At a panel on Israel yesterday at the University of Pennsylvania, Ian Lustick and Max Blumenthal spoke about how many Israeli Jews are gettin out of Dodge.
Blumenthal said (at 22:00) that Israel’s doomsday-and-apartheid political culture is causing the enlightened young to flock to more sophisticated places overseas.
Listen to Netanyahu hyping up the Holocaust to create political space for war on Iran… and you look at the reaction of young Israelis…[Leftists in Berlin have] rejected this doom and gloom from Netanyahu, they want light and justice.
We hear about how many Jews will leave Israel if there is a one-state future, he said; well, they’re leaving now. There are now 1 million Israeli expats, only Mexico and Sri Lanka have higher percentages of citizens living abroad (about 14 percent).
Lustick said the number is probably closer to 600,000 but he said these are the privileged people on whom Israel depended: Ashkenazi liberals moving abroad and staying abroad. And Israel deals with it, by encouraging, say, a New Jersey dentist to keep his practice here while commuting to his family in Israel.
This brings me to two recent reports on Israeli Diasporans in the U.S., in the media line.
Yesterday, Ali Abunimah reported that the Egyptian coup regime has hired a Washington p.r. firm with connections to the Clintons and Israel, including an exec who served in the Israeli Defense Forces and then worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore as an advance man.
Last week, the Glover Park Group (GPG) filed lobbying registration forms with the US Department of Justice, stating that the firm will “provide public diplomacy, strategic communications counsel and government relations services” for the Egyptian regime headed by General Abdulfattah al-Sisi, The Hill reported.
As Middle East Monitor points out, a managing director of GPG is Arik Ben-Zvi.
“Ben-Zvi served in the Israeli Defense Forces and received his degree in History and Political Science from Tel Aviv University,” according to GPG’s website.
He also served as the “chief communications consultant on national and local elections in Israel, Bulgaria and the British Virgin Islands.”
Now this Israeli works alongside Carter Eskew and Dee Dee Myers, leading Clintonites.
And last week The New York Times’s Jennifer Miller reported on a N.Y. schmooze artist named Jonathan Levy who runs a salon in his spacious Upper West Side apartment that brings the influential to dinner parties. The piece was slightly mocking: “Want to Meet Influential New Yorkers? Invite Them to Dinner.”
Levy’s parents are Israeli artists who lead a binational life and list a New York address. They divide their time between an erased Palestinian village that’s now an Israeli artists colony and Central Park. Per the Times, their daughter is binational: she “is a hip-hop fusion artist who lives in New York and Tel Aviv.”
Her brother Jonathan, who “works in digital marketing at the publishing company Rodale,” likely has Israeli citizenship; he surely has the option of living in Israel. But he seems to prefer life as a media influencer in the diverse U.S.
Jennifer Miller quotes a friend saying Jonathan Levy “trawls” for influential people at Cannes and Burning Man.
In the advertising and start-up worlds, an influencer is a person, product or campaign that gets everyone else talking, tweeting and buying. Mr. Levy has a somewhat grander, if more abstract vision: He believes that bringing a diverse, influential community together will inevitably lead to collaborations that, he says, have the potential to “change the world.”
Thriving in American diversity, Jonathan Levy is.
And by the way, according to Pew, there are more Jews who live in the US (5,690,000) than in Israel (5,610,000).