A very interesting article about U.S. Jews and Zionism and Israel. The article begins with a story about a 2003 survey of U.S. Jews attending college and why they weren't more actively rebutting criticism of Israel. The study was funded by U.S. Jewish philanthropists and conducted by the Republican pollster, Frank Luntz.
Most of the students, in other words, were liberals, broadly defined. They had imbibed some of the defining values of American Jewish political culture: a belief in open debate, a skepticism about military force, a commitment to human rights. And in their innocence, they did not realize that they were supposed to shed those values when it came to Israel. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs. Luntz did not grasp the irony. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was the kind that the American Jewish establishment has been working against for most of their lives.
But the message of the American Jewish establishment and its allies in the Netanyahu government is exactly the opposite: since Jews are history’s permanent victims, always on the knife-edge of extinction, moral responsibility is a luxury Israel does not have. Its only responsibility is to survive. As former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg writes in his remarkable 2008 book, The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes, “Victimhood sets you free.”
Right now, and for some time now, I've resisted holding an opinion about Zionism. My personal background is rather ... unorthodox (pun intended). Therefore, I try my best not to rush to judgment about this lightening rod issue. I have some opinions left over from my Early Years that still color my current view. But even at this juncture in my life, I am torn so I'll flatter myself with the time worn quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald:
The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.