Pro-Israel American Pundits Reconsidering Positions

Why are some of Israel's backers moving away?

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Over the past year, some of Israel's staunchest supporters among the U.S. commentariat have become more and more critical of the country and its role in the struggling Israel-Palestine peace process. Israel's continuing occupation of and settlement growth in Palestinian territories have especially concerned otherwise pro-Israel pundits. Here's their latest criticism--much of it from writers who, in the past, had been far more supportive of Israeli policies--and the pushback from the U.S. writers still holding strong for Israel's practices.

  • 'What If Israel Ceases To Be a Democracy?'  The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg asks because, as the expansion into Palestinian territories continues, "Jewish Israelis" may "choose to give up democracy in order to maintain Israel's Jewish voting majority." The Israeli government's "addiction to West Bank settlements, and the expansion of settlements bodes ill for the creation of a Palestinian state--and the absence of Palestinian statehood means that Israel will one day soon confront this crucial question concerning its democratic nature: Will it grant West Bank Arabs the right to vote, or will it deny them the vote? If it grants them the vote, this will be the end of Israel as a Jewish state; if it denies them the vote in perpetuity, it will cease to be a democratic state."
Oil is to Saudi Arabia what unconditional American aid and affection are to Israel--and what unconditional Arab and European aid and affection are to the Palestinians: a hallucinogenic drug that enables them each to think they can defy the laws of history, geography and demography. It is long past time that we stop being their crack dealers. At a time of nearly 10 percent unemployment in America, we have the Israelis and the Palestinians sitting over there with their arms folded, waiting for more U.S. assurances or money to persuade them to do what is manifestly in their own interest: negotiate a two-state deal. Shame on them, and shame us."
  • U.S. Jews 'Can't Take It Anymore'  New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick told Israeli publication Yediot (as translated from Hebrew by Didi Remez), "A new generation of Jews is growing up in the US. Their relationship with Israel is becoming less patient and more problematic." He addresses the country as a whole: "How long can you expect that they’ll love unconditionally the place called Israel? You’ve got a problem. You have the status of an occupier since 1967. It’s been happening for so long that even people like me, who understand that not only one side is responsible for the conflict and that the Palestinians missed an historic opportunity for peace in 2000, can’t take it anymore." New Jersey Jewish News editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll calls Remnick "as good a friend on the Left as Israel is likely to get--and lose."
  • Israel's Critics Aren't Serious About the Middle East  Commentary's Jonathan Tobin argues, "Examples abound of leading American Jewish liberals who find the State of Israel to be beneath their sympathy. There is also no shortage of those who have just gotten bored with the Middle East conflict." These critics "simply can’t be bothered to think seriously about the Middle East anymore. ... Since being pro-Israel these days requires a degree of moral courage, they simply stamp their feet with childish impatience at the willingness of Israelis to stand up for themselves." Their criticism "says far more about them than it does about the Jewish state."
  • Israel Can Resist 'Lefist' Criticism  Pajamas Media's Ron Radosh fumes, "I can just see Benjamin Netanyahu quaking in his boots, joined by the opposition leaders from Kadima. 'David Remnick is leaving our ranks; what will we do?' What chutzpah! Does Remnick really think they care one bit? Does he really think its leaders will stop putting defense of their nation against Arab aggression on the back-burner, just to placate Remnick by coming up with another meaningless start-up of the so-called Oslo 'peace process?'"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.