Ameinu (Heb. “Our People”) is a national, multi-generation community of progressive Zionist North American Jews that believes that “a secure peace between Israel and its neighbors is essential to the survival of the democratic Jewish state.” Ameinu is committed to a “negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Thankfully, this is no longer the position solely of progressive Zionists. PM Netanyahu and a majority of Israel’s Knesset members support this proposition today, as do a majority of Israelis and Palestinians polled in recent surveys.
Yet, cynicism from the right, distortions from the left and distrust between our two peoples make negotiations complicated and difficult going forward.
I have always believed that the more one understands what the truths are on all sides of the conflict, the better prepared one is to support reasonable options that guarantee security for both the Palestinians and Israelis in an end-of-conflict two-state peace agreement.
To this purpose has Ameinu produced a readable and helpful 25-page pamphlet called “The Third Narrative: Progressive Answers To The Far Left’s Critiques of Israel.”
The pamphlet was written by Dan Fleshler, a media and public affairs strategist and author of Transforming America’s Israel Lobby – The Limits Of Its Power and the Potential For Change (Potomac Books, 2009). Fleshler is a frequent contributor of Op-eds and features in The New York Times Opinionator, Jerusalem Report, Forward, New York Jewish Week, Ha’Aretz, Reform Judaism magazine and other publications. He serves as a board member of Ameinu and American’s for Peace Now and on the Advisory Council of J Street.
This booklet addresses most of the accusations against Israel that one might find on the Web, on college and university campuses and in other settings. As Fleshler notes in the introduction:
“Some of these attacks come from the far left, from activists trying to appeal to Jews and non-Jews who are committed to human rights and social justice. Often, these critics are not just attacking specific, objectionable Israeli policies and behavior. They treat Israel as the epitome of evil. They portray the entire Zionist enterprise…as nothing more than a racist, colonialist and immoral land theft.”
The booklet head-on addresses the following assertions:
• Is Israel An “Apartheid State?”
• Is One, Binational State A Solution To the Israel-Palestinian Conflict?
• Is Pro-Israel And Progressive An Oxymoron?
• Should Palestinian Refugees And Their Descendants Be Granted the “Right of Return?”
• Should Boycotts, Divestment And Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel Be Encouraged?
• Does Zionism = Racism?
• Is “Ethnic Cleansing” Inherent To Zionism?
• Does The Pro-Israel Lobby Have A Stranglehold On The U.S. Government?
As Israel and the Palestinians prepare to enter into negotiations, many of these canards will be raised by the left and by the Palestinians themselves. It is important that the Jewish public possesses informed responses. To that end, Fleshler and Ameinu suggest that the history of Zionism, Israel and the rise of Palestinian nationalism are complex, and that there are multiple truths that must be acknowledged by Jews on the left and right, and by Palestinians themselves.
The following appeared in the Times of Israel about Ameinu’s progressive Zionist approach.
You can learn more about the Third Narrative at http://thirdnarrative.org/
Those interested in acquiring a copy of the pamphlet, call Ameinu at (212) 366 1194 or refer to its website – www.ameinu.net.