After the horrific murder of Dafna Meir on Sunday, January 17, 2016, there was widespread condemnation by most pro-Israel groups. When one claims to be “pro-Israel,” it is expected that when an Israeli mother is stabbed to death in front of her six children, a critique of such an attack would ensue.
On the exact day of Dafna’s death, however, J Street U’s newly appointed President, Amna Farooqi, published an article on Haaretz about intersectionality within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She went on to discuss human rights issues currently affecting the American political atmosphere, and how movements for social justice must begin to work together. She claims, “only a genuine commitment to supporting social justice can win the respect of progressive groups the pro-Israel community wants to partner with. Demonstrating that commitment doesn’t just mean joining in battles against injustice here in the United States. Many progressive movements see Israel’s occupation as related to the same injustices they are fighting in their own communities. We must take their concerns seriously. ”
Although it is admirable to help human rights organizations in their pursuits toward equality, focusing solely on occupation when terrorism is afflicting Israeli civilians daily is another major injustice. If the president of J Street, who is very active on social media and constantly calls her group “pro-Israel,” fails to condemn Palestinian terrorism, it is safe to say that this group cannot call itself pro-Israel.
What’s most interesting is that Dafna’s family, who is currently mourning, made a statement that they refuse to give in to hatred. Natan Meir, Dafna’s husband, even said that his long-time Palestinian friend, who’s actually a relative of the killer, paid a shiva call. This approach proves that the Meir family is truly committed to maintaining the Jewish and democratic nature of the state, which is what it means to be pro-Israel.
It’s true that to be pro-Israel one must be able to criticize it truthfully, but it is vital to also provide comfort when Israeli citizens are unjustly killed in their homes. Rather than publishing an article about BDS and fighting social injustice on the exact day Dafna was stabbed, Farooqi should have proven her support for Israel with a genuine condemnation of the attack. This would have been a way to actively fight injustice. Through J Street U’s President’s chilling silent response, it is clear that the group’s main goals are to highlight Palestinian struggles, rather than focusing on both sides and showing that Israelis along with Palestinians are suffering as a result of Palestinian extremism and incitement.
This was written by Bar Ilan University CAMERA Intern Jasmine Esulin.