You might think AIPAC sent me this letter. But the envelope contains a map and a fundraising letter from the liberal Zionist group New Israel Fund, a group that is fighting to preserve democratic and human rights for all citizens of Israel in the face of “polarization, racism and extremism.”
I like the New Israel Fund. Good people work for the group and they support some excellent causes, including ACRI (Association for Civil Rights in Israel), the human rights group B’Tselem, and Breaking the Silence. NIF has been viciously attacked by the right inside Israel and out.
But this messaging shows the limitations of the organization. It is obviously operating inside a Jewish Zionist space, and the map that it encloses indicates the Occupied Territories with a lighter shade of green, but says nothing about conditions in the occupation — except for its concern for Women of the Wall, and the rights of Jewish women to pray at the western wall in occupied Jerusalem. While a couple of hundred yards away Palestinians are being forced out of their houses to make way for Jewish colonists. But NIF doesn’t regard that as its business.
NIF knows its community; and the older American Jewish community is still attached to Israel in a deep and proprietary manner. “Your map of Israel is enclosed.” Before there was Revisionist Zionism or liberal Zionism, there was gut Zionism; and many older Jews are Zionists in their guts; they feel the west will always be unsafe and we need a Jewish state. “We believe in an Israel where the Jewish people achieve self-determination in their homeland,” NIF says. I wonder how many young American Jews share that belief. And how many of them are getting this letter.