One of my pet hates, are the (especially) liberal critics – often Jews – who line up to give Israel a kicking. With that in mind, let me quote from a piece by Jonathan Tobin in Commentary. His contribution deals with a New Yorker article by Connie Bruck that is firmly aimed at AIPAC, and claims that group’s influence is on the wane:
But Bruck’s main point in a piece where she tries hard to work in quotes from the organization’s critics is not so much as to try and make a weak case about it losing ground on Capitol Hill. Rather it is to claim that AIPAC is out of touch with liberal American Jews who are increasingly distancing themselves from the Jewish state and who view Israel’s center-right government with distaste.
This is the same argument put forward over and over again by people like author Peter Beinart, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, and was rehashed in the same newspaper on Sunday in another lengthy rant by British analyst Antony Lerman. They believe Israel’s refusal to make peace and insistence on occupation and rough treatment of the Palestinians disgusts most liberal Jews in the Diaspora, especially the youth that has grown up in an era in which the Jewish state is seen as a regional superpower rather than as the one small, besieged nation in the midst of Arab enemies determined to destroy it.
But the problem with this argument is that no matter how many times liberal critics of Israel tell us how disillusioned they are with the reality of a Jewish state at war, they invariably neglect, as did Lerman and Bruck, to discuss why it is that the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews see things differently. The point is, no matter how unsatisfactory the status quo may seem to most Israelis, unlike their Diaspora critics, they have been paying attention to events in the Middle East during the last 20 years since the Oslo Accords ushered in an era of peace negotiations. They know that Israel has repeatedly offered the Palestinian Authority peace deals that would have given them an independent Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem and that it has been turned down flat every time.
A key point, not to be casually overlooked.
As is this observation about the state of American or diaspora Jewry:
It is true that American Jewry is changing in ways that may eventually cripple its ability to be a coherent force on behalf of Israel as well as its other vital interests. But, contrary to the liberal critics, that has little to do with the policies of Israeli governments and everything to do with statistics about assimilation and intermarriage that speak to a demographic collapse of non-Orthodox Jewry.
In other words, there may be a disconnect between Israel and some diaspora Jewry, but politics has little to do with that state of affairs.
Israel’s (so-called) liberal critics think they know better than anyone else. They know what is best for Israel more than the people of Israel. That’s an arrogance which is not backed up by facts, five star analysis, or blinding logic. So, they are in a bad way to start off with! Mostly their position is just backed up by rant after rant after rant. Tobin’s observation, at least in part, is that even the rants are wrong.
Read the whole thing, here.