Jewish Journal


When Rabbi Yoffie talks about ‘disconnect’‎

by Shmuel Rosner

June 26, 2012 | 11:24 am

An Israeli flag fluttering over a view of the West Bank settlement of Ofra (Photo: Reuters)

Rabbi Eric Yoffie writes:‎

The disconnect that mainstream U.S. Jews feel toward the Jewish state is driven ‎by the settlement movement , the NRA of Israel, which continues its fanatic, ‎unrelenting drive to expand into every corner of the territories. The only way to ‎re-engage US Jews and Israel is for the Israeli government to stand up to the ‎settlers - now.‎

He also writes that:‎

These two developments - increasing U.S. Jewish disconnection and the Israeli ‎government’s expansion of settlements - are intimately related. ‎

I respect Rabbi Yoffie too much to assume that he has no proof with which to back up ‎these claims – but one should still ask the question: Where’s the proof? Where’s the ‎proof of “disconnect” - and where is the proof informing us that “disconnect” is due to ‎‎“expansion of settlements”? ‎

Not long ago, a detailed study of New York Jews was published from which one ‎could draw one of two possible conclusions:‎

‎1.‎ There is no disconnecting.‎
‎2.‎ There is disconnecting because of interfaith marriages. ‎

However the search for the reasons and the signs of “disconnect” never seems to get ‎tired – from which one can also draw two possible conclusions: ‎

‎1.‎ Old habits die hard.‎
‎2.‎ Studies fail to reflect a reality that is evident to all (but the researchers). ‎

Conclusion number 1 is really a certainty. Conclusion number 2 is something one has ‎to seriously ponder before one rejects it. In the paper on the “era of distancing ‎discourse” that I published not long ago I refer to such possibility:‎

A word of caution is advised here as this paper, and all of the studies it relies ‎upon, are based on an implicit assumption that the types of changes or erosion in ‎attachment to Israel will occur gradually, in a linear fashion. It is a reasonable ‎assumption, as so many changes in opinion, affect, and life choices do seem to ‎correspond to such a dynamic. However, we cannot dismiss the possibility of a ‎more sudden, unexpected and rapid change in attitudes. Such development might ‎not be detected by surveys and studies prior to the actual passing of a certain ‎tipping point. ‎

Does Yoffie see something no study thus far has been able to validate? Or is he ‎guilty of using unsubstantiated assertions (of distancing) to make a point (that ‎settlement policy should be changed)? As I said, he is a serious man. That’s why I ‎wouldn’t hasten to discount his claims. ‎


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