Tablet has a roundtable about the Israel lobby. All the voices are Jewish. The best commenter is Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, though Noah Pollak of the Emergency Committee for Israel lets his guard down in a remarkable manner. It is remarkable that Tablet, a home to ultra-Zionists, is offering even this much truth about Israel to its readers. Vilkomerson:
I see the so-called pro-Israel lobby as trying its collective best to... [condemn] the people of Israel to endless military escalation, ugly ethno-nationalism, and constant warmongering, to say nothing of the system of permanent control, oppression, and dispossession it strives to maintain over the Palestinian people—all in the name of protecting Israel.
From the perspective of my Jewish values, too, I see the pro-Israel lobby doing much more harm than good. In all its component parts, it encourages Islamophobia, fundamentalist Christian apocalyptic anti-Semitism, and the elevation of power over justice. It does tremendous harm to the Jewish community in the United States when it equates criticism of a state’s actions to anti-Semitism, thus de-valuing actual anti-Semitism. And when the lobby pushes positions, as AIPAC is planning to do this week, such as exempting Israel from cuts while all kinds of crucial domestic programs are being downsized, it potentially harms all Americans.
Noah Pollak of the Emergency Committee for Israel directs his fire at liberals who are turning against Israel. He says the liberals should side with his Emergency Committee in the good fight. This is never going to happen. Even Eric Alterman, a committed Zionist, will side with liberal non-Zionists in the end rather than get into bed with Bill Kristol. The fact that Pollak devotes his space to this cause shows just how worried Zionists are about the left.
For the left grows ever more hostile to Israel, Pollak says; and pro-Israel liberals have too often picked
a fight with pro-Israel conservatives and groups like mine, the Emergency Committee for Israel, by claiming we are “politicizing” support for Israel or using it as a “wedge issue.”
They have it backwards. It is the self-styled progressives who have “politicized” support for Israel by seeking to move liberal opinion and Democratic Party policy in a hostile direction...
If the pro-Israel lobby is to thrive as a bipartisan political force, liberals must get their own house in order—and those who have the best prospect of encouraging liberalism’s better instincts aren’t conservatives, but fellow liberals, inside of whose camp the battle is being fought. In the coming years, we hope pro-Israel liberals come to terms with the problems in their own ranks and take up the fight against those who would turn the United States into an adversary of Israel. Despite the fact that they have done little to support conservatives who challenge the anti-Israel left, I am sure that conservatives, should pro-Israel liberals rise to the occasion, will not be shy about supporting them.
Thanks to Donna Nevel.