The Israel Policy Forum has sent a letter to Netanyahu supporting John Kerry’s framework. The signatories represent a “broad cross-section of the American Jewish community,” and the letter is a nudge-nudge to Netanyahu to do the right thing, because Israel is at risk:
We believe Secretary Kerry’s determined diplomatic effort offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish state posed by bi-nationalism.
What I find most remarkable is that Israel-right-or-wrong folks like Alan Dershowitz, Barney Frank, Lester Crown of the Council on Foreign Relations, Charles Bronfman (funder of Birthright Israel) and Michael Adler of AIPAC signed up alongside liberal Zionists like Peter Joseph and Roly Matalon and Neil Barsky (partnered with Bill Keller on a new liberal criminal-justice website). And let’s call David Axelrod a liberal Zionist. And all at the behest of a group that was once liberal Zionist and employed MJ Rosenberg.
What this demonstrates is that as the two-state paradigm crumbles inside our discourse, the lobby will cease to be divided and everyone will be “liberal Zionists,” in the sense that they are seeking to pressure the Israeli government, even AIPAC. And all will be “rightwing Zionists” in the sense that they’re raising fears about a binational state and saying nothing about Palestinian human rights. In short, we are approaching a period in which American Zionists will be called upon to say how important a Jewish state is to them, and if it’s important, put aside your differences and sing out in one voice. Roger Cohen’s angry denunciation of BDS is in this category; he really cares deeply about the Zionist dream.
My disappointment here is that good liberals like Barsky and Matalon are signing on. Though I predict that the great payoff of the period we’re approaching is that some of the liberal Zionists are going to shed their Zionism entirely– as Communists ran for the exits in the 1950s– because it’s anachronistic, or because it has never relieved Palestinian discrimination, for one second, or because they’ve been publicly shamed. And then good folks like Peter Beinart will ultimately come out against Zionism. His book of two years ago The Crisis of Zionism was prompted, he writes in the introduction, by a horrifying scene on the West Bank, from 2010. Well those conditions haven’t changed; families are still being torn apart and arrested because they dare to resist settlers’ incursions. And how long can an ideology be in crisis before you say it’s bankrupt?
Here’s the letter.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
At this critical juncture for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, we write to express the sentiment of a broad cross-section of the American Jewish community in support of your continued efforts to pursue a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples.
As American advocates for a strong, Jewish and democratic Israel, we have been heartened by Secretary of State John Kerry’s extraordinary resolve to advance this process consistent with America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. We believe Secretary Kerry’s determined diplomatic effort offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish state posed by bi-nationalism.
It is our hope that President Mahmoud Abbas will join you in demonstrating leadership to advance these talks. By moving forward at this time, we believe that the Palestinian leadership will be challenged to make important compromises, to end incitement and to demonstrate a genuine preparedness to live in peace alongside the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Mr. Prime Minister, at this pivotal moment of decision-making, we offer our support and encouragement as you move forward to pursue a lasting agreement that will protect Israel’s security as a homeland for the Jewish people.
Daniel H. Adler Lawrence C. Gottlieb Alan J. Patricof Karen R. Adler Fred Gould Richard Pearlstone Michael M. Adler Laurence Greenwald Debra Pell Harold Akselrad Jeffrey Gural Bettina Plevan David Avital Rabbi Steve Gutow Isaac Putterman David Axelrod David A. Halperin Steve Rabinowitz Neil Barsky Harold R. Handler Debra L. Raskin Robert A. Belfer J. Ira Harris Marcia Riklis Jack C. Bendheim Andrew Hauptman Ed Robin Karyn Bendit Oren Heiman Elliott H. Rose Michael Berenbaum Jeff Hoffman Lenore Ruben Howard M. Bernstein Rabbi Rick Jacobs Kerry Rubinstein James J. Binns Alan S. Jaffe Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein Edward Blank Peter A. Joseph David Sable Herb Blecker Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky Richard A. Salomon Edward Bleier Gerald D. Katcher David Sands Ellen Block Nancy K. Kaufman Rabbi David Saperstein Stanley Bogen Francine Klagsbrun Rabbi Yehuda Sarna Charles R. Bronfman Samuel Klagsbrun Rabbi Marc Schneier Matthew Bronfman Robert P. Kogod Jeff Schoenfeld Steven M. Cohen Sidney Kohl Jeffrey Schwarz Jerome Congress Jonathan Kolber William J. Schwartz Rabbi Rachel Cowan Peter S. Kolevzon Jack Silver Lester Crown Rabbi Irwin Kula Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds Charles de Gunzburg Yehuda Kurtzer Rabbi Felicia L. Sol Scott Delman Sheila Lambert Jeffrey R. Solomon Alan M. Dershowitz Burton Lehman Ambassador Alan D. Solomont (ret.) Thomas A. Dine Marvin Lender Alan P. Solow Rabbi Denise L. Eger Rabbi Marion Lev Cohen Steven L. Spiegel Joel S. Ehrenkranz Bruce Levenson C. Michael Spero Warren Eisenberg Jacqueline Levine Joan E. Spero Rabbi David Ellenson Hon. Mel Levine Marc Stanley Ambassador Edward E. Elson Risa A. Levine Susan Stern Alfred Engelberg Rabbi Robert Levine Judith Stern Peck Rabbi Edward Feinstein Rabbi Joy Levitt Cary Sucoff Irwin S. Field Geoffrey H. Lewis Joel D. Tauber Rabbi Karen L. Fox Robert K. Lifton Roger Tilles Hon. Barney Frank Deborah E. Lipstadt Bob Unger Henry A. Freedman Dana Linden Jeanie Ungerleider Brad Friedman Jonathan Lopatin Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky Stanley Friedman William Mack James E. Walker, III Rabbi Laura Geller Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon Howard Weingrow Michael Gelman Peter May Melvyn I. Weiss Susie Gelman Mike Medavoy Barry A. Weprin Ernest Ginsberg Donald Meltzer Martin J. Whitman Stanley P. Gold Robert B. Menschel Elaine Wolfensohn Jeremy S. Goldberg Robert Merson James D. Wolfensohn H.P. Goldfield Arthur Miller Musa Yenni Abner Goldstine Irving Morris Rabbi Eric Yoffie E. Robert Goodkind Harriet Mouchly-Weiss Michael D. Young Bob Gordon Burt Neuborne