On the Campus Left, There Is No Place for Jews Who Won’t Abjure Israel

Nov. 15 2019

When he arrived at George Washington University last year, Blake Flayton assumed that he would continue to be involved in left-wing activism. But now he has come to find himself “pushed to the fringes” of campus progressive circles and labeled a racist for being a Zionist—the fact that he is a Zionist of the liberal variety being no help. He writes:

Given that almost all American Jews identify as “pro-Israel,” even as the majority of us are also critical of Israeli government policy, this intolerance affects huge numbers of young American Jews. . . . The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is repeatedly dragged into discussions ranging anywhere from LGBTQ equality (where to mention Israel’s vastly better record on gay rights compared with that of any other country in the Middle East is branded “pinkwashing”), to health care, to criminal-justice reform.

At a recent political club meeting I attended, Zionism was described by the club’s leaders as a “transnational project,” an anti-Semitic trope that characterizes the desire for a Jewish state as a bid for global domination by the Jewish people. . . . The next month, on May Day, I eagerly attended a student rally for higher wages for the university’s custodial staff, excitedly carrying a “Fair Wages Now” poster I had made. The rally attracted dozens of students. We all gathered in the quad where we chanted for fair wages, cheered for speakers, and booed the names of [university] executives.

Then the organizers of the rally invited speakers from the organizations Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine. . . . [A]s they began to speak, the gathering suddenly transformed from a “fair wages” rally to a “Free Palestine” rally. The speakers railed against the oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, which, according to them, had everything to do with janitors making less than their fair share. The students saw no reason to decry labor conditions or human-rights violations in any other university, city, state, region, or country.

This is our new normal. On college campuses and in progressive circles across the country, it does not matter if you strongly oppose the right-wing leadership in Israel; if you are a Zionist, you are seen as the enemy.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, Progressivism, University

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship