Sunday, November 20, 2005

American Jewry Influencing Israeli Policy...

I have always been torn on whether or not Jews who do not live in Israel should be able to influence government policy of the State of Israel.

On the one hand, I strongly believe that it is important for every Jew to feel a strong, personal connection to the Jewish State and People, and to feel that his / her fate is bound to the fate of Israel.

However, I also can't help but shake the feeling that by choosing not to live in Israel, the values and priorities of those Jews are not the same as Jews who do live in Israel, and as such, there is something unfair in having those Jews being able to shape the policies of the Jewish State without having to deal with the consequences of those decisions.

An example of the latter can be seen from the alleged American Jewish influence exerted upon US Secretary of State Condi Rice relating to the agreement she brokered between Israel and the PLO over the Rafah crossing (Arutz -7):
Rice used "unusual personal involvement" to pressure Israel and the PA, according to the liberal New York Jewish daily The Forward... The left-wing Israel Policy Forum, Reform movement members and Americans for Peace Now met with Rice to express their backing before her recent trip to the Middle East.

Abe Foxman, director of the liberal Anti-Defamation league (ADL), told The Forward, "I am nervous about this" because Israel's security may have been compromised. "I worry because there is a basic asymmetry, an imbalance, between the two parties. For the Palestinians, it is about status and sovereignty, which could always be adjusted, while for Israel it is about security and trust. If you make a mistake..., there is no going back."

Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum are two organizations that are against the very idea of Israel existing as a Jewish State, instead they would like Israel to be a progressive, pluralistic, liberal, secular nation like all others. As for Reform Jewry, the majority of its members have minimal (at best) connection to traditional Jewish identity and to Israel as a Jewish State.

How can one not be troubled when these types of "Jewish" groups are influencing America to pressure Israel into moves that are clearly threatening both the Jewish State and People?

To be honest, I am not really sure where to draw the line between encouraging world Jewry's involvement in Israel's affairs while also having them know their place... I need to give this issue some more thought.


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