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To Pledge, or Not to Pledge?

11:07 AM, Nov 3, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Doug Feith, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains the silliness of the proposed American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League "pledge for unity on Israel."

Pro-Israel organizations have long been active in American politics, promoting friendly relations between the U.S. and Israel. Jewish groups, in particular, have helped ensure that candidates' attitudes toward Israel would be an important element in congressional and presidential elections. Yet now, two venerable Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), are saying that it is improper to do this in the case of President Obama. They have taken the initiative to shield Mr. Obama from the political consequences of his cold treatment of Israel.

The AJC and ADL are jointly promoting a "national pledge for unity on Israel." Its essence is that "America's friendship with Israel . . . has always transcended politics" and that "U.S.-Israel friendship should never be used as a political wedge issue."

Explaining this effort, ADL chief Abraham Foxman lamented that presidential candidates have recently "challenged their opponents' pro-Israel bona fides" and "questioned the current administration's foreign policy approach vis-à-vis Israel."

True, every political movement wants unity in support of the common cause. But since when have American supporters of Israel believed that a candidate's attitudes toward Israel should be kept out of electoral politics? Since never.

In fact, the AJC/ADL pledge led one group, the National Conference on Jewish Affairs,  to offer its own "unity pledge." 


1. We will never be silenced when speaking the truth regarding the Jewish People, anti-Semitism, Israel or America.

2. We shall speak clearly and without hesitation when our elected officials or others take positions or actions that we believe are harmful to the safety and security of the Jewish State and the Rights of the Jewish People.

3. We will not be fooled by manipulative language used to shepherd Jews into signing on to pledges and statements intended to encourage self-censorship or shut down the free exchange of responsible ideas in our community. So-called "Pledges of Unity" and "Civility Statements" are nothing more than attempts to silence us.

4. We will not allow ourselves and our opinions to be controlled by organizations or officials who do not represent us.

5. We will not financially or morally support Jewish organizations or individuals that attempt to silence us or our opinions.

6. We will not sit silently by as Jewish officials attempt to mischaracterize us or our ideas as "extremist" or "intolerant," "inflammatory" or "hateful."

7. We will stand up against anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and anti-Israel rhetoric.

8. We will not pressured into "outreach" with known bashers of the Jewish People, Israel, or America. We shall, however, enthusiastically reach out to and interact with sincere players and spokespeople.

9. We will not be told by Jewish officials what to do, what to say, where to say it, how to say it, and to whom to say it.

10. We shall publicly challenge organizations and individuals that are attempting to undermine the security and safety of Israel or America.

Click here NCJA's translation of the AJC/ADL pledge. 

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