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Jews vs. Zionists

Jun 07, 2010

The long-term trend is that younger Jews are opposing Zionism in increasing numbers. Here is a very striking article on the subject. Ii recommend that youi read it in its entirety in order to understand that opposing Zionism is not the same as being anti-Jewish, though obviously the Zionist movement would like very much to equate the two.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/

Every country manifests some kind of ideological divide. But in contemporary Israel, the gulf is among the widest on earth.

But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.

In 2008, the student senate at Brandeis, the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in America, rejected a resolution commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Jewish state.

Luntz’s task was to figure out what had gone wrong. When he probed the students’ views of Israel, he hit up against some firm beliefs. First, “they reserve the right to question the Israeli position.” These young Jews, Luntz explained, “resist anything they see as ‘group think.’” They want an “open and frank” discussion of Israel and its flaws. Second, “young Jews desperately want peace.” When Luntz showed them a series of ads, one of the most popular was entitled “Proof that Israel Wants Peace,” and listed offers by various Israeli governments to withdraw from conquered land. Third, “some empathize with the plight of the Palestinians.” When Luntz displayed ads depicting Palestinians as violent and hateful, several focus group participants criticized them as stereotypical and unfair, citing their own Muslim friends.

It is unfair, Netanyahu insists, to ask Israel to concede more territory since it has already made vast, gut-wrenching concessions. What kind of concessions? It has abandoned its claim to Jordan, which by rights should be part of the Jewish state.

The article shows the increased division between Israeli and American Jews. The Israeli Jews are becoming increasingly hardline Zionists, while the American Jews are going the other direction.

So when we observe what is going on in the world, we ought to keep in mind that being Jewish is not the same as being a Zionist. I keep these terms distinct as much as possible.


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Dr. Stephen Jones


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