Thursday, May 08, 2014

Israel and liberal American Jewry are going in different directions

By Ted Belman
(form Israpundit)
The New Republic just published a controversial article titled American Jewry Is Doomed If It Can’t Embrace J Street,  The author, a Harvard Professor contends “If organized American Jewry cannot find a place for J Street’s form of young, liberal, humanistic Judaism, it is dooming itself to shrinking through attrition and retreating to the self-destructive corner that Israel’s conservatives have been pushing it toward for two generations.” In fact it is J Street that is dooming itself by existing outside the pale. Liberal Jews are dying out, through assimilation and intermarriage while conservative nationalist and orthodox Jews are thriving in both Israel and America. The future is with them.
In addition , J Street with its anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian policies do not represent the majority of liberal Jews and cannot speak for them. It is a fringe movement.
The author Yochai Benkler, a former Israeli and now Harvard professor, in making his case trots out the erroneous population data that the left so embraces. This data has been proven wrong so many times, that one must conclude that the professor is exhibiting willful blindness. He keeps pushing the idea that Israel must choose between being democratic or Jewish. The true demographics say otherwise.
The number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is 1.66 million, in Gaza about 1.8 million and in Israel, 1.7 million totally 5.26 rather than 6.1 million claimed by the author. Israel has no interest in annexing Gaza.  If Israel annexed Judea and Samaria the Jews would constitute a 2/3 majority in the combined territories. Therefore there would be no need to “either stop being Jewish or stop being democratic” as claimed by the author.
Furthermore he laments the fact that the orthodox and the nationalists are growing stronger in Israel.  He prefers the American model where the liberal Jews are dying out through intermarriage and assimilation. Why should Israel emulate them. 
He claims “an American Jewish community that will support Israel even if it chooses to lose its democratic character rather than its Jewish character will ultimately lose the next generations of American Jews, who will simply turn away in disgust from a state that represents a Judaism that cannot be squared with the rest of their identity.” To my mind, they have already been lost and Israel would be too if it follwed their path and policies.

No comments: