There's a particularly chilling scene in the movie "The Pianist," starring Adrien Brody. It comes at a critical moment when the train's already chugging along on the path to insanity and destruction, but before all was destroyed. In it, the family of the protagonist has been forced into the Warsaw ghetto. The head of the family is sitting at a table, reading a newspaper. He looks up and says, "I blame the American Jews."
He was talking to me.
At least, that's how I interpreted it.
I resolved then that I would never be our time's analog of a World War II American Jew -- you know, all those who read today's papers, see what's happening to Israel, mutter "tsk, tsk," and then turn the page, mentally pressing "delete" and moving on to the next article.
My friend, Allyson Rowen Taylor, who lives on the other side of the country, and I finally had enough of this. After years of correspondence, we spent a few hours on the phone and created Z (for "Zionist") Street.
Z Street is based on these positions:
· The right of the Jewish people to a state, and the right of Jews to live freely anywhere, including inhaling oxygen in areas the world insists is reserved for Arab Palestinians;
· Taking pride in affirming a Jewish state and in being Zionists -- terms currently derided as shameful, instead of sources of pride;
· Circulation of facts -- not deceptive public relations -- about the Middle East, Israel and false "Palestinian" narratives;
· Condemnation of terrorists dedicated to eliminating the Jewish state, as well as their enablers, who revile Israel for actions they accept when taken by Israel's enemies; and
· Categorical rejection of agreements with or concessions to terrorists or their supporters dedicated to Israel's destruction.
We consider Z Street to be unlike other groups claiming a pro-Israel stance since we will not moderate our positions in order to be invited into a room with politicians who pay attention to our pocketbooks, but ignore our positions. For those who do not embrace our principles, there are plenty of other organizations to join.
We are not expending resources on offices around the country or salaries for professionals, and we do not intend to sponsor scholars or publications. All resources will go toward creating and maintaining a widely dispersed, but closely aligned, membership focused on raising an unwavering voice in support of Israel.
Within days of its launch in the middle of July, thousands made their way to our site, asking how to join and how they can help. News articles are being written about Z Street from the far right and the center, and we have been viciously denigrated and cartooned from the far left -- all of which is gratifying.
The response to Z Street is in part because those organizations whispering into the ear of this U.S. administration pervert the meaning of "pro-Israel," while cloaking themselves in that mantle. Their loyalty is to left-wing principles, including allegiance to a secular Israel, to tolerance of the hatred of Jews, to laundering terror only when it's directed at Jews.
They are ashamed of an avowedly Jewish state, yet completely comfortable with 22 Muslim ones, and they don't mind risking the creation of a 23rd, based in Jerusalem, even when the governing documents of that enemy -- Fatah or Hamas, or both -- call for the destruction of Israel.
Z Street will not contribute to the weakening of Israel, either because of ideological conviction, animosity toward a strong Jewish state, cowardice or the grossly misguided belief that compromising with or speaking to committed terrorists will lead to Middle East or global peace.
I sleep better knowing that when my grandchildren ask me what I did to help prevent the destruction of Israel, I'll be able to tell them.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is co-founder of Z Street.