Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dear American Jews

Gideon Levy has an excellent opinion piece in Haaretz today, on the occasion of the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America meeting in New Orleans. I encourage you to read it all. Some excerpts:

Your beloved Israel is addicted. It is addicted to occupation and aggression, and someone has to wean it from these addictions. Like any other junkie, it is incapable of helping itself. Thus the job falls to you.

You live in a black-and-white country. But Israel is neither black nor white. It's not as terrible as it is often painted abroad, but neither is it as righteous as it will be presented to you. Above all, it is a country whose arrogant behavior is making it despised.

You, dear brothers and sisters, have enormous political power. Sometimes, I think it is too enormous: One day, it will blow up in your faces. But it is possible to use this power for something more than a despicable witch-hunt after every congressman who dares to criticize Israel.

The town is burning, Jews. Israeli democracy is being torn apart; soon, it will no longer be possible to talk about "the only democracy in the Middle East," as you so love to do. The occupation is also growing both more entrenched and more crushing; already, it is almost impossible to talk abut a two-state solution.

And Yossi Sarid, in another Haaretz opinion piece, has a few words for conference delegates as well:

If you really care about Israel, delegates, you should remember when you stand and cheer that Netanyahu freely chose an extreme, nationalist, xenophobic, clerical coalition. He could have an alternative coalition at any time, but he rejects it for reasons of convenience and political survival.

His coalition also ignores you. Most of you belong to the Conservative or Reform movements, and his natural partners despise you. As long as you are there, sending money and applauding, fine. But if you want to become more involved, or send your children or grandchildren, be warned, they will be thoroughly investigated.

Israel today, as expressed by the Netanyahu-Yishai-Lieberman coalition, recognizes only support for settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, only people who fund their provocations have the right to speak.

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