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Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2023

As Israel’s far-right regime advances its agenda, both the American Jewish  
community and the U.S. Government are increasingly critical.  
When Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich visited Washington in March to  
address an Israel Bonds meeting, no U.S. Government official would meet with him.  
Neither would the representatives of leading American Jewish organizations.  
Smotrich, a leader of the Religious Zionism Party, was criticized, in particular,  
for calling for the Palestinian village of Huwara in the West Bank to be “wiped  
out.” Speaking in Paris on March 19, Smotrich said, “There’s no such thing as  
Palestinians because there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people.”  
Washington Jewish Week (March 16, 2023) reported that, “Outside the hotel…a  
multitude of people representing area synagogues and…organizations…chanted, sang  
songs and listened to speakers who called Smotrich a homophobe, someone who  
doesn’t consider Reform Jews Jewish, a supporter of segregated maternity wards  
for Jews and non-Jews and a person who considers women subservient…Senior Rabbi  
Jonathan Roos of Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C. was at the protest with…  
congregants. ‘We are here to continue to stand against hate and for democracy.’  
Rabbi Esther Lederman from the Union for Reform Judaism urged Jews to raise their  
voices…She called Smotrich “a fascist homophobe.’”  
Only two Jewish organizations were willing to meet with Smotrich, the Orthodox  
Union and the right-wing Zionist Organization of America. In a statement, the  
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington declared, “The hateful  
views long expressed by Minister Smotrich are abhorrent…and run contrary to  
Jewish values…No public servant should ever condone or incite hatred or hate-  
motivated violence, and when they do, they will be fiercely condemned by a wide  
swath of American Jewry.” William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents  
of Major American Jewish Organizations, called Smotrich’s statements  
“disgusting.” (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 3, 2023).  
The Gallup polling group revealed in March that in their most recent polling on  
“sympathies in the Middle East,” 49% of Democrats placed their sympathies with  
Palestinians over 38% with Israelis. This was the first time in the poll’s  
history that it landed in the Palestinians’ favor. **  

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