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Why young Jews don't trust what their institutions say about Israel

Growing up, I found that the Conservative movement embraced nuanced approaches to Torah, yet that critical approach never extended to discussions of Israel. Questioning Zionism was verboten. 

By Eliana Fishman

A pro-Israel rally, Washington D.C, July 18, 2014 (photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

A pro-Israel rally, Washington D.C, July 18, 2014 (photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

It was the summer before eighth grade at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, a Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative Movement. I was 12 years old. Each camper was handed a copy of Mitchell Bard’s Myths and Facts, long considered a foundational hasbara textbook, and we were told that the author would be coming to speak to us.

Most campers ignored the book and didn’t pay much attention to Bard’s presentation. One particularly precocious camper, who actually read through the book, took the time to highlight misleading arguments and logical inconsistencies, and challenged the author during his lecture. Bard made light of the critiques and brushed them aside, insisting that every accusation against Israel was rooted in anti-Semitism, and that there was no way human rights violations had anything to do with Palestinian discontent.

No Palestinians — and not even a liberal Zionist — were ever invited to speak. By inviting Bard to talk without challenge or counterpoint, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires effectively taught us that the occupation was an anti-Semitic myth.

I grew up at the intersection of the Modern Orthodox and Conservative Jewish communities of New York City. Five days a week, I attended an Orthodox day school, where we learned that the Torah came from God, and that any inconsistency in the text can be explained by ruach hakodesh, prophetic foresight. On Shabbat, at my family’s Conservative-affiliated minyan, or prayer community, Jewish academics shared divrei torah, literally words of Torah, suggesting that the Book of Esther was a Judaization of the fertility myths of Ishtar and Marduk. They sketched out models for understanding inconsistencies in the Torah as proof of a multiplicity of biblical authors, and different eras of the text’s construction. Learning non-traditional interpretations as a child strengthened my relationship to Torah, and ensured that critical approaches to text do not threaten my religious practice.

American Jews from IfNotNow march at an anti-occupation protest, San Francisco, October 9, 2016.)

American Jews from IfNotNow march at an anti-occupation protest, San Francisco, October 9, 2016.)

While the Conservative movement embraced nuanced Talmud Torah, that approach never extended to discussions of Israel. The blind support for Israel found in Conservative movement spaces, on the other hand, is reminiscent of a far more Orthodoxy approach to Torah study and Jewish thought.

No one within the Conservative movement ever discussed the rabbinic texts that oppose the Jewish people’s return to the Land of Israel. Questioning Zionism was verboten. And no one knew, and still, to this day no one knows what the occupation looks like.

In May, I joined the Center for Jewish Nonviolence for a week of Palestinian solidarity work in the West Bank. Since returning, I have been discussing my experiences with some of my parents’ Conservative friends — the same friends who visit Israel annually, send their children on year-long trips there, comfortably speak Hebrew, and identify as liberal Zionists. Friends who compare various South Jerusalem synagogues and minyanim and read the latest Hebrew novels, but have never visited the Educational Bookstore, a prominent East Jerusalem landmark covered in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with novels and political analyses by Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Egyptian writers.

American Jews from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence meet with Palestinians in the West Bank. (Gili Getz)

American Jews from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence meet with Palestinians in the West Bank. (Gili Getz)

I told them about how Israeli forces prevented a group of American Jews from going on a Breaking the Silence tour of Hebron while allowing a right-wing delegation to pass unhindered. I told them about a settler drone that came and took aerial photos of a Palestinian village. I told them about the complex systems of laws, military orders, and arbitrary decisions that comprise the daily nightmare that is life under occupation. They were dumbfounded. Because they don’t know, and they don’t want to learn. Their love for Israel requires them to ignore the occupation.

I won’t ignore the occupation, just like I reject simplistic interpretations of Torah.

My relationship to Torah is stronger because it is simultaneously a divine text, a primary source, a work of literature, an ethics manual, and the cornerstone of my people’s canon. My gratitude is to those teachers and commentators who were not afraid that presenting their own textual and theological doubts would somehow delegitimize Torah, demonize God, or hold Jewish narratives to a double standard.

If only Camp Ramah had the same confidence and was willing to tell their campers about the human rights abuses and unequal “justice” systems in the West Bank, and about the resource disparities between East and West Jerusalem. That honesty could have led a generation of Conservative Jews to trust what their religious institutions say about Israel. Instead, my generation knows that whatever the Conservative movement says about Israel is likely misleading, and missing a significant chunk of the story.

Eliana Fishman is a graduate student at Columbia University studying Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. This piece is a part of IfNotNow’s #YouNeverToldMe campaign. For more information, visit younevertoldme.org

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    1. Ben

      “I have been discussing my experiences with some of my parents’ Conservative friends — the same friends who visit Israel annually, send their children on year-long trips there, comfortably speak Hebrew, and identify as liberal Zionists…I told them about [the occupation]. They were dumbfounded. Because they don’t know, and they don’t want to learn.”

      Think about it. Think about how crazy that is.

      Folks, please donate today to +972 Magazine. They need your support. They are among the few who are telling the truth. So that people will know. And some people do want to learn.

      Reply to Comment
      • Naftali

        Oh wow, how did we miss the situation in Israel till Eliana came from America to tell everyone what is really going on? The sheer arrogance is amazing as is the virtue signalling. Eliana will have you think that Israels want constant war and terror and death and their children dying from rockets raining down on them and Iran threatening them, but she wants peace and love.

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          No, it’s not Eliana doing the brainwashing, it’s the GoI. The GoI will have you think that Palestinians want constant war and terror and death and their children dying from rockets raining down on them, but the GoI just wants peace and love. Fixed that for you.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Naftali, I think what you missed, in its entirety, is what Eliana Fishman wrote on this page. She wrote that she came back from Israel and tried to tell Americans what is going on, not the reverse. And that when she did that she learned that they had no idea, and less interest in finding out. (I suspect, but don’t know, that she thinks many Israelis know full well what is going on and don’t care, and that, as well, many Israelis live just a few kilometers from the West Bank but have almost as little idea of what is really going on as an American in the Berkshires, and don’t want to know.) And she is not the only one to say that, and for every American Jew like Eliana Fishman that you want to talk down to–in my view you are the supremely arrogant one, not her–I can find you ten Israelis who could tell you to your face what you don’t want to hear and do it with the authority of long, firsthand experience you can’t talk down to. I can find ten right here on the masthead of +972 Magazine. You cannot dismiss these people as ignorant American “virtue signalers.” +972 Magazine gave Fishman space to write. But Noam Sheizaf and most +972 Magazine writers are Israelis and they know the real deal. And that’s your problem. What you are doing here, that I can see, is nothing more than pulling a card, the standard Israeli patronizing, condescending arrogance towards American Jews card. But you know what? It’s not working like it used to:

          Liberal American Jews’ Feelings Towards Israel Now Include Conspicuous Contempt
          read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.811600

          Reply to Comment
          • Naftali

            The +972 crowd are a tiny minority in Israel who have a loud voice because they are funded by anti-Israel groups as are Btselem, Breaking the Silence.

            They want to circumvent democracy by demonizing Israel in order to pressure the government to go against the will of the people. There are NO limits to what this radical Left will do to achieve their goal.

            So Eliana came to Israel, talked to those who agree with her, declared that the rest of Israelis don’t care and runs to America to tell American Jews who don’t care. She lives in America but she cares but the Israelis who live here don’t know and don’t care? Amazing. None of these people by the way wonder how is it that they and the lunatic mullahs of Iran say the same things about Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            A few things:

            It is evident, Naftali, that the decisive majority of Israelis don’t care. You don’t have to talk to select people to know this. You just have to be sentient, read, and talk to most people.

            It is, I agree, an absolute scandal that Breaking the Silence exists and in the numbers they do. Normal western democracies do not have this kind of soldiers’ organization. The number of soldiers coming forward and saying, and in concrete and specific, credible detail, that something is rotten, is remarkable and you should indeed see them as the canaries in the coal mine. Breaking the Silence is the incontrovertible evidence something is rotten. You had better pay attention is my advice. Because the only response the Right has so far is “they are traitors doing it for the money.” And that is flatly unbelievable and has astounding embedded anti-Semitic imagery in it. The right wing has no credible answer. None.

            Your word choices say much about you. “Demonizing Israel…anti-Israel”—these are the most hackneyed propaganda terms, meaningless name calling. I’m surprised you left out that favorite hack word, “delegitimizing.” “Radical left”—another propaganda term. Redolent of fascism—that is, redefine anything that is not “the will of the people” to be “radical left.” (See Tomer Persico, below.)

            “Tiny minority”—first of all, its not so “tiny” but regardless of its true size, “tiny minority” is another way of saying that the minority does not count and we can persecute them because they are “against the will of the people and if the Supreme Court disagrees we will pass laws that go around it because the Supreme Court is ‘circumventing’ our popular will.”

            “…circumvent democracy…go against the will of the people”—this is fascist language—I’m not using the term lightly or fashionably. The United States has a Constitution and a tripartite government with the Supreme Court being truly independent and being a bulwark against the tyranny of the majority. (Key concept in US elementary school civics classes. The American Founders built this in very clearly. In the USA no one would even think about getting away with a bill that would bypass the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Well, Trump would think of it but he couldn’t get away with it.)

            So your charge that the left “circumvents democracy” by appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court and to concepts of universal human rights and basic laws is actually a complaint that the left refuses to capitulate to the right’s project of undermining liberal democracy. What you are really doing is arguing for a Feiglinist “popular democracy.” Something very different from a western liberal democracy. It is in fact the right wing of Ayalet Shaked and Naftali Bennett that wants to remove all limits to achieve its goal of a Feiglinist state. You need to read Tomer Persico. Ayalet Shaked is merely a prettier, slicker and craftier version of Moshe Feiglin and Bezalel Smotrich. One understands this much better after grasping the crucial distinctions Tomer Persico makes here:

            A ‘truly’ Jewish democracy: On the ideology of Likud’s Moshe Feiglin
            https://972mag.com/a-truly-jewish-democracy-on-the-ideology-of-likuds-moshe-feiglin/62170/

            Reply to Comment
    2. i_like_ike52

      An interesting mix of inconsistent views. Few people who have adopted the “critical” approach to Bible studies end up “strengthening their relationship to Torah”. Most simply chuck it all, which is the reason the Conservative movement is dying in the US and only something like 10% of young American Jews even identify with it.
      Same thing with Conservative Judaism identification with Zionism. While it is true that they are the only movement that never had an anti-Zionist branch, they never really made any attempt to really rally their people behind Zionism in the sense of actually making aliyah or even emphasizing serious efforts to study Hebrew in order to really understand the Jewish sources and modern Israeli thinking.
      It is true that, for these reasons, young non-Orthodox Jews are moving further and further from Israel, but unlike what the writer thinks, it has NOTHING to do with Israel’s policies. It is a consequence of ongoing assimilation and apathy, typical of most American Jews. As others have pointed out here, the writer apparently nothing about the history of the Arab-Israel conflict. Whatever “pro-israel indoctrinating” she supposedly received was no doubt very shallow, as is everything association with the Conservative movement (which I grew up in) so the moment she is exposed to anti-Israel propaganda, added to the “social justice” mileu that she, like all non-Orthodox Jews are immersed in, she ends up adopting the false narrative of the anti-Israel crowd.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Ike52, Eliana Fishman appears to me to be an Israel-loving, clear-headed, informed, independent-minded, proactive, and non-apathetic American Jew. That seems to bother you. Your characterization of a battle between “pro-Israel” and “anti-Israel” indoctrinations is revealing, suggesting as it does that this is indeed nothing more than a battle of indoctrinations, or propaganda, in the service of an amoral will to power.

        (Or if there is a morality to it, it is based in something like “the desire to return Israeli Jews to their former greatness and glory: That of the biblical era when God appointed them a Chosen People.
        “…Ben-Gurion’s Israel didn’t speak with God, but it cultivated messianism.
        Those who insist on establishing a model nation, and who consistently inculcate a feeling in their people that they are meant to be an exalted people, better than others and therefore can’t settle for an ordinary existence, will end up with the seeds of fascism and the belief that God speaks to this nation.”)
        read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.812312

        Your way of stating this is redolent of that. It’s as if you think she is a pickle and the brine wasn’t strong enough. She needs a good long soaking in “pro-Israel” indoctrination, because the Conservative brine was too weak. This says something about your approach to the conflict.

        Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          The fact that she laments that the C movement doesn’t teach the Neturei Karta position that says that there are “rabbinic texts that oppose the Jewish return to Eretz Israel” indicates to me that she is not really “israel loving” but wants to see the state undermined. The Neturei Karta position is counter-intuitive, representative of only a tiny minority of Orthodox Jewry and is rejected by even the large majority of non-Zionist Haredim. After all the effort and sacrifices were made to create the state, for someone to come up and say to us “you know, you are all disobeying one particular view of the Torah by living in Israel and participating in the life of the state” is really nothing more than an insult and attempt to ally one’s self with its enemies.

          Reply to Comment
          • King David

            “The Neturei Karta position is counter-intuitive”

            No, the only thing that’s counter-intuitive here is political Zionism.

            “After all the effort and sacrifices were made to create the state”

            Except that nobody forced the Zionists to exert any “effort” or to make any “sacrifices” in order to set up a criminal enterprise, and create a criminal apartheid regime in Palestine. The Zionists chose to boat it over to Palestine. The Zionists chose to violently colonize Palestine against the wishes of the indigenous Palestinian population. The Zionists chose to cynically usurp the Palestinian people’s legacy and birthright. So as long as they insist on remaining in Palestine against the wishes of the Palestinian people, the foreign Zionist colonizers can continue to suffer for all their criminal actions, because that suffering is entirely of their own making and that suffering is entirely deserved.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Ike52: Well, this is a good example of how you twist things to a totalizing, black and white agenda—an agenda that has it that all of the biblical ‘Eretz Israel’ from river to sea must be under Jewish domination and the other people in the land must be second class human beings. (See the article by Alpher I linked to, “Ben-Gurion Invented the Israeli Right.”) Fishman obviously nowhere endorses a Neturei Karta position. She merely looks askance at an uncritical Conservative movement that is unable or afraid to even present a genuine thread of rabbinical thinking, one among others, that could be used to say “Hold on, slow down, moderate yourselves, who decreed that the totalizing notions of Bezalel Smotrich are what constitutes Judaism and is Smotrich’s Judeofascism really what being “pro-Israel” means? Who says? Think about it.” In fact, her whole essay, read properly, argues entirely against what you are saying she is saying. She is talking about a Conservative movement that is unafraid to talk about fertility myths of Ishtar and Marduk, but afraid to talk about other aspects of biblical scholarship that don’t toe the far right National Religious line, a Conservative movement that takes off its critical thinking cap and sheds its capacity for nuance only whenever the subject is modern day Israel.

            “While the Conservative movement embraced nuanced Talmud Torah, that approach never extended to discussions of Israel. The blind support for Israel found in Conservative movement spaces, on the other hand, is reminiscent of a far more Orthodoxy approach to Torah study and Jewish thought.”

            You are dismissing all this and seizing on one sentence in her essay and saying “Aha! Just as I suspected! She wants to “undermine the state”! Which reflects a totalitarian mindset—both the Russian communists and the European fascists did this kind of thing—“I have proof that Comrade Fishman is an enemy of the state, a fifth column cadre in disguise, because of this sentence in this essay! To the Gulag with her!”

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        But an antidote to your misrepresentation of American Jews and your statement that “unlike what the writer thinks, it has NOTHING to do with Israel’s policies,” is this assessment by Chemi Shalev:
        Liberal American Jews’ Feelings Towards Israel Now Include Conspicuous Contempt
        read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.811600

        Reply to Comment
    3. Catena Santoro

      It is absolutely beautiful and heart-warming to read the article by Eliana. It was frank and real and expels the myth that the occupation is a myth or is somehow justified. There is No doubt that Israel is doing the wrong thing and continues to do it..regardless of truths spoken. Let’s not give up..join the movement IF NOT NOW.. and the world will be a better place.

      Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        @Catena

        Jews do care about morality they also have to run a state now. In many ways they are going through the opposite of what the Catholic church went through. The Catholic church now that it doesn’t control land and armies gets to sound a lot more goody-two-shoes than the 4th-17th century Catholic Church did. That being said you might want to consider the propaganda. Many decades ago the Lebanese army kills Lebanese civilians on Lebanese soil and that’s the grudge you are going to hold all this time? If the standard is moral perfection Jews are going to fall short. We are just people.

        The Roma could use some advocates and they don’t have any armies to embarrass you. If you want to be involved in Jews you have to start with the reality that they are flawed human beings working through a very complex situation, trying to do the best they can like anyone else. Assuming you live in America you might want to consider JStreet which is similar but open open to non-Jews. INN is exclusively Jewish group.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      David Bernstein, when you smugly toss off phrases like “willing and able to except offers to end the occupation along the lines of Israel’s offers in 2000, 2001, and 2008” you make Eliana Fishman’s point for her because it is clear that you have no real idea what these “offers” really entailed, and in what context, and live inside just the impenetrable cocoon of disinformation and self-righteousness Ms. Fishman is describing.

      You and others here should look at what ‘David’ wrote on September 18 on this thread:
      https://972mag.com/war-crimes-and-open-wounds-the-physician-who-took-on-israeli-segregation/129700/
      “In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state….”

      On demand, I can supply much else besides that debunks your “2000, 2001, and 2008” narrative.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lewis from Afula

      I believe these silly assimilating, Hebrew-illiterate so-called American Jews like Eliana should hurry up, intermarry and disappear from the Jewish people. By dragging out their own assimilation process they just cause a huge waste of time, money and energy. Very few young Israelis believe in her leftist nonsense.

      Reply to Comment
      • King David

        I agree, because without the blind support of brainwashed American Jews, all you foreign, illiterate, mock-hebrew speaking Zionist nut job colonizers will disappear from Palestine in short order.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Israel will disappear without support of brainwashed American Jews?
          Since US military aid is 1% of Israel’s GDP, that is a ridiculous assertion

          Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          How do you define “in short order”? You types have been predicting this for the last 70 years. Meanwhile it is the Arab world that has disintegrated.
          BTW-Can you find any more epithets to use against us in order to vent your “progressive, peace-loving” spleen?

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        @LAF: Well it’s true that she’s a different cucumber–wasn’t pickled in the strong brine of cradle to grave right wing ‘Zionist’ propaganda that is standard Israeli education system fare and can think for herself. By the time a young German in the 1930s came of age he or she was pickled in strong brine and had every bit the sense of righteous indignation as you have, LAF. To you, “assimilation” is a failure to become indoctrinated into the cult. It is striking the historical parallel. You do know, don’t you, that back then the National Socialist fascists called their education minister the “Minister of Science, Education and National Culture.” In my view, the term is uncannily apropos for Naftali Bennett, for what he is striving to make education in the Israeli state. That uncanny fit ought to make you sit up and think twice.
        This was in addition to the Minister of Propaganda, a separate position. But you have one of those too:
        https://972mag.com/israels-propaganda-minister-arabs-are-a-deplorable-nation/31324/

        Reply to Comment
    6. Carole

      I am very impressed with the moral integrity of the author. I am not Jewish but I have always had a great respect for the Jews because of their sincere regard for morality.

      For this same reason I have become painfully disillusioned with the state of Israel. The massacres at Sabra and Shatila left me feeling betrayed. As if my faith had been naively misplaced – or at least too widely distributed over the entire Jewish culture.

      I am so very gratified that the younger generation is showing such determination to discover the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Kudos to these brave young people.

      Reply to Comment
    7. King David

      “…, that is a ridiculous assertion”

      Nah, your noxious Zionist anti-Semitism is a ridiculous assertion.

      Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        So no substantive retort then?
        Just a cheap insult to my character.

        American military aid is about 1% of Israel’s GDP. Israel has $110 Billion in reserves so potential disappearance of $3.8 Billion of US aid will not be an emergency. So how will the coming implosion of assimilating US Jews make much difference?

        Reply to Comment
        • King David

          “So no substantive retort then?”

          Without the blind support of brainwashed American Jews, all you foreign, illiterate, mock-hebrew speaking Zionist nut job colonizers will disappear from Palestine in short order. Your racist Zionist nonsense doesn’t warrant a more substantive retort.

          Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Re: “Without the blind support of brainwashed American Jews, all you foreign, illiterate, mock-hebrew speaking Zionist nut job colonizers will disappear from Palestine in short order.”

            Could you please the mechanism of this alleged disappearance?
            I don’t see how 6.8 million Israeli Jews in Israel are going to be radically affected by the mindsets of American Jews. We are not living in the 1970s or 1980s.

            Reply to Comment
          • King David

            “I don’t see how…”

            You “don’t see” past the end of your nose.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            In other words, you cannot explain anything….

            Reply to Comment
          • King David

            In other words: You are a racist Zionist nut job and dumber than a box o’ rocks…

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            So no mechanistic explanation of your position then?

            Reply to Comment
          • King David

            You are a mechanistic Zionist racist and dumber than a box o’ rocks.

            Reply to Comment
    8. JeffB

      I’m just going to throw my $.02 into this thread which is a bit missing the point.

      Eliana Fishman is with If Not Now. If Not Now are committed Jews (generally graduates of Jewish day schools) who love Judaism, love Israel and at the same time are disgusted by the level of systematic violence being performed. They are Zionist in the way most American Jews are Zionist, which I know most Israelis find a ridiculous contradiction in terms. INN does not accept not Jewish members and does not stand in solidarity with other leftwing groups that are antagonistic. They are explicitly talking as Jews to Jews to have a moral conversation regarding a political topic. They are positioning themselves religiously and to the Jewish people wholesale. Moreover, their focus is Jews like me not Jews like you all. Their goal is to end American Jewish community support for the occupation more than to end the occupation. To stop participating and assisting what they consider a manifest evil.

      They are probably best understood in contrast to the two other closest groups. They think this conversation needs to happen among Jews not Democrats and not the broader far left. So unlike JSteetU they don’t have this conversation with the institutional Democratic party about Jewish opinion. They are talking to Jews as Jews, not about Jews as Jews. In that sense they are very Zionist. For the same reason unlike JVP they would never ally with non-Jewish groups that attack other Jews. They don’t stand in solidarity with Palestinians they stand in solidarity with the Jewish ethical tradition. In their frame Palestinians are the objects on which immorality occurs Jews are the actors.

      INN: We, us, our… what we did
      JVP: Them, their… what Zionist did
      That’s a big difference.

      Are they young naïve and silly pushing poorly thought through objections based on an over simplistic worldview shaped by a shallow knowledge of history and political science? Absolutely. Their analysis is wrong and silly. Despite that on the right I think you all should welcome them as I do. First off internationally I think they provide an alternative to JVP. They demonstrate to Western Jews (American, Canadian…) that one can object to particular Israeli policies without having to align oneself with the host of haters to genocidal psychopaths that make up the western left. They can be an important tool in delegitimizing BDS’ tactics.

      But that’s mainly a foreign thing. I also, and this will sound arrogant, think they offer a model to the Israeli left. Much more in Israel than in America you have a quasi-treason problem with your left. Your left openly allies itself with foreign powers (primary the EU and UN organizations) against the interests of the state. They don’t think of themselves as doing that and that’s one of the reasons thing have escalated as far as they have in terms of legislation and suppression. The Israeli left has for decades done stuff the American left would never dream of doing in similar situations. INN’s strong moral call about human rights while at the same time drawing a line around going outside the tribe I think provides a good model of what Zionist protest should look like.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Lewis from Afula

      The problem is that the Israeli Left is a shrinking group of losers, failures and misfits who have nothing left to sell Israelis.
      What Eliana Fishman and her fellow travellers choose to do or not do in America will not affect that much.

      Reply to Comment
      • King David

        The problem with Zionism swilling racists is they are a group of losers, failures, misfits and fakes with shrinking brains and nothing left to sell.

        Without the blind support of Eliana Fishman and her fellow Americans, all the foreign, illiterate, mock-hebrew speaking Zionist nut-job wannabe colonizers will disappear from Palestine in short order.

        Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        INN is mainly about American Jewish politics. Israel is the thing being talked about but not so much of an actor. I’ll switch over to Israeli politics in my response.

        Ultimately I’m not so sure, I don’t know if things are as bleak for the Israeli left as you claim. Labor during its decades of dominance ticked off a lot of groups. But being out of power makes one ore humble. Even with the latest results ZU (24) + Yesh Attid (11) + Kulanu (10) + Meretz (5) gets to 50 Jewish Centrist and Left parties. It is not hard to get over 60 from there. Your parties and your governing coalitions are rather unstable. There aren’t factions in the rightwing coalition that have lost internal struggles and want a narrow policy agenda. UTJ and Shas could for example start really going at it at hard over religious matters the loser suddenly up for grabs. Heck frustrate the left enough and Joint List (12) gets them over the hump today. Start including the Joint List in governing coalitions (assuming Joint List can hold together under the pressure of actually governing) and those numbers could skyrocket further as Arab voters suddenly have a real party with real power which mean more vote at all, and more vote JL.

        If I had to guess, the combination of Israel’s state church (if you’ll excuse the expression) taking over more authority and becoming more belligerent and narrow is how the right falls from power. But we shall see.

        As far as the peace camp goes, the Palestinians have been an incredible pain in the ass. Hamas is running for most self destructive major political leadership on earth and doing well in their campaign. Abbas couldn’t be more frustrating to the left in his refusal to actually negotiate. But both of them have run into a wall and know it. A highly desirable peace offer from the Palestinians could easily reorient the politics of Israel. Right now the left is holding on to a policy that is destructive for them and the numbers reflect that.

        Reply to Comment
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