A Post-Jewish Pro-Israel Movement


To say a bit more on Peter Beinart’s blockbuster on the failure of the American Jewish establishment, I agree with Spencer Ackerman that my notion of a post-Jewish American Zionism is relevant to this issue. There’s a common conceit among more-or-less secular Jews that Israel needs it’s relationship with America’s liberal Jewish minority. But the reality is that if Israel loses support among American Jews because most American Jews are liberals, they can always gain support among the enormous block of white Christian conservative Americans.

Indeed, in many ways Israel is on net benefitting from a rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in the western world even as its support on the American left is eroding. New anti-Muslim European political parties like Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party and the Danish People’s Party are among the most pro-Israel groupings on the continent even though in some respects they’re actually the descendants of the European anti-semitic movements of yore. We don’t have growing far-right parties in the United States, but in part that’s because violent populist nationalism with an anti-Islamic tinge is part of our mainstream conservative movement. Ultimately, these may just be the kind of friends that Israeli political elites want to have.

That would be a shame, and it will increasingly put liberal American Jews in an awkward position. But no country arranges its politics for the convenience of diaspora sentiments.