Peter Beinart’s abandonment of belief in the Jewish state has caused Congress members to question two-state belief. Why such influence? Because Beinart was part of the liberal Zionist Israel lobby, and his loss of faith threatens the lobby’s power politics not to mention a solemn commitment by the west to a Jewish state.
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.”
Benny Gantz was unable to form a “minority” governing coalition in Israel because members of his own party refused to work with Palestinian legislators. This racism ought to be widely known and denounced in American liberal Zionist circles, where Gantz is a hero. But it’s not. Israeli racism is sanitized once again.
Dan Shapiro and Michael Koplow say the U.S. made a “moral commitment” to Israel as a democracy against countless threats 71 years ago and the U.S. has a strategic interest in preserving Israel as a democracy, or the morality of the relationship will be undermined. The possibility that we should distance ourselves from Israel because it’s persecuting Palestinians is simply off the table for these liberal Zionists. Though progressive Democrats increasingly feel that way.
American Jews feel “shame” and “despair” and disappointment with Israel, and are so tired of fighting over it that they are starting to lose interest, says Rabbi Ayelet Cohen of the New Israel Fund. Some rabbis are dropping it from Hebrew school curricula and no one notices, she says.
The success of the Palestinian Joint List in the Israeli election has given hope to liberal Zionist groups for a post-Netanyahu era of non-discrimination and a better international image. Though there is little in Israeli Jewish politicians’ conduct to support the hope, Ayman Odeh of the Joint List will be speaking to J Street next month.
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?”
The New Israel Fund (NIF) has partnered with The Israel Football Association (IFA) to form a new campaign called “Kick Racism Out of Israeli Football”. However, during the initial stages of this new partnership the IFA chose to segregate the Israeli children’s national football league in Israel’s Triangle area which is home to the majority of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.