Peter Beinart's lengthy essay on the disintegrating support for Israel among U.S. Jews has drawn a wide response. Many observers are trying to answer the question of why young U.S. Jews are moving away from Israel and what, if anything, those in the U.S. can do about it.
- The Dwindling 'Pro-Israel,' 'Anti-Occupation' U.S. Jew The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg asks, "Who else is still out there arguing that you can be liberal and Zionist at the same time, meaning, pro-Israel and anti-occupation? There's Leon Wieseltier, of course, but who else? Tom Friedman is in the same camp (and has been there for a long time) but he pays only intermittent attention to the problem."
- Why Pro-Israel Groups Ignore Young U.S. Jews Spencer Ackerman points out that pro-Israel groups didn't need to reach out to young Jews once they built "durable ties with conservative evangelical Christian communities, which have attachments to Israel based on millennial, eschatological commitments that are entirely untroubled by liberalism. ... Peter [Beinart] is right that it’s the moral task of Zionist liberals like, well, himself and myself and the J Street generation to save Zionist liberalism. But if you’re [U.S. pro-Israel lobby leaders] Malcolm Hoenlein or Abe Foxman, why should you care what pischers like us think? You’ve got aspirant Republican officeholders tripping over each other to profess their deep faith in Israel."
- They Don't Need Us Matthew Yglesais sighs, "There’s a common conceit among more-or-less secular Jews that Israel needs it’s relationship with America’s liberal Jewish minority. But the reality is that if Israel loses support among American Jews because most American Jews are liberals, they can always gain support among the enormous block of white Christian conservative Americans." This trend "will increasingly put liberal American Jews in an awkward position. But no country arranges its politics for the convenience of diaspora sentiments."
- Changing Perceptions of Israel's Need The Washington Post's Ezra Klein says the generational shift is based on the changing Middle East power dynamic. Older Americans who saw Israel seriously threatened and attacked by neighboring states are more likely to perceive Israel as "a small and threatened nation ... locked in a war for its survival with a powerful enemy," thus existentially requiring full U.S. support. But younger Americans only see Israel as it is now, "the most powerful country in the Middle East" and at no such risk, thus less in need of U.S. support.
- Counterproductive Conflict Between Israel Lobbies Liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street, in a statement from its president Jeremy Ben-Ami, knocks the establishment pro-Israel lobbies. "Beinart - with his impeccable pro-Israel credentials - is hopefully an effective messenger to convince the American Jewish establishment that it is not simply enabling self-destructive Israeli behavior that is damaging American interests, it is sowing the seeds for the end of the American Jewish community as we know it."
- Why No Blame on Palestinians? David Marks writes to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, "To me what is more terrifying than the transient power of the Israeli right in Israel, is the deepening belief on the American Jewish middle-left that Israel and mainstream American Jewish organizations are solely to blame for everything, that the Palestinians have no human agency, and have not contributed anything to the current impasse in peace negotiations."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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