I'm feeling a bit gleeful and sad right now. I'm happy because my theory about the disconnect between mainstream Jewish groups political positions and the opinions of the majority of American Jews, has been proven correct. At the same time, I'm a bit glum because of what is happening right now in Israel. While the rest of the world is focused on the uber-cool Obamas first foray into the world scene, beyond the shores of the Union Jack, there's some serious stuff happening, including the return of Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Under his previous term, Netanyahu's extreme right-wing domestic and international policies left Israel starving for alternatives. Literally. Under his watch, poverty sky rocketed in the country and the peace process was a failure.
Netanyahu has been in office for one day but is already quickly putting in place an Administration with an unequivocal right wing stamp. His Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman (same name as another right-wing hawkish US politician), is an extreme hawk and nationalist whose off-the-cuff comments are already making waves. According to the New York Times, Lieberman brazenly declared that "'those who wish for peace should prepare for war' and that Israel was not obligated by understandings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reached at an American-sponsored peace conference in late 2007." As I wrote in a hotly debated blog last month, "ABC and the ADL Don't Represent Me," US politicians, media and mainstream Jewish groups lock-in-step support for Israeli policies are out of touch with the majority of US Jews positions on Israel.
While there been little traction on the peace front in Israel in the past several years, this will make the situation more dire. There needs to be resounding condemnation of Lieberman's views from the US government, international peace brokers and major Jewish groups that his beliefs will create more instability and insecurity for Israel (Lieberman also said "if you want peace, prepare for war.") However, the Anti-Defamation League, the so-called civil rights group led by Abraham Foxman, decided that rather than condemning Lieberman, it would be better to support his extremist position. In fact, the organization issued a press release defending the political hawk's commitment to peace.
Shocking? Not really. Wrong? Yes.
The ADL is out of touch with the majority of American Jews. Tell the ADL to reverse it's unequivocal support for Lieberman. And, stay informed with J Street, a progressive voice for Israel.
Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on Takepart.com