five years ago both BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ covered a story that was portrayed by the then ‘Newsnight’ presenter Jeremy Paxman as a ‘free speech’ issue:
“Now a French comedian has managed to short-circuit his country’s professed commitment to free speech. President Francois Holland, with support from both Right and Left, today encouraged local authorities to ban performances by Dieudonné M’bala-M’bala – usually known just as “Dieudonné”. It’s being done on grounds of public order because his alleged antisemitism has tested to destruction Voltaire’s supposed belief that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ “
That ‘Newsnight’ report included an interview with a man introduced by Paxman as “the French writer and film-maker Alain Soral” and “a close friend of Monsieur Dieudonné” who “helped him popularise the infamous quenelle gesture”. BBC audiences were told nothing of Soral’s far-Right affiliations and record of antisemitism before they heard him whitewashing the antisemitism of his “close friend” by means of antisemitic conspiracy theories.
In April 2017 Soral was featured in an article about the French elections on the BBC News website with readers told that “what makes him so controversial are the anti-Semitic views he is accused of peddling – under the guise of “anti-Zionism” – on his hugely successful website” and that:
“…on one issue Alain Soral undoubtedly has a point: speech is being policed with increasing zeal in France.”
Last week the man the BBC found it appropriate to interview on the subject of antisemitism was sentenced to a year in prison.
The Anti-Defamation League is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator of an alleged assault on a Jewish woman in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood on Friday — the latest in series of such incidents in which Jews have been targeted in the area.
The woman, according to police and media reports, was punched in the arm by a passerby, without provocation.
Last weekend, a Jewish man was punched to the face and thrown to the ground in Crown Heights. And another Jewish man in the neighborhood was punched in the stomach on Wednesday.
“We remain deeply concerned about these alleged acts of violence and the escalating climate of tension and fear that has followed,” Evan R. Bernstein — regional director of the ADL New York / New Jersey – stated. “We all must work together to address these tensions and remain vigilant in making sure our communities are safe for all residents.”
“We hope this reward facilitates the swift apprehension of the person(s) responsible, and we thank the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force for investigating,” he added.
An unidentified man hurled stones through the window of a synagogue in Bulgaria on Saturday afternoon as passersby looked on, local Jews said.
The culprit in the incident at the Central Synagogue of Sofia left the scene without intervention from witnesses, according to Alexander Oscar, president of the Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria. The sanctuary sustained light damage from the attack and no one was hurt.
Their inaction of the passersby was one of the most worrisome aspects of the incident, he told the News.bg website.
“The language of hatred in Bulgaria already manifests itself in physical incidents with direct attacks on Jewish communal property,” he added.
Bulgaria is one of several Eastern European countries where collaborators with the Nazis are celebrated as heroes for their fighting against the Soviet Union in World War II.
Anti-Semitic and violent statements were found in the boys’ bathroom of a middle school in Maryland.
The principal of Severn Middle School in Anne Arundel County informed parents of the vandalism in a letter sent to families on Thursday.
The graffiti included an anti-Semitic statement and one that threatened violence against the school, as well as a swastika, according to school principal Richard Tubman. The threat was not deemed credible by police, he said, according to the Capital Gazette.
The bathroom was closed after four students reported the graffiti. Hallway security camera footage is being reviewed in order to identify the vandals.
“I implore you now – to have conversations with your child about the need to embrace our diversity and accept and include every single person. Each one of us has value as a human being. We cannot, must not, and will not allow hate and bigotry to invade our school culture,” Tubman said in the letter.
The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried Sunday at a Jewish cemetery, after spending years in storage at a British museum.
The Imperial War Museum found the ashes and bone fragments during a stock-taking last year. They had been given to the museum, along with other items from the Auschwitz concentration camp, by an anonymous donor in 1997.
Tests determined the remains belonged to five adults and a child. Hundreds of mourners watched as they were buried Sunday at a cemetery outside London, in a coffin with earth from Israel.
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who delivered a eulogy, said the victims “were stripped of their dignity, both in life and in death. And we will now have an opportunity to accord them appropriate dignity with a funeral.”
“We remember you every day of our lives. You give us constant inspiration. You represent more than one million other children who were murdered. We have been given the privilege to show you dignity here at your funeral,” he added, according to the Jewish News.
JPost Editorial: Happy 70th
The Knesset will be marking 70 years since its inaugural meeting today. As happens every year, its “birthday” falls on Tu B’Shvat and the celebrations will be combined with an open house featuring fresh fruit and flower planting, among other activities.
Beyond sending good wishes, a birthday is a good time to evaluate the past and consider the future.
In recent years, the Knesset has enjoyed low approval ratings from the public. According to a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute conducted in 2018, barely over a quarter of Israelis (27%) trust the Knesset.
That’s not a number the legislature should be proud of.
And it’s no wonder. After years of corruption scandals, shouting, cursing, sexual harassment and MKs passing laws to give themselves greater benefits, the public just doesn’t trust that these people have their best interests at heart.
In the last Knesset alone, we saw several politicians in both the coalition and the opposition being investigated for alleged corruption, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An MK went to prison for aiding terrorists; two MKs resigned over sexual harassment allegations; and at least three others stayed in office even as accusations remained against them. MKs erupted into screaming matches and name-calling on a regular basis. And an MK vandalized a colleague’s car because she was parked in the wrong spot.
The endless antics may not all be criminal, but they are harmful to the Knesset’s image.
The first Knesset was formed following the elections in 1949, replacing the Provisional State Council which had served Israel since it gained independence on May 14, 1948. The current Knesset (elected in 2015) is Israel’s Twentieth Knesset.
The modern Knesset complex, located in western Jerusalem in Givat Ram, was gifted to Israel by James de Rothschild in his will. The main building was constructed in 1966 on land leased from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
There have been twelve people who served as prime ministers of Israel since its founding in 1948.
1. David Ben-Gurion
2. Moshe Sharett
1. David Ben-Gurion
3. Levi Eshkol
Yigal Allon (acting)
4. Golda Meir
5. Yitzhak Rabin
6. Menachem Begin
7. Yitzhak Shamir
8. Shimon Peres
7. Yitzhak Shamir
5. Yitzhak Rabin
8. Shimon Peres
9. Benjamin Netanyahu
11. Ariel Sharon
12. Ehud Olmert
9. Benjamin Netanyahu
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