I am deeply disturbed by a couple of recent articles in The Jewish Week that examine the views of American Jews toward Israel. First, Peter Beinart expresses a viewpoint in his interview with Eric Herschthal (“Liberal Zionism’s Champion,” Nov. 26) that is far from the liberal Zionism he claims to ascribe to. Mr. Beinart claims Israel is not a democracy outside the 1967 borders. However, Israel has no military presence in Gaza, and its military presence in the West Bank is necessary for the protection of Jews living in it. The Palestinian Authority has jurisdiction over most of the West Bank. Remember, in 1948, the Arabs’ response to being offered the West Bank as part of a future Arab State was to declare war immediately after Israel declared its independence.
Secondly, the dilemma Beinart constructs between supporting Israel and being committed to democracy is false. Israel is not a perfect democracy, but it is far better than any other country in the region.
The most troubling aspect of Julie Wiener’s Dec. 10 article about Israel education in the United States (“New Consensus Seen Emerging on Israel Education”) comes after quoting Jerusalem Online University President Amy Holtz that, "It’s all about getting the kids to think and reach their own conclusions,” Then Ms. Wiener adds, "As long as they do not conclude that Israel has no right to exist." This is a disgraceful statement. Israel has every right to exist.
I understand The Jewish Week’s desire to paint a fair and balanced picture of Israel. To engage in legitimate criticism of Israeli policy is good, and, hopefully, productive. To seem to question or deny Israel’s right to exist is not.