THE PSYCHE of a people with a history under almost constant siege has served as the key unifying agent between Israel and the American Jewish community.
The narrative of the Jewish people surrounded by hostile enemies, and needing the constant support and vigilance of its brethren to survive, is indeed a powerful one. Today, when faced with the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israeli and American Jewish leaders are often quick to compare the current period to 1939 in an effort to demonstrate the urgent need to safeguard a Jewish people under the threat of annihilation.
Of course, Israel was supposed to change all this. The Zionist ideology was about Jews not cowering in fear, but rather about binding together in strength to create a great nation that would protect and defend the Jewish people. And build a great nation they did. Nearly 63 years after its creation, Israel enjoys one of the world’s greatest militaries, a strong economy, advanced technology and an unprecedented partnership with the US. The Jewish people may be more secure, and better off, than ever before.
BUT THE sense of vulnerability among Jews worldwide has become so deeply ingrained that it is hard to recover.
Even dissent against Israeli policies which threaten to upend its remarkable accomplishments is intolerable. Those who do so have often been sidelined and all but discredited within their communities.
Rather than face such “excommunication,” many choose to be silent, but their silence is in turn interpreted as acquiescence and even support.
This cycle has, at times, become so outof- hand that Jewish advocates of Israel have surpassed even Israeli hard-liners in their defense of the Jewish state. Over the past decade, American Jews have contributed more than $200 million to West Bank settlements.
those who point to a supposedly all-powerful Jewish lobby are mistaken. In a recent Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans indicated they sympathized with Israel more than the Palestinians, the highest ratings of support since 1991. Support for Israel is an American interest, certainly not strictly a Jewish one.
via Magazine | Opinion.