Israel-Diaspora Differences

Israel-Diaspora Differences

The disconnect underlying Gary Rosenblatt’s column (“‘I Love Israel, But Does Israel Love Me?’” May 29) is not the discord reported between the views of some liberal American-Jewish leaders and the positions of Israelis representing a right-wing government just elected. It’s the likely misperception of those U.S. Jews attending this JPPI (Jewish Policy Planning Institute), believing they represent mainstream Jewish thinking here, who were frustrated that their J Street-type criticisms [of Israel] were not taken more seriously.

That’s why the Israeli tough love response that was reported — that American Jews should instead “mind their own business,” spend energy on their own assimilation problems and not armchair-direct Israel’s realistic security concerns — does have some resonance. It’s the same message Prime Minister Rabin gave to U.S. “machers” years ago, which also ruffled liberal feathers. 

Consequently, the Israeli message to “back off” — not to undermine this new government’s Palestinian positions again by pushing unrealistic two-state solutions, given Israel’s intractable interlocutors — may be the kind of realpolitik some U.S. Jews really need to hear.   

In Israel, the vote for an even more security-minded government is beyond question. The Likud view of the Mideast conflict still being intractable today remains the majority view.

In the U.S., though, the battle lines for Jewish liberals are not necessarily this same clear-cut, left-right split. There are liberal Jewish “realists” who see the Obama administration’s Mideast and Iranian policies as dangerously naïve.

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