Even as criticism of far-right politics increases, progressive Jewish organizations are protesting Israel’s apartheid policies, but major Jewish institutions are unlikely to change.
Progressive Jews are hopeful that the formation of Israel’s new government, which is expected to be the most right-wing in its history, will cause the community to become more aware of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, even though many major Jewish institutions are unlikely to change their stance on Israel.
According to activists who spoke to journalists, Jewish institutions will probably continue to support Israel unwaveringly; however, the new administration runs the risk of making Jewish Americans question the legitimacy of these institutions as the community’s representatives.
It might also make the Jewish community consider whether Israel has any desire to end its occupation of Palestinian territory.
The new far-right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu and an alliance of ultra-Orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties, according to Michael Koplow, director of the Israel Policy Forum, is about to cause a “superstorm” in the US Jewish community.
The results of the election have paved the way for Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, to make a dramatic comeback to power, but religious right-wing parties, including one led by lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, have won big and are poised to surpass Netanyahu’s hold on the right in Israel as a whole. Furthermore, these politicians have previously supported official policies of ethnic cleansing and shoot-to-kill against Palestinians.
Leading Jewish organizations in the US haven’t publicly criticized the election results yet, though.
The American Jewish Committee, a pro-Israel Jewish advocacy group, said in a statement that although “potential members of the governing coalition raise serious concerns,” it is still committed to “continue to strengthen Israel’s security and place in the world, and enhance the deep bond between Israel and diaspora Jewry.”
The Jewish Federation of North America, in contrast, had no issues with the outcomes: “We look forward to working with the government chosen by the Israeli people, as we always have. “.
Mari Cohen, assistant editor at Jewish Currents, told reporters that while many groups have expressed their displeasure, “American Jewish institutions have so far made very few commitments to a change in policy or actions.”
There is definitely cause for concern, but I don’t believe that these organizations are ready to modify their overall attitudes or relationships with Israel. ”
Still, attitudes toward Israel are evolving. According to a survey by the Jewish Electorate Institute conducted following Israel’s bombing of Gaza in May of last year, 25% of American Jewish voters consider Israel to be an apartheid state. A further 38% of voters believed that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was comparable to systemic racism in the US.
In Brooklyn, New York, Asaf Calderon, an Israeli citizen and social worker, stated that he was not surprised by the election results and noted that “racism and fascism have played deep roots in Israeli society.”
However, he thought that given how far to the right the new administration is, it might help to change people’s perceptions in the US, where right-wing politics have been on the rise ever since former President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
People may be able to see Israel for what it is thanks to this. Unfortunately, people haven’t realized this because of the actions of previous Israeli governments over the years. But when the rhetoric is more blatantly racist, more obvious, more people will be able to see,” Calderon, a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapter in New York City, told reporters.