May 5, 2010
In my recent blog entitled
Reason and US-Israel Tensions
I wrote about the hyperbole and exaggeration that tends to infuse Jewish community discussions about the relations between the United States and Israel—-especially in the age of Obama.
Now comes a very thoughtful op/ed (http://www.forward.com/articles/127609/ ) by J.J. Goldberg an author (Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment) and columnist for The Forward.
He insightfully agrues that the recent kerfuffle in Israel US relations reveals a disturbing trend in American Jewish leadership’s policy, “we have developed a habit of staking out firm positions on abiding principles of fair play that have an unfortunate tendency to change while we’re not looking.” The result of this rigid adoption of Israeli governmental positions as holy writ is that the American Jewish community is the loser, “we are going to end up looking silly.” Indeed we have.
Our Manhattan-based leadership is imbued with the notion that any perceived differences between the public posture of the American Jewish community and Israel’s positions will lead down a “slippery slope” to abandonment and isolation of Israel by American political leadership. As a result, our leadership often competes to be the most vigorous supporter of policies that can and do change—Israel is, after all, a nation state with myriad interests and priorities. Our leaders then have to do a quick dance to rationalize the new attitude. They, and we, look silly in the process.
Not every criticism is dangerous or wrong; indeed, there may well be times when Israel’s leaders welcome the pressure to help them deal with the byzantine politics that permeate Israel’s Knesset.