Enmeshed in the battle against Israel’s delegitimization, mainstream American Jewish organizations are embracing a strategy of acknowledging what’s wrong about Israel as a way of getting across what’s right about the nation. The strategy is hardly fresh -- the New Israel Fund claims it has been doing this for years. But the recent outspokenness of advocates of the approach reflects concerns among U.S. Jewish establishment organizations that defending Israel in the public arena will not resonate without credibly addressing what some characterize as the deterioration of Israel’s civil society. The American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism have delivered broadsides in recent days against recent Israeli government initiatives targeting nongovernmental groups in Israel that monitor human rights. Last week, the Knesset approved in a preliminary reading a bill that would investigate the funding sources of nongovernmental groups that monitor and criticize the Israeli army.
The call for American Jewish organizations to support the current peace efforts came from an unexpected direction: Israel's Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger.