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A Question of Fundamentals

David Greenberg writes: “At a time when sympathy for Israel’s plight increasingly comes from the right, many of the signatories are liberals or leftists who remind us that supporting the Jewish state is fundamentally a liberal position, even when its government veers farther to the right than many of us would like.”

I’m a little baffled by this ambiguity-ridden claim. I’m not really sure what it means (“support” in what sense?), but I’m having trouble coming up with interpretations that make it non-trivial yet defensible. Liberals should refrain from criticizing Israel when its policies veer too far right? Should criticize Israel but not too stridently? Should oppose efforts to cajole Israel into ending policies that are too far right? Should support the view that Israel is entitled to $3 billion per year of taxpayer money irregardless of the merits of Israeli government policy? Obviously, the question of which Israeli policies do and do not veer unduly far to the right is a controversial (to say the least!) topic, but I should think the meta-level issue here is easy — Israel should be supported by liberals insofar as the things Israel does are worthy of support.

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