Check out Michelle Goldberg’s new web-only piece, “Same As It Ever Was?” up at The American Prospect. Her tagline, or more likely her editor’s tagline, for the article wonders if the “pro-Israel lobby, long seen as an immutable part of American politics, may be headed toward obsolescence.” I’m not sure if I buy that, since I feel like many of my peers consider AIPAC already irrelevant at best and destructive at worst; obsolescence seems like the wrong characterization.
Nonetheless, it cracks me up to read that Charles Bronfman, of all people, is
worried that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is hurting the country’s relationship with young Jews in the Diaspora.
That’s right, Bronfman’s considering tweaking his position on Israel because might just be getting in the way of the only thing more important to him than Zionism – Jewish survival!
“We turned from David to Goliath in 1982, with the invasion into Lebanon, and the Arabs became David,” he told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz last week. “Now everybody’s worried about the Palestinians. Now we’re occupiers, oppressors, who live by the sword. That’s what you see in the media, and it festers and has effects on the general population and on Jews as well.”
Goldberg takes Bronfman’s seeming reconsideration of his position on Israeli politics as a sign that the Establishment is finally “younger Jews are more ambivalent about their ostensible birthright than their parents are [and] don’t share past generations’ automatic support for Israeli policies.” She seems to take J Street as representative of the positions of these elusive “young Jews,” which is an improvement – I suppose – but doesn’t begin to show the diversity of critiques of Zionism and of Israeli policy that exist among Jews (not all of us young, either.)
I would have liked to see Goldberg look at more grassroots, localized engagement by young Jews (since they/we seem to be her object of study) with Israeli policies and politics, and with their relationship to Zionism as a philosophy and a movement. J Street and other lobbying groups may be a useful counterweight to the efforts of AIPAC & co. in Washington, but they don’t represent the extent of the discussion, and can’t alone be the basis for political or communal change.