A reader writes:
I just read your latest post about the tribalism and emotional connections to Israel that animate and drive so much of the current debate within our Jewish American community. Your post was the most nuanced and intelligent I have seen you write on this subject. It is absolutely spot on and resonated deeply with me.
Good news: things are changing, at least here at home. I was born in the early 1960's into a family in which we all, absolutely identified with Israel in the ways you describe. I have been through AIPAC's leadership development program. My mother and her parents survived (barely) the holocaust in Hungary. But here's the thing, the Israel I grew up loving does not appear to exist anymore.
It is a place that, increasingly, is eroding democratic and even Jewish, values which I hold inviolate as a proud and patriotic American at a dizzying and terrifying pace. Arafat is, thankfully, gone. I know that Israel, Jews and America still have terrible, hate-filled enemies in this world. But I also now know that the Palestinian technology entrepreneurs in Ramallah whom I recently have had the pleasure to meet personally are human too, and want what I want: peace, prosperity and to raise their children in a world which presents opportunity and respect.
Increasingly, the old Jewish Establishment that Beinart wrote so eloquently about simply pisses me off. The only thing he got wrong in his piece was this: I love Israel, care deeply about her present and future and will not walk away. I also will not play by the old rules. I do and will continue to criticize not only the current government in Israel, but also the electorate they represent, when I believe their stupidity, arrogance or anything else threatens my values and my country's best interests. My country is the United States of America. I love Israel. I just love America more.