Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Partisan Chutzpah On Israel

Adam Kredo at Washington Jewish Week reports a spat between the ADL/AJC and conservative pro-Israel groups over a so-called "unity pledge" which asked leaders and political candidates to refrain from making Israel a partisan issue in the upcoming campaign. Justifiably, some have raised objections as to whether unity truly serves the value of pro-Israel discourse, and whether such a pledge is really enforceable in the highly partisan political environment of Washington DC.

Except that those raising these objections are guilty of doing the same thing. The level of hypocrisy in the American Jewish discourse on Israel has reached a new high.

The same organizations which have historically called for unity, sanctioning those who disagree with all but their own point of view, suddenly care about discourse and free speech. Organizations which mercilessly berate their counterparts with misrepresentations and smear jobs have evidently seen the light about having a civil conversation about Israel. In this twisted reality, calling on Israel to embrace the two-state solution is bad for the US-Israel relationship. Defaming the President of the United States is not.

American discourse on Israel requires both liberal and conservative voices to operate effectively. To productively contribute to vigorous debate over the US-Israel relationship, the organizations involved in this tiff need not change what they believe nor how much passion they invest in issues about which they care deeply. They just need to grow up. Political maturity will sustain the US-Israel relationship, but political hackery will destroy it. This pro-Israel infighting helps no one.

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