Thursday, March 19, 2015

Will this change much?

Since Netanyahu managed to win the Israeli election by disavowing the two state solution and appealing to outright bigotry, there have been a lot of speculation about whether this will finally end the U.S.'s practice as Israel's biggest defender in international institutions. The Obama administration will probably find ways to make their displeasure clear. But I doubt it will cause any lasting change.

I also doubt whether Netanyahu's partisan shenanigans will cause any immediate change in how American Jews view Israel. American Jews are overwhelmingly democrats. Bibi's overt alignment with Republicans seems like a bad move if he wants to maintain support of the American diaspora. (Meanwhile it makes perfect sense for the Republicans, who are making a play for Jewish support through the partisan exploits of the current Israeli government). Loyalty to Israel within the Jewish community, especially among the older generation, is not really rational. It's about an ideal of Israel, not the place in practice. There is a slow fading of support for Israel among American Jews, but that is really generational. The recent election might have accelerate that trend by a little bit, as young liberal Jews see little in an Netanyahu-led Israel that speaks to their values, but it was already a trend, so it will be hard to say what would have happened if things had turned out differently.

(links via MatthewB on FB)