I think we are in the beginning of an American Jewish backlash against Israel. The causes of this anger are obvious: Gaza and Avigdor Lieberman are
resonating through a Jewish community that voted for Barack Hussein
Obama, 4 to 1.
Years ago Tony Judt wrote presciently in Haaretz that Israel was like an adolescent out of control, and the U.S. was the parent, and the relationship was coming to an end. Judt was right. That relationship is coming to an end. And what do parents who have enabled a juvenile delinquent do? Well one thing they do is get very angry.
Here are signs of the fury:
–Michelle Goldberg, who is no voice in the wilderness, speaks at the 92d Street Y and in an interview with TPM's news editor Justin Elliott expresses real anger with the Israel lobby. She says it is defending the indefensible. And it is reduced by the poverty of its position to hysterical attacks (what Mearsheimer has called "smashmouth attacks"). She is also really down on Lieberman. Unlike other American Jewish reporters, Goldberg honorably refused to to carry any water for Lieberman.
–There is no other way to interpret Roger Cohen's remarkable series of columns in the Times on Iran & Israel than in this manner: Cohen (again, no voice in the wilderness; he is a former Foreign Editor of the Times) has woken to Israel's true nature–militant, deluded–and is using everything in his power to change American establishment (Jewish) opinion. I bet if you were having a beer with Cohen, he would express cold fury toward Israel along these lines: We gave that country a blank check, that is over…
–Both Cohen and Goldberg might be said to be following the path of Henry Siegman, a former guardian of Israel who today publishes a piece in the Guardian
titled "Netanyahu's False Promises." The piece is charged with the feeling of betrayal. He calls out
Netanyahu/Israel as the real obstacle to peace.
–Yesterday a Jewish friend sent me and Richard Silverstein an ADL email titled, "How
Dangerous is the Threat? 'Go Back to the Ovens,'" quoting an aberrant expression of anti-Semitism at some rally about Gaza. The email goes on: "Jews here and around
the world have experienced the ugliest backlash of blatant
anti-Semitism many of us have witnessed in our lifetime."
wrote, "I wish this was some kind of terrible joke, but it's not." Silverstein echoed that point in his response: "Isn’t it a tad curious that Israel kills 1,400
Gazans in a crazy ass war and all of a sudden WE are the victims??!!" Rage.
–Dana Goldstein's piece at American Prospect yesterday is what prompted me to write this post. In it, she bluntly and helpfully calls Lieberman "a racist." Now just think of all the Washington Post and New York Times reporters stepping on tiptoes around Lieberman's uncomfortable opinions; but god bless her, Goldstein says, he's a racist. She goes on:
said, "Minorities are the biggest problem in the world." American Jews,
many of whom feel their own minority status keenly, ought to have a
great number of questions about how this regime came to power, and
whether we are comfortable with its politics representing us on the
The entire thrust of Goldstein's piece is: In Jewish life we are supposed to extol Israel. Well guess what, our Diaspora is a lot better than Israel when it comes to minority rights. We have lived as a minority in the west for centuries. You are really blowing it as a majority in Israel/Palestine.
For years you have seen signs at non-Zionist Jewish events: Not in our name! This attitude used to be fairly marginal. I'm saying that a lot of Jews around the country now share that feeling and are beginning to express it. Many of these Jews probably think of themselves as Siegman once did, as a guardian of Israel (Michelle Goldberg, then serving the Israel lobby, attacked Walt and Mearsheimer three years ago). The guardians are allowing themselves to express these feelings because they don't think they will kill Israel by doing so or, more pertinently, they think Israel is doing a fine job of killing itself and they will no longer be a party to the process. Stay tuned.