The late civil rights hero John Lewis was a “steadfast” supporter of Israel, lobby groups said in mourning him, even if he did also show concern late in career for Palestinian rights. His likely successor, Nikema Williams, took an Israel-lobby-sponsored trip to Israel two years ago.
The Israel lobby is splitting into two branches. Last week Hadar Suskind of Americans for Peace Now called on the AJC to dissolve over its failure to oppose annexation. Now David Harris of AJC lashed at the liberal Zionists. He railed against “leftwing” “ideologues” in organized Jewish community who play to donors by taking “muscular macho” stands against Israel.
The American Jewish Committee is indicating that it will do nothing to criticize Israeli annexation. Its ceo, David Harris, won’t even call it annexation, but “extension of Israeli sovereign law.”
It’s been 53 years since Israel won 1967 war, and David Harris of the AJC expresses the mythic views of that war he held at 18, when it happened: that Israel faced a second Holocaust and annihilation, and acted in self-defense. Historians have thoroughly revised these distortions.
Many pro-Israel organizations have condemned the systemic racism in the George Floyd killing while remaining silent on Palestinian treatment. J Street did link the Floyd killing to that of Eyad al-Halaq in Jerusalem, but said the US suffers “deeply entrenched… structural racism,” while Palestinians suffer “deeply entrenched occupation.”
“Some of the most evil name-calling and epithet-slinging [against Israel] that takes place is sadly within our own Jewish community,” Laura Shaw Frank of the American Jewish Committee says. Her accusation echoes charges the AJC has made against Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, but “evil” sure ups the ante.
Trump’s decision to assassinate a leading Iranian official in Iraq yesterday has contributed to the split inside the Israel lobby in the United States. Republican Israel supporters celebrate the killing, and see it as destroying the last hope of saving the Iran deal. Many Democratic supporters of Israel are critical of the decision.
If an Israeli saved a child from a lion in the zoo, the headline would be: “Israeli aggressor steals food from hungry animal,” says David Harris of the American Jewish Committee. He is experiencing Zionist fragility over the mildest criticism.
Seffi Kogen of the AJC says IfNotNow is a “radical” fringe of Israel critics in a Jewish community overwhelmingly pro-Israel, but even his boss David Harris disagrees with him. “Every time I hear in a Jewish meeting concerns about our children and their lack of interest in Israel, their apathy about Israel, their hostility to Israel… I ask… What are we doing wrong in our homes? What are we doing wrong in our schools?”