There are times when those on the Left arise to defend Israel and end up proving, ironically, that American liberalism’s break with the Jewish state is real and dramatic.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent article defending Israel’s “special relationship” with the U.S. is one such example. He correctly identifies “liberals” as the demographic that is abandoning Israel, but thinks they have legitimate grievances against the Jewish state. In addition, he wrongly blames the growing partisan divide with regards to Israel on a ploy by Netanyahu and the Republicans. The fact that Republican pro-Israel pronouncements are enough to make leftists feel squeamish about sharing the pro-Israel space tells you all you need to know about the depth–or lack thereof–of the Left’s commitment to Israel.
“It is true that Israel’s many friends on Capitol Hill, and many leading figures in the Democratic Party, would work tirelessly to protect Israel’s relationship with America in case of a collision between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister, but it is also true that Israel may one day soon find itself with fewer friends in America — in particular on the coasts and among the elites — than it previously had. Already, the Netanyahu government seems to have acquiesced to a Republican scheme to turn support for Israel in America into a partisan issue, which has obvious dangers for Israel. Particularly among liberals, Israel’s reputation is waning dramatically, and the Arab Spring will only accelerate this trend.”
When Goldberg refers to those “on the coasts” and “among the elites,” he clearly means liberals. Further down he simply states it outright, that support for Israel is “waning” among “liberals.” Goldberg touches on the elephant in the room that liberal Jews will simply not acknowledge.
According to Commentary magazine:
Remarkably, only 39 percent of Democrats agree that Israel’s enemies are our enemies, while 70 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independents do. A plurality (42 percent) of Democrats do let on that Obama’s approach in criticizing Israel but not the Palestinians is objectionable, but that figure once again is far lower than it is for Republicans (68 percent) and independents (57 percent). Should Jerusalem remain Israel’s undivided capital? Sixty-three percent of Republicans agree, but only a plurality of Democrats (42 percent) do. Who’s responsible for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Seventy-three percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents say it is the Palestinians fault; only 46 percent of Democrats agree.
Goldberg is accurate that there are many Democratic leaders who firmly support Israel, including Steny Hoyer, Henry Waxman and Howard Berman. However, support for Israel is still much stronger among Republican representatives. In 2009, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the now disgraced Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes; 33 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against the resolution. But Goldberg, instead of questioning this lack of support for Israel among leftists and Democrats, criticizes Netanyahu and the Republicans for attempting to turn support for Israel into a “partisan issue.” This is a false observation. To the extent that support of Israel is becoming a partisan issue, it is not because of the devious plans of Netanyahu and the Republicans, it is because that is the unfortunate reality of the situation. If Goldberg is seriously concerned about the lack of support for Israel in America, he should advise his readers to vote for Republicans.
Later on, Goldberg makes it seem as though leftists who are growing tired of Israel have legitimate reasons:
The West Bank has been occupied now for 44 years. It is increasingly difficult to argue that the occupation is impermanent. I believe Americans still have a benevolent understanding of Israel — that it is a plucky democratic outpost and a haven for an oppressed people in an inhospitable part of the world. This perception, to my mind, is not wrong. But this interpretation of Israel dissipates with each year of occupation. Israel is popular in America in part because Americans believe, to borrow the most famous cliché in Middle East policymaking, that the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. But more and more — and I hear this every week now — Americans, in particular those who pay attention to these things, believe that it is Israel that is missing opportunities to reach a compromise with the Palestinians. If, over time, Israel becomes unrecognizable to Americans, it will lose.
Here Goldberg is making excuses for those leftists who do not support Israel. If Americans sincerely feel the way Goldberg describes, that Israel is “missing opportunities to reach a compromise with the Palestinians,” then they are not clear thinkers. Who exactly does Mr. Goldberg want Israel to compromise with? Hamas and Fatah are on the verge of reuniting. How can Israel negotiate with an entity that includes Hamas, who openly calls for the destruction of Israel?
This is all preposterous. There have never been a people in the history of humanity less deserving of a country than the Palestinians. Palestinian society promotes hate and death. After 9/11, Palestinian civilians could be seen celebrating in the streets, handing out candy. Palestinian streets are named to commemorate terrorists, who murder innocent Israelis.
Nonetheless, the Palestinians have been offered their own state several times, including in 1947 when they rejected the offer, as the neighboring Arab countries launched war on Israel. In 2000, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, they rejected their own state and initiated the second intifada. Then again in 2008 Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a state of their own and they refused. What people like Mr. Goldberg fail to understand is that the creation of a Palestinian state is not the goal of the Palestinians or the hard-core Israel haters here in America. Their stated goal is to destroy all of Israel.
Conversely, Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. It has a culture, history and tradition that is completely original, and worthy of defending and conserving. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, where Judaism was born. In addition, the Jews have a unique history of being oppressed. They were outcasts in every society they have lived, dating back two thousand years ago when they were expelled from Israel, and culminating with the Holocaust, where the Nazis nearly exterminated the entire Jewish race (which is the goal of Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamists). Contrary to the Palestinians, there have never been a people more deserving of a homeland than the Jews. Yet Israel is the most hated country in the world.
The leftist and human rights advocates who truly want to help people in need, instead of hounding Israel to make suicidal concessions to a people bent on their destruction, should lobby on behalf of the Kurds, the Tibetans or the Sudanese. If they are determined to help the Palestinian cause, instead of lobbying against Israel, they should focus their energy on reforming Palestinian society, and particularly on defeating Hamas in Gaza.