American Jews and Israel's Security

(Mosaic) Elliott Abrams - Israel, it is said, has lost touch with young American Jews who are put off by outdated Zionist slogans and appeals for communal solidarity. The fundamental problem is said to reside in the nature of the Israeli polity and the policies of the Israeli government. But perhaps the explanation for the criticism or distancing resides not in Israeli conduct, which is actually a minor factor, but instead almost entirely in the changing nature of the American Jewish community itself. A deeper analysis suggests that we are dealing here with a far broader phenomenon in which sheer indifference may count as much as or more than critical disagreement with Israeli policies. In The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews, Michael Barnett of George Washington University posits a world presenting fewer and fewer physical threats to Jews. But what are the present-day realities? To Israel's north in Syria sits Islamic State (IS), a brutal and murderous Islamist terrorist group of growing global vitality. To the east, Jordan is now burdened by roughly 1.3 million Syrian refugees, the eventual economic and political impact of whose presence cannot be measured. And somewhat farther east sits Iran, busily building its ballistic-missile program in service of the clear path to a nuclear bomb allowed by last November's six-power agreement, while also mobilizing Hizbullah and its own Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) troops just miles from Israel in Syria. To the south lies Sinai, riddled now with IS and other terrorist groups that, despite efforts by the regime in Cairo, are growing in size. Almost each day brings another Palestinian terrorist attack, in a series that has reached over 200 stabbings, 80 shootings, and 40 vehicular attacks, with dozens killed and hundreds wounded. And has not Europe, where in city after city Jews are warned not to walk in the street displaying any sign of their religion, abandoned its Jews to the new anti-Semitism? The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.

2016-04-15 00:00:00

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