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American Jews and Israeli Jews Break Up

The New York Times contains a long article (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/opinion/sunday/israeli-jews-american-jews-divide.html) titled  “American Jews and Israeli Jews Break Up,” that lots of people are passing around. Author Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor, avers that increasingly American Jews regard Israel as another rightwing foreign country that is aligned with “their existential threat” Donald Trump; and so the Israel lobby is losing its hold in Jewish life.

Some of Weisman’s revelations in the piece — stark for a newspaper readership that is usually fed Zionist propaganda — are:

[T]he movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (BDS) grows stronger on American campuses, and new voices are emerging in the Democratic Party, such as Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who are willing to speak openly about Palestinian rights and autonomy where other lawmakers have declined to do so.

and

[by] scuttling the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal…  in moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, [Donald Trump is] basically doing whatever the government of Benjamin Netanyahu asks

and

The two-state solution is increasingly feeling like a cruel joke. American Jews’ rabbis and lay leaders counsel them to be vigilant against any other solution, such as granting Palestinians full rights in a greater Israel, because those solutions would dilute or destroy Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.

So: equal rights might be a solution! Many of the comments on the piece are critical of Israel, and many are from Jews.

Weisman even says a word about Palestinian conditions (!) and states accurately that younger Jews see Israel as a bully.

Older American Jews, more viscerally aware of the Holocaust and connected to the living history of the Jewish state, are generally willing to look past Israeli government actions that challenge their values. Or they embrace those actions. Younger American Jews do not typically remember Israel as the David against regional Goliaths. They see a bully, armed and indifferent, 45 years past the Yom Kippur War, the last conflict that threatened Israel’s existence.

He relates Rabbi Daniel Zemel’s appeal to American Jews to act to counter nationalism and racism in Israel before it is too late. But American Jews don’t care, Weisman says. Not everyone is a Zionist!

Zionism divided American Jewry for much of the latter 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Those divisions remained in the early decades of the Jewish state, fading only with the triumph of the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and the peril of the Yom Kippur War.

Now many American Jews, especially young American Jews, would say, Israel is Israel’s problem. We have our own.

There are roughly 6.5 million Jews in Israel. There are roughly 5.7 million Jews in America. Increasingly, they see the world in starkly different ways.

The Great Schism is upon us.

Weisman’s report is echoed by the Union for Reform Judaism, whose annual letter to the Congress has almost nothing to say about Israel. Refugees, health care, voter suppression, LGBTQ rights, the Rohingya Muslims, women’s rights are the good liberal Asks, and there is just one line about “the security of a Jewish state in Israel” and the two-state solution. The Reforms know the young Jews are not keen on Zionism.

Weisman’s article is most noteworthy as a mate to Michelle Goldberg’s recent column saying that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. There is a non-Zionist bloc at the very-pro-Israel New York Times, and it’s putting its head above the trenches at last. Anti-Zionism is finally getting mentioned by the mainstream press.

Adapted from: https://mondoweiss.net/2019/01/article-abandoning-solution/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=7d79d0ef54-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-7d79d0ef54-398526217&mc_cid=7d79d0ef54&mc_eid=db022c7307

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