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.