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Lauren Isaacs

Lauren Isaacs doesn’t pull any punches. As far as the recently-appointed Toronto Director of Herut Canada is concerned, all of the ostensibly Jewish groups – with names such as Independent Jewish Voices, Jewish Voices for Peace, J Street, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and If Not Now – who claim to be fighting for a better Israel and for the Palestinians are peddling lies.

“These groups see nothing good about Israel,” Isaacs said, addressing a small gathering in attendance last Thursday (July 18) at the Corydon Community Centre, in her inaugural appearance in Winnipeg. “All of these groups receive funding from supporters of BDS such as the Rockefeller Foundation. While a group such as J Street claims to be pro-Israel and pro-peace, their behavior belies their words.
Isaacs claimed that “And ‘If Not Now” members have publicly said Kaddish for Hamas terrorists – people who have murdered or tried to murder Jews. (She cited the Hamas charter – available online – that calls for the destruction of the Jews, Israel and the West.)
“These groups refuse to engage with pro-Israel activists. They work constantly to discredit the views of anyone who disagrees with them,” she said.

Isaacs, whose family is originally from South Africa, was invited to speak in Winnipeg in response to a controversy related to Limmud Winnipeg inviting a rabbinical student by the name of Lex Rofeberg, who is affiliated with a group known as “If Not Now”, to give two presentations at Limmud this past March: “Digital Judaism: Weaving the Ancient with the Contemporary”, and “Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg Jews, How Sports and Religion are really the Same Thing”. (Ed. note: Those were really examples of hateful attitudes towards Israel, weren’t they?)
Isaacs’ topic was “The State of Jewish Hate: How Jewish Progressive Activists Fuel Modern Anti-Semitism.” She delivered her 45-minute presentation with numerous slides, (alleged) facts and figures, as well as some humourous banter.

The evening began with a moment of silence to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community centre in solidarity with the Jewish community’s annual observance of the horrific event which was held at the Campus the same evening.
Isaacs began her presentation with a map that shows how “Palestine” has shrunk over the years. The map, she pointed out, is a lie. Historically, there has never been a state or country called Palestine, she said. The Jewish land formerly called Judea had its name changed to Palestina by the Romans after the Philistines – Biblical enemies of the Jews who in ancient times had settled the coastal areas and had disappeared from history and following the Bar Kochba rebellion (132-135 CE).
As Isaacs noted, “Before 1948, the Palestine Post was a Jewish newspaper, the Palestine Orchestra was a Jewish orchestra and the Palestine Pound had Hebrew lettering in it.”

“The Arabs in Palestine viewed themselves as part of the pan-Arab world. The Palestine National movement was brought into being only in 1964 by Yassir Arafat.”
“It is thanks to Israel, that the Palestinians have a sovereign state for the first time,” she said.
She suggested that anti-Israel Progressive Jews are basing their stand purely on emotion devoid of any facts. “They have been brainwashed,” she said. “Both Hamas and the PA use the terms Jew and Zionist interchangeably.”

Turning to the question of the “settlements” – the Jewish communities east of the Green Line – the old armistice line separating Israel from the Arabs, Isaacs said that these communities “occupy” just 2% of the area of Judea and Samaria – and that there hasn’t been a new Jewish community started in those areas since the signing of the Oslo Accords more 25 years ago.
“The only growth in the settlements,” she said, “is expansion of the existing communities to accommodate population growth. Mahmoud Abbas declares that no Jews will be allowed to live in his Palestine. There are 2 million Arabs living in Israel. You can imagine the outcry if Israel tried to expel all of its Arab citizens – but nothing is said – not even by these pro-Palestinian Jewish groups about the ethnic cleansing that Abbas is calling for in his state.

“The look of anti-Semitism is changing – and these progressive Jewish groups are part of the new anti-Semitism,” she stated. “They may not be saying ‘Death to the Jews’, but they support the BDS movement, which is intent on crippling Israel economically and while these progressive Jews may differentiate between Jews and Zionists, the people they support – the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist entities do not.”
In the question and answer session that followed, Isaacs said that the Palestinians have the highest average annual income compared to the other Arabs in the region (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon) and are the best educated of their fellow Arabs in the area – all thanks to Israel. Before Israel took control of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967, Isaacs said, there were no universities in the area. Now there are 14 universities, an open university for distance learning, 18 university colleges and 20 community colleges in the two areas – all built by the Israelis.
Before 1967, Isaacs said,only 4% of Arab homes in the areas were connected to electricity. Now almost all the houses are connected.


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