Rabbi Eric Yoffie, in my humble opinion, was the man who, as head of the Reform Movement, turned a movement once known for its deep commitment to social justice and universalism into a front for Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine. Reform rabbis quickly learned what Yoffie expected and they obliged.
Yoffie, that is, did to the Reform Movement what Abe Foxman did to the Anti-Defamation League (ruined it).
You know how bad things must be for Israel when a premier apologist like Yoffie is mining Beinart (without credit, of course) on Israel’s settlement “problem.” Forgive me if I can’t find any words of praise for Rabbi Yoffie for venturing out of the bubble so late in the game.
So much for the notion (spread by the pro-Israel pundit class) that Beinart is irrelevant. (See especially, for the fullest expression of this wishful thinking, Jason Zengerle in New York Magazine)
The article is “Settlements threaten American Jews’ connection with Israel,” in Haaretz, by Eric Yoffie. It begins:
I spoke a few weeks ago with someone who works with American Jewish organizations in planning programs for their meetings and conventions. “Israel is out,” he told me. The demand for speakers about Israel or from Israel has dropped dramatically over the last decade. American Jews are simply interested in other things.This was a man who understands the U.S. Jewish zeitgeist, and I was initially stunned by his statement. After all, he was not referring to the assimilated minority of Jews who are distancing themselves from all things Jewish; neither was he talking about the anti-Israel Left. He was describing the mainstream, organized Jewish community, which—sadly, tragically—is drifting away from its deep connection to the State of Israel.Shortly after this conversation, Israel’s government announced that while it would evacuate five homes constructed on Palestinian-owned land in Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank, it would also build 851 additional housing units elsewhere in the territories. The prime minister declared that: “There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.”
These two developments – increasing U.S. Jewish disconnection and the Israeli government’s expansion of settlements – are intimately related