The Jewish Right Is Hijacking the Pro-Israel Discussion
The responses from most American Jewish organizations and media outlets after the United States’ abstention from the UN Security Council vote, and then Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Israel, have been truly stunning.
These ripostes display in razor-sharp contours the values and commitments of the American Jewish “Right,” as the litany of editorials and position statements shouting about antisemitism and betrayal are coming like wildfire. It behooves us all as Jews to make clear what many on the Center and Left have suspected for quite some time.
First, the American Jewish Right places absolute support for Israel above all else, even at the expense of Jews in the United States.
The response of the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) contained the outrageous plea to appreciate our “friend” (!) Steve Bannon, which was a reckless act of betrayal of the many Jews that have been harassed and attacked by Bannon’s readers. The ZOA’s release did not contain a word about the looming armed march of neo-Nazis who are threatening Montana’s Jewish community, or the extraordinary rise in Klan membership nationwide.
When a resolution by the UN (an organization that the American Jewish Right has consistently labeled meaningless) becomes more dangerous than actual, personal attacks on American Jews, we have a serious problem.
Second, the American Jewish Right is under the delusion that its perspective on Israel is more important and more correct than those of Israel’s citizens and leaders themselves. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote that the majority of Israelis agreed to some degree with Secretary Kerry, and took the UN resolution as a clear sign of the failure of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s tactics. Furthermore, Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog praised Secretary Kerry as a true friend of Israel’s.
Third, the American Jewish Right has an unbridled hatred for President Barack Obama that goes beyond rational discourse. The ZOA statement labeled him “Barack Hussein Obama,” without including the middle names of Secretary Kerry or Ambassador Power — a clear hate-mongering tactic designed to build upon the absolutely erroneous insistence that the President is Muslim or Arab (and even if that were true, why should it matter?)
Four, the American Jewish Right seems to have an extraordinarily short historical memory. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush all allowed numerous anti-Israel resolutions to pass. President Obama allowed one. This myopia extends to other aspects of the current Administration’s policy towards Israel, which included an unprecedented $38 billion in security assistance for fiscal years 2019-2028.
Hard-line Zionists’ unconditional “support” for Israel comes at the cost of honest debate itself, the flourishing of Israeli citizens’ own public discourse, and — most frightening of all — the safety of American Jews.