Curing the Israel Estrangement Syndrome

(Foreign Policy) James Kirchick - Former New Republic editor Peter Beinart's recent claim in the New York Review of Books of American liberal Jewish estrangement from Zionism is largely based on a two-year-old study by Steven Cohen and Ari Kelman which found that "non-Orthodox younger Jews, on the whole, feel much less attached to Israel than their elders." However, a paper released by researchers at Brandeis University noted: "As American Jews grow older, they tend to become more emotionally attached to Israel," meaning that a survey of young Jews is not necessarily indicative of future beliefs. It also found that "general political orientation on a continuum from 'extremely liberal' to 'extremely conservative' is not related to attachment to Israel." Beinart portrays Israelis as the sole drivers of history, with the Arabs relegated to the role of passive, background characters. The actions of Hizbullah, Hamas, and Iran are not discussed in the 5,000-word piece until four paragraphs from the end. There is no mention that Palestinians voted Hamas into power in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. There is similarly no mention of the murderous anti-Semitism spewed in Palestinian schools, television, radio, and newspapers, or the medieval propaganda sponsored by Iran, Saudi Arabia, or even Egypt. And there is no mention of the poll, conducted just last month by An-Najah University in the West Bank, which found that 77% of Palestinians oppose a two-state solution. At the end of the day, if Beinart truly thinks that the Israeli government is to blame for the current impasse, his problem does not lie with Israel's defenders in the U.S. Rather, his dispute lies with the Israeli electorate, which, after all, voted the Israeli government into power.

2010-05-24 08:34:42

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