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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hoenlein's Double-Talk

I have been reading accounts of the situation in Iran with great concern. So I read yesterday's story in the JPost with interest. In it, Malcolm Hoenlein blasts Western leaders for not doing enough in the face of the escalation of hate and agression from Iran's regime:
American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein slammed the US and Europe Tuesday for not doing more to back Iranian dissidents and reformers in the form of money and moral support.

"If we want to see change in Iran, we have to support the people in Iran who will bring about change. And what we have done is everything possible to dissuade them," said Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who is in Jerusalem for the conference's annual meeting here.

He particularly singled out the need to highlight Iran's human rights abuses, pointing to the hundreds of public executions on "spurious charges" held each year.

"It's all being published in the papers, and yet the West is absolutely silent in the face of this. It's inconceivable. It's incomprehensible. And it destroys the initiative of people inside the country" to foment change.

His point is very valid, and well taken. So imagine my surprise at seeing an article published mere hours later by the Forward, in which Hoenlein urges the need for restraint on the part of Jewish leaders in the face of the very same threatening behavior by Iran:
Most Jewish organizations, in speaking out on Iran's nuclear ambitions and Holocaust denial, have avoided raising public questions about the Jews in Iran to avert possible negative consequences for the local community.

"We're concerned about the escalating rhetoric, which could lead to actions, be it in Iran or elsewhere," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Hoenlein is a key player in coordinating American Jewish organizations' responses on Iranian Jewish affairs. "It is among the most sensitive issues, because we know declarations could lead to consequences."

Um... Come again? Its hard to see Hoelein's lack of a clear message on this subject as anything but pandering. When speaking to the Jerusalem Post, a conservative publication, he is all about aggressive action inresponse to the threats. When talking to the Forward, a more liberal outfit, it's all about restraint. This is far from the first time Mr. Hoenlein has equivocated on issues depending on which way he senses the wind is blowing. And I'm sure it's far from the last.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's an idiot, everyone knows that

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoenlein is just a pathetic hack and I don't know why anyone quotes him.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comparing apples and oranges. His two statements are not at all contradictory. Different groups (governments vs. organizations) have to deal differently on different issues (the Jews in particular vs. the whole political situation overall). If you can't see the difference, then you're just being ridiculous.

12:49 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anon, I don't see where he makes that distinction. In one case, he calls for action. In another, he urges restraint. He doesn't say one course of action is the proper one for governments, and a different one is proper for J-Orgs. And even if you DO feel that that is hidden between the lines of his comments, it is an absurd distinction to make. J-Orgs should remain silent about this, but yet publicly call for their governments' vocal involvement? As if somehow that's gonna keep J-Orgs' involvement a secret?

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point mom. Anon is wrong, you are right.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Yosef said...

Was he not discussing two different issues? The first paper was discussing their behaviour in general, while the second qoute was discussing reaction to their treatment of Jews.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Call Malcolm Hoenlein what you want, but you are incorrect here:

"He's an idiot, everyone knows that"

He is NOT an idiot. And no, NO ONE knows that. You sound ill informed.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Was he not discussing two different issues? The first paper was discussing their behaviour in general, while the second qoute was discussing reaction to their treatment of Jews.

Not quite. Hoenlein was talking about the Jews in the JPost as well:

He also criticized the Western powers for not responding more seriously to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denials and calls to wipe Israel off the map.

"The world makes a mistake to dismiss Ahmadinejad's comments about Israel and the Holocaust as the rantings of a madman. They are not. They are part of his nuclear program. This is a deliberate, well-thought-out strategy to mobilize the Muslim world," he said.

"This has been something we've been concerned about, but the West doesn't take enough account," he added. "The Europeans especially follow this policy of appeasement [in which] somehow we always excuse what they say and look for some faint ray of 'moderation.'"

4:30 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

the way i read it, it sounds like the first quote to the jpost is discussing the american government's and western european governments' reactions to iran, while the second quote is how jews should respond to the situation. even if the u.s. government takes a strong stand at the behest of jewish organizations, the former carries more weight than the latter, at least where the rest of the world is concerned. the distinction is not at all absurd.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still, you are right Hoenlein isnt an idiot. he is a inept moron. Why is he so great? What does he do? Nothing. He makes the same speech where ever he goes about how the world hates the jews. He takes advantage of anything that happenes good or bad just to get his name in the papers, and he reads the top stories the the past week's jerusalem post every friday on the nachum segal showe.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

anony, what you just wrote, excluding the specifics, applies to ANY organization leader trying to raise money (which, by the way is Mr. Hoenlein's REAL job)

Don't take my word for it. Here:

"Why is he so great? What does he do? Nothing. He makes the same speech where ever he goes about __________.

"He takes advantage of anything that happenes good or bad just to get his name in the papers, and he reads the top stories the the past week's __________ every ______ on the ____________."

Why is he so great? Because he is doing what he is paid to do. to maintain the perception that his organization is relevant, stays in the news, and collects fundraising dollars. wake up. That is what the head of a nonprofit organization does.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous cardash said...

Sorry Mom,

while your quotes seem to indicate a back-track, the two articles are on two different topics. In one Hoenline is claiming the western governments arent doing enough to promote change and support dissidents that can make a change in Iran. In the second article he is discussing the reaction of jewish organizations to the way jews are treated in Iran - for fear of reprisals against the community.

Krum points out that hoenline mentions the anti-holocaust and anti-israel sentiment of Iran in the first article as well, but that is clearly in reference to Iran's posititon in the world vis-a-vis nuclear status and israel, not in regard to the way jews are treated in Iran.

It really is apples and oranges as some comments have pointed out before. A retraction may be in order here.

Finally, for all those anons who complain what a 'hack' Hoenline is, the bottom line is that he stands up for the jewish people. Its easy for others to sit back and do nothing, all the while criticising those that actually try to get something done. To all those Anons I pose the following question: What have you done for your fellow jews lately? Something tells me that the answer to this question is exactly the reason you posted anonymously.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, this is rich. Read the articles, people. Good ole Malky is waffling, as always. And before you go off on all that he does for us, don't forget that he takes very good care of himself too. (I belive his salary was listed at just under a cool mill last year.)

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why is he so great? Because he is doing what he is paid to do. to maintain the perception that his organization is relevant, stays in the news, and collects fundraising dollars. wake up. That is what the head of a nonprofit organization does."

If Hoenlein's job was as you say, they he wouldn't act the way he does. Malcolm Hoenlein doesn't do anything that doesn't directly benefit himself.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A million?? of zedaka money??
this sounds familiar...

1:09 AM  
Anonymous stillwonderin' said...

"If Hoenlein's job was as you say, they he wouldn't act the way he does. Malcolm Hoenlein doesn't do anything that doesn't directly benefit himself."

i'm not sure what makes that description so different from anyone. for instance, you're taking the time to put down malcolm H. because it makes you feel better about yourself. Just as I'm exposing your feeble reasoning to make myself feel superior. It's the way of the world, the way of people in general and at the end of the day, has little or nothing to do with the original intent of the post.

3:09 PM  
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3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry SillW, your psychoanalysis quite honestly sucks. Putting down Malcolm is not necessary to make me feel good about me. Can you please tell me what the heck Malcol Hoenlein does all day, and how he earns that monstrous salary and pension?

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