Sunday, August 10, 2014

Foolish Way to Support Israel

8/10/2014—In the last issue of Pittsburgh’s Jewish Chronicle, one of the columnists wrote about the end of J-Street, the Jewish organization that promotes a two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. I don’t remember the name of the columnist, but the same ideas have been circulating generally. Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law Professor who strongly supports Israel has been proclaiming J-Street dead because of the fighting in Gaza.

The basic claim is this—there is no longer a place for moderate two-sided views. You are either for Israel or against it. J-Street would not join rallies pledging support for Israel. Yet neither would it condemn Israel. So, its supporters on the left have abandoned J-Street to join the boycott movement.

It is hard to believe that smart people could be so foolish. If they are right that there is no longer a place for moderate support for Israel along with a commitment to justice for the Palestinian people—and they may be right about that—what do they imagine will be the consequence? Support for Israel is already waning among young Americans. If these leaders insist on a “for or against” stance, increasingly the outcome will be against. Maybe not immediately. But soon.

The news from Gaza actually seems good today. The truce is extended. Israeli talk of going back into Gaza seems to be a negotiating tactic. Some end to the blockade, perhaps under international inspection, seems inevitable. Maybe peace has a small chance.

People like Dershowitz seem to forget that peace is Israel’s only hope. Up until now, the US has assured Israel that it could not be completely isolated internationally. But that may not be true forever.

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