Thus, the problem of American liberal Jews is not to save Israel from reactionary religious extremists and hardline rightists but to come to terms with the views of the majority of Israelis, the centrists and those left of center.
Yet these points that shape Israeli thinking, problems, and reality have almost never been explained in the American mass media or universities. Many Jews have never heard the above argument but simply absorbed the anti-Israel message so prevalent in those two institutions.
The real story, then, is the crisis of a portion of American Jewry—often a more publicly visible and powerful portion–who have forgotten (or never knew) Jewish history. Some of them push the ignorance of the real Israel and Israeli reality in the universities and media; others merely believe what they are being told daily. They would go to a rally about fighting “Islamophobia” but would be horrified by the idea of going to a rally about fighting revolutionary Islamist antisemitism.
Along the lines of their thinking we would have to rewrite the Haggadah along these lines:
For we have not merely projected our paranoiac thinking that just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but we’ve been so overwhelmed with irrational fear that we think in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; even though they are just standing around doing nothing except occasional texting and discussing the big game on television last night. But fortunately the left-wing critics, blessed be They, verbally attack us, help our enemies, and launch boycotts against us which save us from our own stupidity.
Another part of their problem with Israel is that it is, in a sense, too “Jewish” and at odds with their preferred ideology. They want Israel to be what they want America and Europe to be. Yet instead it is too religious; too traditional; too much of a nation-state; too willing to defend itself; and too willing to recognize its enemies even if they are non-white, non-Western, and non-Christian.
If your definition of proper Jewishness is to be like Berkeley and Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Israel is not going to make the grade. On the contrary, Israel seems too much like the South, Midwest, or non-urban areas where people cling to their guns and religion and don’t eagerly turn over large portions of their territory to armed hostile forces that openly proclaim their goal of exterminating them.
I wrote the above paragraph in a style that (hopefully) would be funny but I think it is absolutely true. By being so “primitive,” it embarrasses them, like a Harvard professor whose relatives from the Ozark show up in their pickup truck toting shotguns and going to church.
Yet beyond all of this there is one more point to be understood that is of the greatest importance: the program of this sacrifice (I mean, “save”) Israel for its own good. That is the very strange program of calling for a boycott of the settlements.
Boycotting the settlements will not affect the settlements, or Israel, or the policies of Israel’s Middle Eastern enemies, and it won’t promote the cause of peace. True, this is an attractive strategy because it sounds moderate and supportive of “mainstream” Israel. But that’s only part of it.
No, the main reason is that it will promote the cause of delegitimizing Israel.
The goal is to change the narrative. Instead of blaming the Palestinian leadership’s, Arab regimes’, and revolutionary Islamists’ rejection of Israel’s existence, refusal to make compromises, glorification of terrorism, demonization of Israel, and refusal even to negotiate, the fault lies with Israel. They don’t have to change at all. It’s Israel that has to make more concessions and take even more risks.
According to this conception it is Israeli settlements that block peace. They force the other side to reject a deal, neglecting the fact that if they had made a deal the territory would have been handed over to the Palestinians and the settlements dismantled. If only the settlements went away, we are told, peace would quickly arrive, rather than understanding that if only the Palestinians made peace the settlements would go away
The strategy signals that the way to get peace is to ignore the real behavior and doctrines of Israel’s enemies and instead to punish Israel.
And suppose Israel doesn’t unilaterally dismantle the settlements? What is this movement’s next step? To boycott the country that won’t listen to them; to blame it for antisemitism, and to turn one’s face away from it. This year we are in the land of boycott, sanction, and divest from the settlements; next year in boycott-Jerusalem land!
Thus, the diagnosis being offered is false and slanderous toward Israel and the solution being presented is false and dangerous to Israel. The goal is to get American Jews to adopt the basic anti-Israel narrative that paints Israel as the villain responsible for the lack of peace and ultimately delegitimizes Israel’s survival.
Have no illusions. This Trojan Horse movement and its nonsensical arguments should be exposed. Every North American and European Jew should at least have the opportunity to hear the truth.
Special Bonus Feature: A Short History of Jewish History and the Centrality of Settlements
- 737 BCE, Jews establish settlements, leading Assyrians to invade.
- 587 BCE, Jews build new apartments in settlements. In response, Babylonians conquer land and exile the Jews.
- 70 CE, Jewish settlements produce Dead Sea Scrolls. Left-wing pseudo-intellectuals do not boycott. Temple Falls.
- 1096 CE Jews think about establishing settlements. Crusades begin and Jews are massacred.
- 1648 CE Jews in Ukraine make kugel on settlements in Ukraine. Cossacks begin armed boycott movement.
- 1917 CE Shocked by Jews clinging to their religion, reactionary Zionism, and pseudo-revolutionary Bundism, heroic Bolshevik Jews save the day by helping bring about the Russian Revolution, close down synagogues, outlaw Yiddish, and put Zionists and Bundists into concentration camps.
And so on down to the present.