Was the new ‘crisis’ manufactured to tie settlement issue to holy city?
This week’s U.S.-Israel diplomatic dustup over building additional Jewish housing in east Jerusalem may have as much to do with domestic politics in the Jewish state — and a desire to mobilize American Jews to oppose additional U.S. pressure — as with any shift in Obama administration policy.
Publicly raising its disagreement over Jerusalem may “focus the American Jewish community, which is mostly opposed to settlements, on the fact that when the U.S. demands Israel cease building settlements that includes Jerusalem,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman.
And touching the Jerusalem nerve may help galvanize Evangelical Christians, many of whom have a growing commitment to preserving Jerusalem as Israel’s unified capital, to oppose new administration peace pushes.
Here’s the good news for the ADL and other Jewish groups that have fought for it for than a decade: the Senate today passed a new hate crimes bill expanding coverage of existing statutes to include, among others, gays and lesbians. The House already passed the measure.
Monday's meeting with 16 Jewish leaders signals a new style of outreach
Administrations sometimes say they’re just seeking input when their goals are more pragmatic, starting with the periodic need to head off potential confrontations with a powerful, highly reactive constituent group.
That said, such meetings serve an important purpose for our community and for national leaders who have learned to take both our ideas and our political clout seriously.
A while back I wrote a story suggesting the Obama administration is highly confident it can push Israel on the issue of Jewish settlements without risking a big political backlash from Jewish voters.
That story ignited a flurry of calls and emails from readers disagreeing with me, many from Jewish leadership types, and I had to concede they were right, up to a point: there is a spreading feeling of anxiety about Obama policies in the circles in which these responders move.
Just in case you don’t have enough to worry about, this week brought a number of polls that may send Jewish leaders to the neighborhood pharmacy for some extra Prozac.
While Jewish organizations have been working overtime to depict Iran as the ultimate menace to U.S. as well as Israeli interests, a new Gallup poll indicates that they’ve only been partially successful.