Why aren’t Jews outraged by Israeli occupation?
During this year’s AIPAC conference in Washington, Executive Director Howard Kohr warned the 7,000-plus crowd that the global movement to “delegitimize Israel” was gathering steam.
“These voices are laying the predicate for an abandonment,” he said. His sentiments were almost apocalyptic: “The stakes in that battle are nothing less than the survival of Israel, linked inexorably to the relationship between Israel and the United States. In this battle we are the firewall, the last rampart.”
The age of Barack Obama has unleashed a global wave of Jewish unease over Israel’s future and the Diaspora’s relationship to the self-described Jewish state. It’s a debate that is long overdue.
Zionist organizations in Australia campaigned loudly in May against the allegedly “anti-Semitic” play Seven Jewish Children, a ten-minute think-piece written by an English playwright accusing Jews of complicity in violence against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
A Jewish columnist for The New York Times, Roger Cohen, argued in June that the key word among Palestinians now is “humiliation.”
“It’s not good for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the Jewish soul,” he wrote. The Jewish Week editor chastised him for such views – for “the anger, blame and one-sidedness of his argument” – and wondered “whose heart has grown brutal?”
An upcoming academic conference at York University in Toronto exploring the “one-state, bi-national solution” to the conflict was slammed last week by Gerald M. Steinberg, chair of the Department of Political Science at Bar Ilan University, for fueling “the vicious warfare and mass terror” against Israelis and Palestinians.
The decades-old ability of Zionist groups to manage the public narrative of Israeli victimhood is breaking down. Damning critics has therefore become a key method of control.
But, writes Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald, a leading Jewish-American blogger, “whereas these smear tactics once inspired fear in many people, now they just inspire pity. They no longer work.”
He may be overly optimistic, but alternative Jewish voices are rising who are less concerned with being accused of “self-hatred” or treachery. They see it as their duty to damn what is wrong and not simply support Israeli government policies.
A thinking, more enlightened Judaism is emerging, a necessity in the face of apartheid realities. The cause is human rights, not Zionist exclusion.
Full article on antonyloewenstein.com