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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Netanyahu alienating the American Jewish community?

Given the ovations that Prime Minister Netanyahu got at AIPAC, I find it hard to give this article much credibility, but I'm not in the US right now, so I'm throwing this out to those of you who are to support or refute:
BUT, HE is also alienating another staunch supporter of the State of Israel – the American Jewish community. As I conclude my travels in the States, I have not found one Jew here who understands why Netanyahu’s government would commit such a foolish act. American Jews are sorely embarrassed, as Israel has raised the ugly specter of “dual loyalty.” In addition to appearing before American Jewish audiences, I also spoke to non-Jewish forums, presenting a balanced understanding of the Middle East conflict and decrying the double standards that are unfairly applied to Israel.

I specifically addressed the latest Presbyterian onslaught with its prejudicial call for a boycott and divestment. Coming from the human rights world, supposedly liberal Christians, critical of Israel, were inclined to give me a sympathetic ear. Without exaggerating my influence, I believe that in many cases I succeeded in opening their eyes to the complexities of the conflict, pointing out that there are two narratives that dominate the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians.

And here comes good old Bibi with his declaration of further settlement building. There was no way I could put this latest “slap in the face” to America in a positive light. Netanyahu is simply not considered a credible partner to peace, no matter how much he tries to sweet-talk the American administration.

I was reluctant to tell my audiences, particularly the non-Jewish ones, that America should call Israel on the carpet – not by expressions of admonition that have little or no impact, but rather by bold actions.
I should probably throw in two caveats: The writer, David Forman, is an uber-Leftist, and I don't believe that Israel's support from the US is dependent on the Jewish community anymore anyway. I believe that most of our support these days is coming from Christians, who may well be far more inclined to support Netanyahu's position.


At 5:17 AM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

i'd say the reform movement in America is almost to the point of being brain washed...

Of the aipac crowd?

my best guess?

33% zionists like me who think the idea that Jews being not allowed to buy land ANYWHERE in the world, let alone Jerusalem is racist.

33% are like deer in the deadlights about obama and are waking up and are pissed that they gave him the chance to screw things up as much as he did...

33% are pro-israel but voted for obama (alot of the chicago crowd who really thought he was "ok" cause he was strong with the jewish power in chi-town) still make excuses on an minute by minute basis...

in the conservative general population i'd say it's 50% strong pro-israel (like me) and the other 50% voted for obama

I think there MUST be an awakening within the Jewish community about how they were played...

However I do see among many a lack of knowledge about history and I see a lack of spine to be proud Jews...

At 5:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The American Jewish community voted for Obama and their liberalism takes precedence over their Judaism and support for Israel.

Most of Israel's support comes from Christian evangelists and Orthodox Jews. That's the only reason why America isn't as hostile to the Jewish State as Europe. And the Obami want to emulate Europe in their approach towards Israel.

I would say Netanyahu is not alienating a great many American Jews, who wouldn't vote for him in an Israeli election. What I mean is they were never supportive of him in the first place. And the kind of parties closest to the position of American Jews, like Meretz and Labor, have all but disappeared from the Israeli political scene.

What has changed is not Israel but the way American Jews relate to Israel.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Forman, from "Rabbis for Human Rights" (scare quotes intentional)?

May his matzah be chametz and may he choke to death on it then and there at his Seder table.

Wicked Jew.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Shavua Tov, Carl.

As far a Jewish support for Netanyahu in America, it is largely ( but not totally) broken down on partisan lines IMO.

Observant Jews and non-observant Jews of the conservative persuasion support Israel and understand where Bibi is coming from, but then they always did.

Jews on the Left like the author of this piece always hated Netanyahu and Likud and the so-called 'settlers' and are supporting Obama, but I would say that 20-25% of them have woken up, especially among more elderly lefty life long Democrat Jews who are very pro-Israel but were thrilled to vote for a black president and believed what people like Alan Dershowitz, Marty Peretz and others told them. Peretz and Dershowitz have of course woken up as well by now.

In hard numbers, I see this translating into 1980 Reagan-type numbers at the polls,(35-40%) maybe somewhat better.Disgraceful, but still an improvement.

As you note, Israel's largest group of real friends in America are Mormons, Evangelical Christians etc. like Pastor John Hagee and Sarah Palin.

Rob Miller @ Joshuapundit

At 9:17 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's still more about what Benny Morris calls the end of an era. But the gist of a long article can be summarized in a few paragraphs:

At the same time, Obama has ignored evidence that the Palestinians are averse to a two-state solution. How else to explain the majority Palestinian vote in 2006 for Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction? Or the rejection by Yasser Arafat (with his colleagues, including Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian "president") of Clinton's two-state proposals six years before? Or Abbas's effective "no" to the peace proposals in 2008 of Ehud Olmert? Or Abbas's refusal to recognise Israel as "a Jewish state" while insisting on the Palestinian refugees' "right of return" (which would give Israel an Arab-majority)?

In short, Netanyahu has given Obama ample grounds for frustration and anger – and Obama has given Netanyahu ample grounds for suspicion about his real sympathies. And this has happened at a crucial moment in Middle Eastern history, when a nuclear cloud looms over the region.

As Morris explains, Israelis are concerned about Iran and they don't understand the American obsession with the Palestinian issue. The former is an existential threat to Israel while the latter is a manageable problem.

In short, according to Morris, the differences between Obama and Netanyahu are real and deep and portend the end of Israel's special relationship with America.

There's more - lots more. Read it all.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

About American Jews, a poll conducted by our favorite bete noire, J-Street, has revealed 59% of American Jews back Obama with only 44% backing Netanyahu.

The most salient finding of the J-Street poll is Israel came at 7th place and Iran ranked 14th. The economy ranked first with Jews (55%) and health care (41%). This is not a community that considers Israel to be particularly important among present day American Jewish concerns.

Further details can be found here:

US Jews Prefer Obama To Netanyahu

Oy vey! But not exactly a surprise.


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