Recent events involving Israel have underlined a fault line running through the Jewish people.
On one side are those who say that the international critique of Israel is nothing more than pathological anti-Semitism, so there’s no point in Israel responding to a no-win situation with anything other than a militant defiance, including a harsh blockade.
Over the weekend Israel’s cabinet approved creation of a commission to investigate the controversial, ill-fated Israeli interdiction of a Gaza-bound humanitarian-cum-propaganda flotilla.
That’s a good first step, particularly because two of the five members are distinguished foreign observers. But it is naive to believe this will settle the matter for a world predisposed to see Israel as a kind of universal villain. And no finding by the commission will dampen international criticism of Israel’s (and Egypt’s) Gaza blockade.
Israel has endured and survived many rounds of international condemnation in the past, most notably the United Nations’ infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution of 1975, and the outrage expressed by the Reagan White House and leaders across the globe when Jerusalem bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, 29 years ago this week.
Peter Beinart, the New Bad Boy of the American Jewish establishment for his essay on how the younger generation is becoming disenfranchised from Israel, acknowledged in an interview with The Jewish Week the other day that he was, in fact, describing part of a larger concern — namely a decreasing attachment to Judaism in general.
“That’s a fair charge,” said the former editor of The New Republic, who describes himself as a liberal Zionist, and belongs with his family to an Orthodox synagogue in Washington, D.C.