“Come and let us reason together,” said the Prophet Isaiah.

“Reason is a propaganda tool of right-wing colonial occupiers,” answer Congress’ progressive leaders.


Friendship is purchased cheap these days. All one has to do is proclaim friendship and the expectation is that all manner of unfriendly behavior is forgiven. But most people can still tell true friends and imposters when they see them. And most of us don’t forgive that easily – nor should we.

In February, ten Representatives joined Vermont Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyChances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight Immigration fight imperils deal on disaster aid package Graham says Bolton briefed him on Iran, tells Trump to 'stand firm' MORE in calling on the Obama Administration to investigate allegations of torture and “extrajudicial killings” by the Israeli military and police. Apparently Israeli law enforcement defending the public from car ramming and knife wielding attacks is now a human rights violation.

The letter specifically mentioned the case of Ahmed Manasra, who Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed Israel had “executed.” Imagine everyone’s surprise (insert sarcasm) when the lad was photographed in an Israeli hospital recovering from wounds he sustained when he wouldn’t stop stabbing people. You’d think that turning up alive would violate one of the more important requirements for having been “executed,” but this is Israel we’re talking about, so the rules for the rest of humanity don’t apply.

As if that letter hadn’t been embarrassing enough, earlier this week, 20 House Members signed a letter calling on Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryChimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech Dem Sen. Markey faces potential primary challenge in Massachusetts Judd Gregg: The dangers of the Bolton Doctrine MORE to appoint a Special Envoy on Palestinian Youth due to Israel’s alleged violations of the human rights of Palestinian children.

The best part of the most recent letter is where the signatories criticize Israel for detaining and interrogating young terror suspects “in violation of international standards.” What standards are they talking about? Florida recently released a man who had been imprisoned for murder at the age of 12. Last year, Texas executed a man with an IQ of 67. I’m still waiting for that Special Envoy from the European Union to apply a little “friendship” to this substandard conduct.

Newsflash: there are no “international standards.” The United States has a Constitution and laws as does Israel and other democracies. Thugocracies such as the Palestinian Authority are governed by terrorizing their citizens. Don’t expect that letter anytime soon.  

It’s worth noting that all signatories of both letters were Democrats and eight Members of Congress signed both letters. These letters pay lip-service to Israeli security concerns in the most anodyne and unsympathetic “yeah, but” kind of language. Sure, Israel has security concerns Americans would never tolerate, but shouldn’t they still be held to a ridiculous standard of behavior to which we don’t even hold ourselves? Instead of rushing to condemnatory judgement, let’s appoint a Special Envoy and get there at a pace almost imperceptible to American voters!

Sadly, Israel has to worry about a growing number of false friends outside of the Congressional fringe. One such false friend, J Street, a “progressive” organization that exists “to be the president’s blocking-back in Congress” and to give cover to Democrats abandoning Israel, has endorsed almost all of the signatories of the aforementioned letters. In fact, it just had two of those signatories – Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezDHS to make migrants wait in Mexico while asylum claims processed Coffman loses GOP seat in Colorado Trump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic MORE (D-Ill.) – author a mass email for the organization. Like all false friends, it clothes its constant stream of criticism in terms of concern – like a mafia goon telling a store owner what a shame it would be if something happened to his establishment.

Whenever their friendly bona fides are questioned, the false friends assume the attitude of the abusive spouse who believes they hit because they love.

These false friends may fool each other and some well-intentioned dupes, but most of us recognize it when we see it. We know it isn’t reasonable to call yourself a friend when all you do is criticize – most of us have had friends like that and most of us have been smart enough to jettison them. Real friends of Western civilization and its Middle Eastern outpost, Israel, should do the same with the signatories of these letters and the groups that support them.

Jonathan Greenberg is an ordained reform rabbi and the senior vice president of the Haym Salomon Center. An expert in Middle East policy and former staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, you can follow him @JGreenbergSez.