Trump’s deal highlights the great Jewish rift.

There are numerous lamentations about the negative implications for Palestinians and the manifest injustice being paid to them.

One of the less remarked upon, but nevertheless most painful series of reactions to President Donald Trump’s long awaited “Deal of the Century” has been the response of the organized American Jewish Left, which I will refer to here as AJL.

That there has been relatively little focus on this facet of the announcement’s aftermath might be because we have gotten used to the critical-unto-condemning tone adopted by many of these groups toward Israel.

‘Jewish Voice for Peace. credit; Times of Israel.

However, the deal and its copious details have provided a unique platform for those attitudes to play out. AJL reactions focus overwhelmingly on the plan’s accentuating and enabling increased Israeli “occupation” (J Street and The New Israel Fund), “annexation” (Israel Policy Forum), and “apartheid” (Jewish Voice for Peace).

There are numerous lamentations about the negative implications for Palestinians and the manifest injustice being paid to them.

Nowhere, though, is there any sense of balance, nuance or understanding.

What comes through overwhelmingly clearly is the profound lack of empathy of these left-wing American Jews for their Israeli brethren. There is no recognition of the conditions that have kept the region in its current limbo state; no understanding of the vulnerability, fragility and tenuousness that even a stronger and more successful Israel lives with daily.

Furthermore, there is no willingness to look at a glass half-filled. There is no satisfaction, let alone encouragement, for the $50 billion in proposed economic incentives for Palestinians; no credit given for trying to honor a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem; territorial contiguity by means of transportation links; and a strong desire to see quality of life improvements for the Palestinian people.

Rather, AJL reactions closely resemble the tone and tenor of the official Palestinian Authority reaction itself: insult, indignity and a lack of any interest to engage in negotiating the terms of the plan.

Why bother, since it is a sop to Israel and needs to be squarely and unequivocally rejected?

Nowhere in these reactions is there a hint at what should be done instead. No alternatives have been proposed, not even to give the Palestinians everything they want or claim to need.

Similarly, there is no sense that any knowledge of the history of past proposals and prior negotiations has led to their condemnations.

That wilful ignorance is perhaps the most galling and starkly revealing aspect of the deal. The lack of context and perspective means that the AJL’s reactions bespeak no concern for the implications of any steps that Israel might take.

WORSE THAN the lack of empathy, the reactions to the deal speak of an indifference to consequences, a lack of accountability or responsibility for what might happen in the event there was a plan that the AJL found acceptable.

Ironically, this is not a Left/Right disagreement. The overwhelming excitement that the plan has generated in Israel shows that it is consensual here, not the province of one party or bloc. This consensus grows out of a common-sense appraisal of the risks Israel faces, and the steps it can and cannot afford to take.

However, the organized AJL has no interest in such an appraisal, nor of an understanding of the underlying issues. Instead, what they see is an aggressor and a victim, an occupier and a vanquished people chafing under occupation’s yoke.

It would be interesting to engage American Jewish leftists with some of the specifics of the plan and their underlying issues in order to see how they might react. For example, would they agree that Palestinians should have the right to flood Israel with millions of “returnees” based on an unprecedented definition of “refugee”? If so, would there be a recognition that this would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state? Would that even matter?

If it did matter, what would be the takeaway from knowing that this has been one of the non-negotiable demands of the Palestinians in each prior negotiation?  What would our American brethren do about this?

credit: Commentary Magazine

It is heartbreaking that there is this combination of ignorance and righteous conviction by the AJL. Forcing our American brethren to examine the nitty-gritty might be a useful first step in fashioning some much needed empathy, if not affinity.

Sadly, we live in a world where facts should never interfere with a really good narrative. There is little in the actual reality of the situation here that is like to impact or blunt the hostility to the plan, and the lack of solicitude for Israel’s welfare.

Unwittingly, but tellingly, the plan has served to further highlight and to deepen the growing chasm, the rift, between a small but vocal and increasingly influential segment of the American Jewish community and its Israeli counterpart.

It is a distressing state of affairs, but far worse would be to endanger ourselves in the name of accommodating uninformed objections from abroad.

is the chairman of the board of directors of Im Tirtzu, and a director of the Israel Independence Fund.  He can be reached at

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