Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg said there will be an “immediate crisis” in Democratic Party support for Israel if the country annexes the Jordan Valley, as its leaders have vowed to do beginning in July.
Asked where US-Israel relations are headed in an American Jewish Committee discussion last Friday, Goldberg said:
We’re looking at the Israeli government possibly annexing land in the Jordan Valley. That is going to cause a crisis. That specifically is going to cause, in the political context, a crisis with the Democratic Party.
It seems as if the Trump administration– Mike Pompeo, Jared Kushner and so on– are behind that. That’s going to cause an immediate crisis.
The longer term trends don’t seem that helpful to me but I want to acknowledge that I don’t know where it’s headed. I think two things can be true. The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has been remarkably stable for generations. The majority of Americans still have a positive feeling for Israel. But in the younger generation especially, especially on the leftwardside of the ledger, and there are many more young people on that side than on the right side, especially now, I think that’s changing….
The secret of Israel’s political success in America is that it has Democratic friends and Republican friends. It is not a partisan cause or has not been a partisan cause. If it becomes a partisan cause, then all bets are off.
Israel is making plans to annex far more than the Jordan Valley, but also many settlement blocs in the West Bank, about 30 percent of the territory in all.
Former Senator Joe Lieberman made a similar comment about Israel becoming politicized yesterday:
Israel “will be an issue” in the presidential campaign this year “because there is, on the left of the Democratic Party, a group that is not as reflexively pro-Israel as the Democratic Party has been through most of my life.”
The American Jewish Committee is itself indicating that it will do nothing to criticize Israeli annexation. Its director, David Harris, won’t even call it annexation, but “extension of Israeli sovereign law.”
“You don’t have to agree with every Israeli government decision, you don’t have to like every Israeli leader, you can dispute this or that Israeli decision, whether on settlements, or what might or might not be done on the extension of Israeli sovereign law. Those are all legitimate questions of debate and negotiation.”
P.S. Jeffrey Goldberg has moved on from his old role as the voice of the Jewish community. On the AJC call, he was asked what he thought was the best way to rebuild the black-Jewish relationship after many ruptures, and refused to answer.
“That’s not my job. I’m not commenting. I’m a journalist. I just analyze problems. I’m not here to provide solutions. That’s why you have an American Jewish Committee. I appreciate the question, but I can’t go down that road.”