Award winning Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby addressed a crowd of close to 300 on December 18th at the Boca Raton Synagogue. The event was made possible through the Boca Raton Synagogue Social Action Committee and support from CAMERA. Jacoby began his speech with an exercise commonly held at various pro-Israel conferences. The exercise begins with identifying words that describe Zionism.
Jacoby said, “Zionism means miracle.” Self-defense was the following word he described; he elaborated by saying Jews have to protect their home. The next word was sovereignty, and he used the word rightful to describe what Jews deserve. He also spoke about never again and the strength of Jewish powerless. Jacoby challenged audience members, asking, “What happened before Zionism?”
This exercise and question led Jacoby to the main point of the lecture in describing the campaign going on around the world to discredit Zionism. It was extremely interesting to listen to him describe different scenarios where this campaign was present in media. One of the most interesting anecdotes shared besides extreme media bias in the New York Times was that, in 1819, John Adams dreamt of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East.
Upon Googling this factoid, I found the following quote from John Adams written in a letter to Mordecai Manuel Noah, one of the most influential Jews in America at the time:
“Farther I could find it in my heart to wish that you had been at the head of a hundred thousand Israelites … and marching with them into Judea and making a conquest of that country and restoring your nation to the dominion of it. For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.”– John Adams 1819
This information can be perfectly utilized for what Jacoby describes as the big lies- big truth phenomenon. For big lies, one must respond with big truths. Another big truth that Jacoby shared was that, per capita, Israel has saved more lives than any other nation in the world. He also mentioned Israel taking care of refugees and treating the granddaughter of Hamas Prime Minsiter Ismail Haniyeh in an Israeli hospital. The lecture ended with a few questions from different members of the community and overall was a fantastic draw. Jeff emphasizes the importance of staying informed by reading media, but most importantly, doing one’s due diligence by continuing one’s education. Thus, fallacies in media can be recognized, and through collaborative action, they may be reconciled.
Contributed by Rayna Rose Exelbierd, a board member of Owls for Israel of Florida Atlantic University. Jeff Jacoby connects Zionism to American history and covers the big lies- big truth phenomenon.