News & Politics

American Jews Viewed with Suspicion at Israeli Border, Highlighting Growing Rift

A Hasidic Jewsih man hoists a Palestinian flag as he protests outside the Washington Convention Center at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Apart from the United States, if there’s one country where it’s not only okay to condemn, but also the politically correct thing to do, it’s Israel. That little sliver of land located on the western side of the Fertile Crescent receives its fair share of hate as well as its neighbors’ shares of hate, too. Even being associated with Israel earns hate — ask Lana Del Rey. So why is it that Israel has become so skeptical of American Jews? Shouldn’t the two groups be allies?

Well, yes, they should be. Unfortunately for Israel, many American Jews side with the Palestinians. Because of that, Israel has become increasingly skeptical of American Jews wanting to visit. Religion News Service contends that this exposes a “deeper rift.

Simone Zimmerman, an activist assisting Palestinians, was stopped at the border when she tried to enter Israel from Egypt. An American Jew now living in Israel, Zimmerman “quickly became a person of interest after telling the border agent that she worked for an Israeli advocacy group that assists Palestinians. She says that led to a series of ‘super-charged’ questions about her professional activities and political views.”

After four hours of questioning, having her phone unlocked and searched, and being threatened with deportation, Zimmerman was allowed to reenter Israel. However, RNS goes on to point out:

A series of similar incidents at Israeli border crossings has highlighted a growing gulf between the country’s hard-line government and liberal Jewish Americans who say they support Israel but oppose its policies on issues including religion, President Donald Trump and especially the continued occupation of the West Bank.

This shift already appears to be having important implications for what historically has been a close relationship built on almost unquestioning bipartisan support. Some Jewish leaders have begun to criticize Israeli policies publicly, and some predict that the Democratic Party — home to an estimated 70 percent of American Jews — could soon turn away from its support for Israel.

Recent polls bear out the growing rift: “Only 34 percent of American Jews, for instance, supported Trump’s handling of relations with Israel, compared with 77 percent of Israeli Jews.”

As American Jews become increasingly progressive, their political goals run at odds with Israel’s ability to flourish, especially since many Israelis are becoming increasingly conservative, particularly in their views of Palestine. Granted, unlike American Jews, Israelis live in fear of being killed by Palestinian terrorists.

This growing rift between American Jews and Israel is not only problematic for Israel, it also reveals how those on the Left are more concerned about toeing the party line than they are about advocating for their own self-interests.