Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib before Election Day in Michigan, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)
We have entered a dark period in American Jewish history. In a letter to US President Donald Trump, nine mainstream Jewish organizations have urged him to embrace a “two-state solution” that almost 85% of Israelis oppose as a lethal threat to national security.
While all the signatories are clearly aligned with the Left, they are hardly fringe groups. The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism represent the leadership of the Reform movement. Joining them were the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; its Rabbinical Assembly; and Mercaz, the Conservative movement’s Zionist affiliate. The Anti-Defamation League possesses what is arguably the most valuable brand in organizational Jewry. Those groups, along with Ameinu and the National Council of Jewish Women, are members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
After years of spin and lies, it’s important to understand where Israel actually stands on the issue of a Palestinian state. In the newly elected Knesset, parties that campaigned on any form of a two-state paradigm will hold only 8% (10 of 120 seats), with an equal number going to radical separatist Arab parties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Center-Right Likud and Benny Ganz’s Center-Left Blue and White – together accounting for 70 seats – advocated variations of the status quo, in which Israel exercises security control over the West Bank while granting broad autonomy to peaceful Arab cities and villages. The remaining 30 seats will go to parties even less willing than Likud to gamble with Israeli security.
Meanwhile, President Trump ran on a GOP platform trusting Israel to know what is necessary for its own security, refusing to force Israel to risk the lives of its citizens and rejecting the widely accepted fallacy that Israel is an occupying power. And he has governed accordingly. His protection of Israel against the depredations of the plainly antisemitic United Nations and International Criminal Court has been extraordinary. His recognition of Jerusalem, the Golan and the truth about both the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “Palestinian refugees” has been long overdue. Longstanding threats of catastrophic Arab eruptions have proved baseless; instead, under Trump, Arab states have become increasingly accepting of the Jewish state.
The signatory organizations have opposed and boycotted every one of President Trump’s pro-Israel successes, defaming and vilifying him at every turn – including accusing him of antisemitism. Likewise, they’ve savaged Israel’s prime minister. Now, they attack Israel’s democracy. They have no credibility, no influence in this White House and they’re not dumb. If they truly believed that they had something useful to offer, they’d work through quiet back channels. Their very public letter cannot plausibly be taken as any kind of good-faith overture.
What are they really doing? The answer is evident, political and ominous. Far from representing the interests of Jews or concern for Israel, these organizations serve an ascendant progressive movement growing more open and aggressive in its antisemitism. The leadership clique of America’s Jewish mainstream is protecting a Democrat Party that no longer resists the anti-Israel BDS movement, that embraces antisemitic hatemongers like Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Socialists of America, and that welcomes into its own ranks anti-Jewish predators like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Rather than fighting the looming threats to the largely assimilated and disaffected American Jewish community they claim to represent, these groups are preemptively blaming Israel and its supporters for the antisemitism promoted by their political fellow travelers.
Their letter is part of a synchronized strategy. J Street simultaneously launched an equally transparent social media campaign urging Democrats to nullify Israel’s democratic process and intensify their rejection of Israel’s efforts to survive. Four of the Congressional Democrats closest to AIPAC threatened Israel that future support is literally contingent on submitting to the Democrats’ demand for an independent state of Palestine in the historic Jewish heartland.
For AIPAC, the value of the illusion of bipartisan consensus has always trumped Israel’s actual policy preferences, especially on the two-state issue. As for the other groups, now that anti-Israelism has become the price of membership on the Left, they’re merely reverting to their roots, drawing upon the radical anti-Zionism of Reform and the socialist bunds that dominated their movements until the actual State of Israel became popular among American Jews.
What makes these campaigns truly grotesque is their duplicity. Not only do they reject Israel’s sovereignty, democracy and security, they do so while claiming to be pro-Israel, “as Jews,” and in the name of Jewish values and democracy. It is because of their aid and comfort that the Democrats are, as a party, surrendering to the same radical Left antisemitism that has overtaken the UK Labour Party. Washington has long seen through these groups’ charade. Now American Jews must as well. Will American Jews follow those who militate against the Jewish State in order to give cover to the Jew-haters in their party, or will they stand up for Israel and the Jewish people and fight to take back their party from the haters?
Jews, it is not too late, but the time has come: Never Again Is Now. Bruce Abramson is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a contributor to the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Jeff Ballabon is CEO of B2 Strategic and a senior fellow at the Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy.
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