I have finally understood that there is no connection, at least in the US, between Jewishness and support for Israel (or its opposite). I was prompted to start thinking about this by the news that J Street has been caught taking money from those who are, shall we say, less than supportive of the continuing existence of a Jewish state; and today, that J Street and Brit Tzedek are planning to cooperate, and perhaps merge.
I couldn’t think of a nicer couple! These groups are similar in that they both have mostly Jewish members, they both claim to be pro-Israel, but both advocate policies that oppose those of the state of Israel — and which in my opinion are inimical to its survival.
The fact is that there are those who support Israel, those who don’t care and those who hate Israel passionately, and it has little to do with whether one’s parents were Jewish or not. The correlation between Judaism and support for Israel exists only for certain Orthodox denominations, which represent a small minority of American Jews.
In the US, part of the platform of much of the Left includes the position that Israel is an apartheid nation which is colonizing land that belongs to indigenous Palestinian Arabs. Our own local ‘peace’ group, Peace Fresno, calls for a Palestinian right of return. Some ‘peace’ that would bring!
Many Jews belong to Peace Fresno and similar organizations. They got there by different routes. Some simply have no interest in Judaism or belong to the aggressively anti-religious left-wing tradition, and therefore don’t have to deal with the contradiction between their position and the biblical relationship of Jews to the Land of Israel.
Others may be affiliated with Reform or Reconstructionist congregations. These movements have de-emphasized ‘ritual’ commandments and belief in the historicity of the Torah, and emphasized ‘ethical’ commandments. Many of their adherents — even some rabbis — have slid down the slippery slope from ‘ethical commandments’ to ‘progressive politics’. Some have given up on Judaism and become Unitarian Universalists.
So, no more grumbling from me about Jews that hate Israel.
But in return, please don’t tell me that a Jew’s opinion about the Middle East carries any more weight than anyone else’s. Especially when that Jew happens to be a member of the anti-Zionist J Street or Brit Tzedek organizations (or Neturei Karta , for that matter).
I have just now discovered that Daniel Pipes said almost exactly the same thing yesterday. As usual, he said it better than I did:
…it’s inaccurate to assume Jews support Israel. That assumption also has two regrettable implications: it privileges anti-Zionists among them (“I’m Jewish but … “) even as it marginalizes non-Jewish Zionists.