By Ira Sharkansky
Letter from Israel 

Jews and others, there and here

 


In a recent article, Caroline Glick, a staff writer for the Jerusalem Post, takes aim at what she sees developing in the American Jewish community. Her targets include Jews supporting Obama, Clinton, and others of the Democratic Party establishment, their embarrassment at the election of Donald Trump, and their angst about Trump’s nomination of David Friedman as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Things have gone further, with an intemperate speech by John Kerry and a shrill response by Benyamin Netanyahu. If we’re cousins, we’re in the midst of a feverish family squabble.

Kerry expressed his obsessive version of a mantra we’ve heard for years from leftists Jews and others who insist that they are our friends. The essence is that we must do something. If we do not accept a two-state solution, with borders pretty close or identical to those of 1949, we’re destined to accept a one-state solution that could be either Jewish and non-democratic (i.e., Apartheid), or democratic but subject to an non-Jewish majority.


The equivalent nonsense would be to insist that the U.S. and Mexico must unite, given U.S. investments in Mexico, Mexicans living in the U.S., and the miseries suffered by Mexicans in Mexico.

What to do?

Among the options are to ignore Obama, Kerry, and other extremists. They or individuals like them have long been part of what Jews suffer, enjoy, or tolerate. Polls continue to show substantial support for Israel among American Jews and non-Jews, especially those in the center and right of the political spectrum. Trump’s election and Friedman’s appointment signal a significant turn in the postures of the American government. Israeli rightists should not expect to realize the wettest of their dreams, but the country may be free to continue its moderate settlement policies and the kinds of actions—including occasional aggression—it has taken in national defense.

Beyond proposing dramatic ideas on a weekly or more frequent basis, the Palestinian leadership seems as far as ever from leading a united population or capable of reaching a formal agreement with Israel. Despite the frictions, there are numerous accommodations that allow both societies to exist alongside one another peacefully, most of the time. Israeli and West Bank Palestinian casualties from occasional violence, even during last year’s uptick, have been a fraction of what each community suffers from road accidents.

Individual Israelis may lament the carnage among Muslims throughout much of the Middle East. However, their bloodshed is more significant than the pursuit against Israel of leftist Jews and others in America, Israel, or elsewhere for their moral ideals. Not only can Israel anticipate that Muslim warfare will keep those hating us most busy for years to come, but the worries and pragmatism of moderate Muslim governments has expanded those with whom Israel can cooperate. 


Recent incidents in Germany, Switzerland, and Jordan, along with continued carnage in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya have provided more than enough non-Israel busy work for diplomats, politicians, and commentators. 

Obama’s failure to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, then the nastiness of Kerry and Bibi will keep us and American Jews busy for some time. 

Spokespeople for Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu are blaming one another for a breakdown in communications and cooperation. Israelis beyond those usually on the right are accusing the American president and secretary of state of betraying us, and “pissing on the party” of his political opponent who won the election, and has staked out a different policy on Israeli settlements. 

Palestinians are celebrating what they see as international recognition of the justice inherent in their demands, without taking account of the U.S. adherence, at least formally, to the idea of not imposing a future without waiting for negotiations between the parties.

The Security Council resolution and subsequent comments and tweets may do no more than add to the pile of cross national verbiage. Yet if it provokes Palestinian aggression, Israeli countermeasures in the West Bank may replace a period of accommodation with one of serious warfare. If that occurs, the final month of the Obama Administration will be compared with a foolhardy Cairo speech of its first year, which contributed initially to Arab Spring but then to the greater wave of Arab Winter.

We have to live alongside extremist Jews and others of the left and right. The noise, and occasionally worse, has long been part of the Jewish phenomena, and shows no sign of going away.

Comments welcome. Irashark@gmail.com.

 

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