Some good reactions to my post-Jewish Zionism piece this morning, not least of which from my friend Marc Tracy. But Marc’s piece is wayyyyy unconvincing.
Marc thinks I’ve overstated the degree to which Jews like us, a tiny demographic speck in America, have merely marginal political force, particularly over Israel. He writes:
We may not be as numerous as the evangelicals, but we are the ones they look to, as my father’s friends looked to my father. We are the validators. Despite the fact that it would be much more fruitful just to take Israel appeals directly to the evangelicals, the Republican hopefuls did not give their Israel speeches this week in front of Christians United for Israel; they gave their speeches in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
I don’t buy it. First, the nominee will speak to CUFI; John McCain certainly did. Second, what do we “validate”? Most American Jews want a two-state solution. Post-Jewish Zionists? Not so much. American Jews are Democrats and liberals. Sound like CUFI to you? We’re useful to CUFI because we give their agenda a Jewish face. They’re not on board with our agenda. If the issue is just “do you like Israel?” then sure, we’re on the same page.
Imagine if we said to them, ”Actually, we’re rather concerned about both Israel’s demographic character as a Jewish democracy, and about Zionism’s obligations for Palestinian independence, so we think it’s in Israel’s best interest to divest itself of the West Bank.” Would they say, “Oh, I see. I misunderstood you. I was seeking to lend Israel support in the way my Jewish friends desired. I’ll adjust my positions accordingly”? No, they’d say, “Wait, what about the ingathering of the Jews? You can’t give that up!” And then they’d go back to lobbying. It’s only a matter of time before they go after Jewish legislators for being insufficiently “pro-Israel.”
Photo of delicious Maccabee, which doesn’t get the respect it deserves from beer drinkers, probably because of anti-semitism, thanks to Flickr CC user kawanet.