Jewish People Policy Planning Institute director Avinoam Bar-Yosef hinted to Haaretz  yesterday that his big Jewish leadership powwow in Israel next week is meant to prepare the global Jewish community for dealing with the “trauma” of a compromise deal on Jerusalem. The conference “is to deliberate the impact on the Jewish people of the peace process and possible concessions to be expected”; and, according to the paper which interviewed Bar-Yosef, specifically discuss “whether a compromise on Jerusalem will divide the Jewish people and bring about a national trauma affecting communities in the Diaspora.” Bar-Yosef grudgingly admits that “tactically, it could be that the Jewish people need to say the same thing — that Jerusalem was pledged to the Jewish people,” just as the Arabs claim all of Jerusalem for the entire Arab world. But beyond tactics, it sure sounds like Bar-Yosef is bracing everybody for capitulation.
There is a serious problem here. Jewish leaders convening in Jerusalem at this sensitive time of Israel-Palestinian negotiations should be looking for ways to strengthen the Jewish People’s permanent claim to united Jerusalem, not searching for ways out of the “trauma” of conceding Jerusalem! Which leads me to ask: Why are Malcolm Hoenlein (Conference of Presidents), Abe Foxman (Anti-Defamation League), Daniel Mariaschin (Bnai Brith International), Salai Meridor (former Likud MK and JAFI chairman) and others participating in this dubious exercise? Perhaps they ought to demand that Bar-Yosef publicly amend and clarify the purpose of the conference?