Can American Jews Save Israel From Herself?

Over at Al Jazeera, MJ Rosenberg, Steve Clemons and I weigh-in on a report (below) that exposes the negative (and often racist) views that many Israelis have of Obama. We were asked to specifically comment on whether there is a growing divide between the views of American Jews – 78 per cent of whom voted for Obama – and Israelis.


The racist attitude toward Obama that we see in this clip will make it harder for Obama to produce an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Israelis miss George Bush who was very unpopular with American Jews. Israelis thought he was the “best friend” Israel ever had while American Jews thought he was disastrous for America and Israel.

The good news is that if the Obama administration decided to push hard for an agreement, it won’t matter what these racists on the Israeli street say. Even if these people represented a majority of Israelis, and I don’t think they do, their views would not matter. An American president has the power and authority to achieve an end to the occupation and peace if he has the will.


Today, what is more worrisome than the views on the street that Al Jazeera was able to record is the absence of national condemnation of those views.

I remember when a former deputy spokesman of Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs once told me that Israel’s diaspora – including AIPAC – often try to help so much that it hurts, that Israel’s view of the world sometimes was different and less dire and certainly more complicated than the diaspora groups could comprehend.

Well, in this case, I think it is the American Jewish community that has a far greater fix on appropriate conduct with regard to Barack Obama than some of the rank and file citizens of Israel. This is a time when listening to the diaspora voices would be important.


Given Netanyahu’s chronic intransigence regarding the peace process, it is likely that the emerging ideological cleavage between the two communities (Israeli and American Jews) will continue to grow.

It is precisely at this point of dissonance that American Jewry needs to step into the picture.

Instead of divorce (a secret desire of some liberal Jews), American Jews should make a concerted effort to come closer to Israelis – to engage them in dialogue and debate. American Jews need to successfully make the case to their brothers and sisters in Israel that Obama’s policies are in the interest of both countries.

To read more, click here.


9 responses to “Can American Jews Save Israel From Herself?

  1. i must say this clip made me sick off what i heard, my dad has been liveing in isreal for 48 years he come there when he was very young from eritrea and my mom has lived there for almost 40 years i have younger sister that has that live in there too she was born served in the army and me i lived there 14 years and then moved to sweden for school and stayed there and we are all black and the hate that they have for black man made me so sick i cant belive that i was born in that kind of country now i work and live in the usa and yes i see it here to all the hate but i always put isreal and the ppl there high up there, amreican have always been dum but not my beloved isreal i just cant belive it i moved 21 years ago mayby things have changed but really i am so sad, and want to throw up and angry to see this clip. and no do not think that we in the usa should do nothing about this bec this ppl need to see that the ppl here in the usa that say all this things about obama they hate the jew as much if not more and look what is going on in poland and the rest off the E.U how ppl feel free to say how much they hate the jews and isreal let them look at that and see what goes around comes around, me and my family are not jews we are greek ortodox but i am from isreal and i am really sad to see my country go this way ppl should not forget history and why isreal is there at the first place and i do think when u will get ppl from around the world that like obama special in E.U see things like this clip it will only hurt isreal and more anti semitic.

  2. This video made me sad too. I think it is important to pay attention to all this ignorance in with the israelis (for sure the ones in this video) are immerse in. And I think that is in the interest of Netanyahu to have them this way. Independent media , scholars, writers must take the challenge of changing this misinformation and ignorance.

  3. Angry Olive Skinned, Curly Black Haired, Semite From Yemen

    If the Jews hate people of color so much why don’t they just move back to Europe were everything is white, blond, and blue eyed?

    Everyone in the MENA is sick and tired of this shitty little white, European settler state.

    We don’t want the racist white Jews living amongst us. They are anti-Semites. They hate Middle Eastern culture and they hate Middle Eastern people.

    They have no claim to the title ‘Semite”. They are nothing more then white converts to a Middle Eastern religion. They are no diffrent then white Christians and white Muslims.

  4. To Angry Olive Skinned, Curly Black Haired, Semite From Yemen,

    For you info:

    A large percentage of the Jews in Israel are of Middle Eastern and North African decent. They do not hate themselves.

    Likewise, there is no hatred of MENA culture – in fact it is the dominant culture.

    And Europe is not a place full of “white, blond, and blue eyed” people.

  5. I think “Angry Olive Skinned, Curly Black Haired, Semite From Yemen” is right about Israelis’ European descent!Jews are mostly white and let us not pretend about that!

    I watched the video on Aljazeera and I must say I was shocked seeing old serious people and young people my age expressing some of the most stupid and ignorant comments I have ever heard!!And they thought it is cool!!

    I have always regarded Israel as a sophisticated country,sort of Western!But I can see Israel is a two tier state,culturally!Sophisticated Israelis should help their culturally backward brothers,otherwise Israel is just another Third World Country struggling with its Arab neighbours!

    As for my “Angry…” friend,I am always amazed by Arab hypocrisy.Arabs always shout loudest about injustice being comitted against them but are faithfully and eerily silent when crimes are being comitted in Darfur by their ‘Arab’ brothers!Silly world!

  6. Ochanji, you make some good points. Just for clarification.

    Nearly half of all Israeli Jews are descended from Jews who immigrated from Europe (47.6%), while around the same number (49.4%) are descended from Jews who immigrated from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia. Over two hundred thousand are, or are descended from, Ethiopian and Indian Jews.

    These are facts.

  7. Interesting stats Roi,I know American Jews(I admire American Jews) are mostly European and not as Orthodox as Israeli Jews!I didn’t know majority of Israeli Jews are of Middle Eastern origin and am sure Binyamin(Benjamin? ) is one of them!

  8. u do have alot middle easter jews they came in bigger number when isreal was born but u have hade alot jews that moved from russia, poland and countrys like them they are very diffrent from the jews that moved early from the rest off europe and they hate u see most off it come from the russian jews and the poland jews and the countrys like them and i do think it is time stop this bec isreal was doing fine with out them, they will take down isreal no arab country can take down isreal like the russian jews will, they are very hateful ppl and yes bigot too they want to start wars but they dont want to send there own children they are the ones moveing in to the new settalment not the middel easteren or the ethiopan or asian jews, my belive is that if you dont stop ppl like them they will be the fall off isreal bec the antisemtic will go up, and it has for some time now, and like i said before this klip will only make ppl more anti isreal read what the young american or europen feel about isreal and u will see the change from there fathers and mothers where they belive usa should stop helping isreal and one day that will come when they see more off the hate that comes out of isreal.and then what that is what the leaders off isreal need to ask them self bec isreal on its own cant make it that is fact.

  9. Pingback: Can American Jews Save Israel From Herself? | JewPI

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