David Rothkopf, Carnegie scholar and former editor of Foreign Policy, has expanded on his tweets saying that American Jews have “a duty to oppose Israel.” He penned a piece for Haaretz, calling for boycott of Israel’s government, and “all manner of pressure.”
But this government of Israel and what it stands for must be opposed in every way possible – including, given the absence of other effective options, boycotts.
To the extent that laws like the nation-state law remain the unaltered law of the land, Israel’s leaders must be challenged, communities of conscience everywhere and all manner of pressure mobilized against it on behalf of those denied their most basic human rights by the law.
Israel’s government chose this path. Its acts have not only undermined its legitimacy; it has parted ways with many of those who support was in decades past most essential to its survival….
Note the words “all manner of pressure” and the loss of legitimacy.
Rothkopf says that Israel is an apartheid society and an un-Jewish state. And no the nation-state of the Jewish people law wasn’t just a “mistake,” as Dershowitz says, or a source of sadness, as J Street says.
[W]e have reached a watershed…
The passage of the nation-state law attacks and effectively demolishes every reason for supporting the state of Israel that once existed for many American Jews and for an increasing number of Americans.
It puts the lie to the idea that Israel is a democracy by denying full-privileges of citizenship to long-time residents within the borders Israel controls.
It creates an apartheid society in which ethnic identity trumps fundamental human rights.
Hardest still for many American Jews, it flies in the face of cherished Jewish values and the lessons of Jewish history – so much so that it makes Israel in many respects, an un-Jewish state.
There are some hedges in Rothkopf’s piece. His tweet said American Jews have a “duty to oppose Israel.” Now it’s the Israeli government. And despite his 2014 denunciation of Zionism– “I find the response of Zionism [to modern historical challenges] to be exactly the wrong one” — the z-word doesn’t appear in this piece. Rothkopf seems a bit cowed by his Israeli host.
And though Rothkopf said frankly in his tweet last week that American Jews once had a duty to support Israel (a useful quote if ever there was one), he shilly-shallies on that assertion.
An increasing number of American Jews who were once almost seen to have a duty to support Israel now [in 2010 and later] found themselves, thanks to their American values – those that held democracy and tolerance and human rights dear – were now discovering they had a duty to question Israel’s top officials and the policies they embraced.
Yakov Hirsch says that the horse is out of the barn.
Every event, like the Rothkopf article itself, breaks another taboo in the discourse and there is no going back. No one is policing the Jewish discourse anymore. And since Israel and Netanyahu are going to continue to behave with impunity and immunity, in this new “war of ideas” era the Israeli “sacred bullshit,” that has worked until now, doesn’t stand a chance anymore. (Think the Forward under Batya Ungar-Sargon. She takes anything. Please read [Jeffrey Goldberg] when he didn’t like an Isabel Kershner piece in the New York Times; that Goldberg browbeating in 2012 is not possible anymore. We have glasnost in Israel Palestinian discourse. (Though not in “anti-Semitism” discourse but that will come as Israel’s behavior becomes more and more indefensible.) Every single day more people are moving over to the side that’s convinced that “moral clarity,” dictates being with the Palestinians. There is no going back.
Memo to Peter Beinart: David Rothkopf is getting out in front of you. Time to catch up!
Meantime, Rothkopf’s friend Jeffrey Goldberg is under attack from David Klion, who writes in Jewish Currents that the Goldberg regime in Jewish thinking is now over.
More than ever, Jeffrey Goldberg’s gatekeeping of opinion on Israel and world Jewry is in crisis… his approach seems exhausted, unable to respond to the scale of the disaster Jewish liberals now confront, from the ultra-orthodox, pro-settlement coalition firmly in charge of Israel to White House-approved antisemitism in the U.S. Obsessively shutting down, belittling, and discouraging genuine progressive voices has not helped contain the far-right, but instead allowed it to grow until it threatens core liberal values. Goldberg undoubtedly sees the threat, but like the rest of the liberal establishment, he has no idea how to counter it. Instead, he’s spent years squashing those on the left who might have some answers.
Though I would say Goldberg is an extremely protean character. The shapeshifter shut down his Israel promotion business when he became Atlantic editor with responsibility for the anti-Trump elites, and is soon to unveil Goldberg the anti-Zionist.