January 30, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – In the fallout over the Trump peace plan, the young Jewish group IfNotNow said that most American Jews oppose Israeli occupation and AIPAC doesn’t represent the American Jewish community.
This is a false understanding. The Trump peace plan was brought to you by the Jewish community. Over the last 20 years any real and vigorous opposition to the Jewish right– AIPAC–inside the Jewish community has been fitful and meaningless. Liberal Zionists have enforced that line by refusing to organize as equals with the community Israel is oppressing: Palestinians.
Yes, the liberal Zionist wing of the American Jewish community has opposed settlements on principle for at least 20 years. But whenever push came to shove it has sold that principle out in favor of Jewish communal cohesion and support for the Israeli government. And it has helped to crush real and effective dissent. Jewish groups that forcefully opposed Israeli policy (Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, and IfNotNow too) have been repeatedly ostracized by the Jewish community as heretics and self-haters.
The clearest expression of what I am saying was the presence in the White House yesterday of Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the rightwing Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Hoenlein loves Trump’s plan. Malcolm Hoenlein has access and a lot of power over U.S. policy. Malcolm Hoenlein came in and out of the Obama White House too.
And Malcolm Hoenlein’s salary is paid in part by Americans for Peace Now, the anti-occupation group, because it is a member of the Conference of Presidents. Other liberal members of the Conference, Ameinu and the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reform Jews, also pay Hoenlein’s salary. And J Street would do so too, if the Conference would only let them in.
They do so because ultimately these Jewish groups place a greater value on a, Jewish communal solidarity in support of Israel and access to the halls of power than they do on human rights.
If they really cared about the occupation, they would have quit the Conference of Presidents a long time ago. And undertaken some real action like IfNotNow’s young Jews do all the time, at AIPAC and the Damascus Gate (where Israeli police brutalized them).