The Israel Lobby continues to delaminate. Meretz USA has come out with a declaration, "The old rules of Diaspora-Israel relations are no longer acceptable to us"–i.e., passivity, cheerleading, omerta and bullying. Then Meretz shaprly criticizes the Israeli settlements policy and says why it's American Jews' business:
country's interests. In the post 9/11 world; what happens in Ramallah
or Gaza City reverberates beyond the region's borders.
The continuing occupation makes it easier for terrorists
to mobilize and recruit people who would just as soon blow up
Tallahassee as Tel Aviv, who want to attack American soldiers in Iraq
as well as Israelis in Sderot and Ashkelon. It fans the fires of hatred
against America. [A beautiful and honest statement; will the World Trade Center destruction be in the next declaration?]…
will be the one place where we force ourselves to turn a blind eye to
injustice, oppression and inequality. If we encounter it there, we are
obligated, as Jews, to speak out. [Nice!]
The statement urges visitors to sign a letter to Israel's housing minister opposing the new settlements.
Good stuff. I have one nit to pick. The letter to the Housing Minister is framed, "As a Jew…" Well Jews are very important. We have been absolutely vital to Israel in the U.S., maintaining the lobby. But I don't think these efforts will pay off until Jewish organizations reach across the aisle to hold hands with non-Jewish Americans who are also exercised about Israeli policies. Whether you like assimilation or not, we are full participants in American society. 62 percent of Jews under 35 are marrying non-Jews. And these non-Jews, as well as others who may not be intimately connected, are a powerful untapped group. Come in, the water's fine. As I wrote yesterday, the horrifying and powerful One Jerusalem won't be broken till the Jeffrey Goldbergs and Jimmy Carters work together.
My wife is a writer. She took etiquette lessons recently. Her teacher told her that she should approach every party "as a host, not a guest." In other words, carry the big generous spirit of the host to social encounters; don't be the lowly petitioning guest. And that spirit will transform your relations. Yes, new agey, but true. I've found that the advice has made me less mingy and mean myself in social situations (like a blog; Richard Witty has also had an effect, with similar teachings). Let those of us who hate the occupation be hosts, and bring a host to bear.