The Moral Collapse at the Heart of the Rift between Israel and American Jewry

As the story is usually told, U.S. Jews feel increasingly distant from the Jewish state because of Benjamin Netanyahu, or the settlements, or the failures of the “peace process.” This supposedly contrasts with the good old days when American Jews looked with admiration on their Israeli brethren. But this analysis, writes Amnon Lord, paints an entirely deceptive picture:

For many people in Israel, ties with American Jewry are a very personal matter. We met those same Jews years ago when they were young. They—and we—aren’t young anymore. Back then, a thousand years ago on the kibbutz, they were volunteers and students of Hebrew who got up early to harvest melons. Or to work in the cowshed. They learned to love the landscape, the fields, the pool, and the dining hall. There was virtually no argument about Israel in and of itself. . . .

Today . . . a considerable number of the volunteers from the late 1960s and early 1970s are furious with Israel. Back then, they experienced the country for themselves. They saw what a country looked like after a war. Today, they are experiencing Israel via infusions from the left-leaning media. . . . Some of the Jews we used to know have developed a knee-jerk anti-Israel reaction. All the existential threats to the country don’t bother them. . . .

[Since the 1970s], many American Jews have suffered a moral collapse, and based on what they read in the New York Times, they think the Jewish state has no right to defend itself because even if its existence is legal, it is no longer legitimate.

What is interesting is that the more complicated Israel becomes, the less it is understood by American Jewry. . . . American Jews were comfortable with the homogeneous, idealistic image of Israel. . . . Now that Israel has a much stronger presence diplomatically, economically, and in the media, it’s hard for them to accept. Independent policy and even opposition to the American president, such as existed in the time of President Barack Obama, has led to a crisis among the Jews. Under Richard Nixon, when Israel butted heads with the administration about Soviet Jewry, there were no political difficulties for the Jews; they were part of the Democratic opposition, Under President Obama, when Netanyahu was unafraid of conflict, the Jews—who were part of the Democratic coalition—were in trouble. The prime minister wasn’t counting on them as a base of support for his policies against Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: American Jewry, Israel and the Diaspora, Kibbutz movement

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy