A Response to Eric AltermanBy Rich Siegel
7 January 2008
The following is a letter written by RighteousJews.org member, Rich Siegel, sent to "The Nation" in response to an article by Eric Alterman's op-ed in the January 7/14/2008 edition.
To the Editor:
In Eric Alterman's "Bad for the Jews" he discusses the apparent paradox in the American Jewish community, an equation he poses as Jews supporting liberal ideas while being represented by a bunch of war-mongering neo-cons and hawkish Zionist organizations. Alterman presents this phenomenon as if it's some kind of mystery. I feel it's very easy to understand.
The clue is in one of the statistics he presents: "A 46- to 43- percent plurality...support[s] the creation of a Palestinians state." Alterman fails to analyze this statistic, and further analysis is called for, as it would solve his mystery for him. Of the Jews who support a Palestinian state, the vast majority, it would seem, support it in the context of Israel's continued existence as a Jewish-exclusivist entity within either the 1967 borders or those borders expanded to include major settlements, and in the context of Israel's continued refusal to abide by UN Resolution 194, dating back to 1948 and re-ratified numerous times, in which Israel was required to take the refugees back as condition for UN membership.
So here we have a much more fundamental paradox in the American Jewish community which, in my opinion, is the fertile soil in which neocon representation and hawkish organizations bloom. Jews who cringe at the idea of Evangelicals making our country a Christian-exclusivist state, never-the-less support the Jewish-exclusivity of Israel, including an artificially maintained Jewish-majority demographic. Jews who support civil rights at home, continue to support Jewish "right of return" to Israel, while keeping it closed to Palestinian refugees, in defiance of the UN. Jews who would never utter the "N" word, vilify Arabs/Muslims and say the most awful things about them all the time. I know. I'm a Jew, and I hear it.
I do not know the statistic, but I am quite sure that I am in a very small minority of Jews who call for the end of Zionism, accountability for Zionism's crimes against humanity, the return of the refugees, and one multi-ethnic democratic state in Israel/Palestine. If there were more Jews with this truly liberal point of view, we would not be represented by neo-cons and hawkish Zionist organizations.