‘Guardian’ sees Diaspora Jewish leadership beginning to express criticism of Israel

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 13 Comments

More straws in the wind, and the usual reasons. Gaza. Netanyahu. Antony Lerman in the Guardian:

The public positions adopted by the leaderships of diaspora communities
around the world demonstrate solidarity with the state and government [of Israel].
American Jewish support for the Shalem Centre and other rightwing
intellectual, political and religious forces in Israel is indicative of
the important role a certain activist element of diaspora Jews play in
propping up an expansionist Israeli stance. And Netanyahu can still
rely on the quiescence of the mass of daspora Jews to be able to claim,
as all Israeli governments have done, that Israel acts on behalf of all

But you need hardly dig more than an inch or two to
find deep disquiet and confusion following the Gaza war and the
appointment of the racist Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister. And
some of that concern is being channelled into a form of lobbying that
challenges Aipac, philanthropic activity supporting human rights
organisations in Israel-Palestine and social activism based on Jewish
universalism. These activities represent the growing strain of diaspora
Jewish opinion desperate for a new way, which sees the damage being
done to Israel and recognises the necessity of supporting Palestinian
rights. Might this lead diaspora Jews to find a voice capable of
speaking a previously unsayable truth?

A public meeting
organised by the London Jewish Community Centre on Monday night titled
`Can we talk about Israel?` provides a clue. The discussion was about
the limits of what Jews can say when they want to be critical of
Israel. The two key voices on the panel, the Guardian`s Jonathan
Freedland and Jacqueline Rose, professor of English Literature at Queen
Mary, University of London, one of the founders of Independent Jewish
Voices, demonstrated remarkable unanimity on what Freedland said he
dreamed diaspora Jews would one day say to Israel.

13 Responses

  1. Citizen
    May 21, 2009, 3:06 pm

    If a nation state recognized by the UN represents not only the population of that state, but all ethnic/religious people around the world that is part of the extended family of the first class of the State's citizens, then why wouldn't that extended Nation represent simultaneously a fifth column in every host nation of its diaspora? German Americans composed half of the Union troops at Gettysburg, and one-third of all Americans who fought in WW2 (despite the fact thousands of German Americans were put in camps until after the war & none were ever convicted or even officially charged with treason), and yet the USA fought Germany twice. German-Americans had to make up their mind–they overwhelmingly put their bodies on the line fighting their ethnic and religious kin in behalf of a more pluralistic USA. You can see how important it is for the AIPAC & Israeli types to conflate USA & Israeli interests. If the two interests are always the same, then there's no problem. Otherwise, they might have to face the choice German Americans have made numerous times–with no official gratitude ever shown although the German-American community still comprises the largest white group in the USA.

  2. Susie Kneedler
    May 21, 2009, 3:17 pm

    Lerner says that Freedland compared the pressure diaspora Jews may place on Israel to that of the American Catholics threatening to stop supporting the IRA: "He said the key change which broke the deadlock was the pro-Republican, Irish-American community telling Gerry Adams that they had had enough of the terror and the murder. If it continued Sinn Fein-IRA could no longer rely on Irish-American support. That was the point at which the republican strategy changed to embrace the path of peace and led to the Good Friday Agreement." Here's Lerner's conclusion about what Jews worldwide can achieve by pressuring Israel, "Freedland`s dream, predicated on the fact that Israel is heavily dependent on the support of diaspora Jewry to legitimise its actions, was that diaspora Jews would finally turn round to the Israeli government and say `Enough is enough. The occupation must end. The Palestinians must have their independent state. If not, however much we are with you, we can no longer support you.` Jacqueline Rose agreed, adding that central to this there had to be a full recognition of the injustice suffered by the Palestinians in 1948. And Freedland accepted this too. If the tipping point comes and leads to a just peace, perhaps it will be triggered by a form of these true words spoken to Israel by an overwhelming tide of assertive diaspora Jewish opinion."

  3. ThorsProvoni
    May 21, 2009, 3:37 pm

    This type of analysis is meaningless unless it compares the financial clout of Jewish critics of Zionism/Judonia with that of the Zionist plutocrats: My Biggest Mistake. Even in this forum, Horowitz bans people that try to discuss Jewish financial aggression honestly. Yet until lots of Jewish critics of Zionism explicitly condemn the State of Israel categorically as a terrorist state and demand that the hyper-wealthy Zionist plutocrats be arrested for aiding and abetting terrorism, the plutocrats will use all their political economic might to thwart any changes in the status quo: Saving America in 100 Words.

  4. RichardWitty
    May 21, 2009, 3:44 pm

    Reform is possible, if undertaken realistically, NOT ideologically.

  5. RowanBerkeley
    May 21, 2009, 4:03 pm

    Lerner may say that, but in my opinion it's rubbish. I believe that G W Bush clamped down on US Irish money to the PIRA because this was the quid pro quo he had agreed to with Tony Blair, in return for Blair's support on Iraq.

  6. LeaNder22
    May 21, 2009, 5:07 pm

    Joachim, you somehow remind me of the Jewish madmen that thought they could join the extreme right or Adolf Hitler's fight against "the Jews", that they would feverishly accept them into their fold. I honestly wonder what got you there. Are are the best one-man show sabotaging Adam's and Phil's efforts. I have admittedly long ago stopped reading more than the first two lines of your articles, if I ever follow the links at all. I am not saying a cross-reading or countercheck of received wisdom doesn't make sense, the problem is that you are ultimately not interested in knowledge but purely in propaganda, feeding the rage.

  7. Strahl
    May 21, 2009, 5:43 pm

    LeaNder22, could you explain your views on Joachim further? I'm genuinely interested. Please give some examples/etc. I only ask because you yourself seem articulate and it would be refreshing to hear what you have to say about his views. Typically, people just dismiss him without reading a single word he writes. I don't think you're one of those people, correct?

  8. Strahl
    May 21, 2009, 5:44 pm

    Are you an expert in reform, Witless? Please elaborate on the intricacies of 'reform'.

  9. RowanBerkeley
    May 21, 2009, 5:46 pm

    "LeaNder22", are you the same person as "LeaNder" plain and (relatively) simple, or not? If you are, why do you need two logins? Anyway, if Joachim reminds you of… Georg Kareski and his Staatzionistische Organisation (1933-1937), I suppose you mean… or maybe Avraham Stern's 1941 "Memorandum" to the Nazis… that just shows that you know nothing about any of them.

  10. rfjk
    May 21, 2009, 6:21 pm

    "…Might this lead diaspora Jews to find a voice capable of speaking a previously unsayable truth…?" I would say they are already speaking out. Judaism is a far greater force in the world than Israel. And that once solid wall of say, speak or see no evil of Israel is no more. What Israel has become is anathema to Jewish values, ethics and history and is forcing a choice it can only lose in the long run.

  11. MRW
    May 21, 2009, 6:32 pm

    Tony Karon had a great post several months ago about the historical facts you mention in your Jewish financial aggression link. He quotes an historian who says essentially what you do. The same post, if I remember correctly, shows a photograph of Begin and the SA apartheid leaders in 1976 enjoying a drink together. I wasn't aware that Adam Horowitz or Phil Weiss ever banned anyone here for sourced info.

  12. LeaNder22
    May 21, 2009, 7:01 pm

    LeaNder or maybe just Leander I don't know their technique was already taken. If this was still typepad I could use my old one, but it's not.

  13. LeaNder22
    May 21, 2009, 7:17 pm

    I rarely look at his articles. I did at one point and didn't like certain simplification. How to put it simply. Maybe with an example. Martin Buber has a high reputation in some German circles. His books are in many family's homes. With his translation of the scriptures he crossed religious lines. I read Martin Buber early, and yes I like him. Now I don't think he has to be treated like a saint. It weren't times for saints. And my knowledge about the German Zionists and their history including Martin Buber's is something I am working on, its still too vague. Anyway, I was disgusted by Joachim's simplistic treatment of him. It's too easy to blame people for having partly been shaped by the Zeitgeist around them, we all are. But I doubt Buber was ever a racist. … I haven't read much, but occasionally I looked at an article, everything I read confirmed these early impressons. He sometimes uses interesting literature, but he often seems to rape the author, let me put it that frankly, he has to serve his larger aims. He always pushes towards a rather simplistic and propagandistic perspective. He squeezes everything into this political perspective. And that I consider sad, I wouldn't be here if I weren't interested in the issue. But I am not interested in propaganda.

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