Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg, acknowledging that American Jews are sick of Israel. “How Israel can stop alienating American Jews,” at Bloomberg News. This guy has an eye for the main chance. How long before he comes out for democracy between the river and the sea? (Q. And why is it that Jewish attitudes matter more on these questions than anyone else’s? A. It’s too early in the morning to answer that question.)
But now we’re seeing strikingly intolerant applications of ultra-Orthodox practice in Israel. The most offensive manifestation at the moment might be attempts to segregate women on public bus lines that pass through certain Orthodox neighborhoods. On many of these lines women have quite literally been forced to the back of the bus. If this sort of misogyny is tolerated, Israel will lose the support of battalions of American Jewish women (not to mention the current U.S. secretary of state).
Moral DisasterThe third issue creating unease is the ever-expanding Jewish settlement project on the West Bank. Many American Jews, especially those in their 20s and 30s, look on the settlements as a moral and political disaster. They believe that the Palestinians, no less than the Jews, deserve a homeland. They believe that Israel should be both Jewish-majority and democratic, and they understand that it won’t be either if Israel maintains its hold over the Arabs of the West Bank. They believe that Zionism is not mainly about the redemption of land promised to the Jews by God in the Torah, but about the national liberation of a persecuted people.
The permanent occupation of the entire Promised Land is not a theological requirement for national liberation.
P.S. The answer to a moral disaster is thoroughgoing reform. That is the American lesson– the civil rights movement. I don’t see why it is right to temporize in this situation. Well actually I do see why it is right: Because we empowered media Jewish voices are not being afflicted. If those were our cousins in the occupied territories? Heck, we’d destroy the idea of Zionism in a New York second.