Contrary to Gerald M. Steinberg’s caricature, the American Jewish community does not criticize Israel simply out of a naïve obsession with humanitarianism (“Beyond Tikkun Olam: An Agenda For Tisha b’Av,” Opinion, July 19).
Jews in America judge Israeli policy by standards of national security as much as social justice. The two are interwoven, not mutually exclusive.
Peace and human rights are not the only grounds for objection to, say, Israel’s callous treatment of Palestinians, its settlement expansion or its scorn for peace talks.
These policies are also bad strategy. Justly or not, they deepen Israel’s isolation and unpopularity, inviting sanctions. They deflect opportunities for negotiation, while settlements steadily squeeze the scope for bargaining in a final-status agreement.
Steinberg poses a false choice between tikkun olam and Israel’s security. Today, American Jews are not falling for it.