Israel and the Youth

Which political perspective is responsible for disaffection of young Jews?

Many young Jews in America have unfortunately been indoctrinated by a leftist anti-Israel sentiment, which has corroded their minds. David Suissa of the Jewish Journal has written about Gabriel Mathew Schivone, a Jewish student at the University of Arizona, who has grown apathetic with Israel. Schivone wrote in Haaretz that he "simply cannot sit idle while my country aids and abets Israel's siege, occupation and repression of the Palestinians." He continues, "I am one of a growing number of young American Jews who are determined to shake off an assumed -- and largely imposed -- association with Israel." How sad is this? If you had to bet your life on whether Schivone is politically liberal or conservative, what would you guess?

In 2008, the students at Brandeis University declined commemorating the 60th anniversary of Israel. In addition, when Frank Luntz held focus groups at American universities to probe the lack of interest in Israel among young Jews, he found that they "desperately want peace" and felt Israel was not doing enough to accomplish this goal. As if Israel -- which has unilaterally withdrawn from land conquered in defensive wars by forcefully removing Jewish citizens from their homes -- does not want peace. Do you think these Jews at Brandeis and other universities, who are irritated with the pesky Jewish state that dares to defend itself against annihilation, are Republicans or Democrats?

These young people, brainwashed by the left, naively look at peace as if it's some tangible, easily accessible thing that Israel just refuses to accept. But history actually teaches us that peace is often achieved through war. History also teaches us that it is a virtue to fight evil. Furthermore, fighting evil is the most basic form of self-preservation.

In fact, the Torah teaches us the imperative of fighting evil: "Let those who love the LORD hate evil (Psalm 97:10)." But the left does not hate evil, and it does not hate Hamas. If one does not understand the Israel/Palestinian conflict as a fight between good and evil, then one does not understand the conflict.

Many on the left refuse to make a moral distinction between the Palestinians and Israelis. The fact that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists deliberately target innocent Jewish civilians, while Israel only targets Palestinian militants, does not matter to these leftists. The fact that Israel is the only thriving democracy in a sea of despotism is ostensibly of no consequence.

These young Jews have clearly been corrupted by the leftist ideas of moral relativism and class warfare, which have skewed their ability to tell right from wrong. Many liberal Jews do not view the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the paradigm of right and wrong, but rather the occupied and the occupier; the rich and the poor; the haves and the have nots (the left has learned well from Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky). They sadly see Israel as the oppressor. This is because the left, in general, is more interested in equality than it is in truth or right and wrong. Again, the Torah teaches contrary to this type of thinking: "Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly (Leviticus 19:15)."

The state of the Jewish youth in America is not promising. However, there are some in America who are not dissatisfied with the state of Israel. Not all the young Jews in America have been corrupted by moral relativism and passivism.

As I’m writing this, student activist Gabriella Hoffman and other young people across the nation have been hosting pro-Israel rallies and viewing parties of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem. These young Jews and non-Jews are following the lead of Glenn Beck, who has unquestionably been the most pro-Israel advocate in the media during the last year. Glenn Beck, and the countless other young people in America who are hosting rallies, should give hope to the rest of us. Even though it may seem like all the young people in America have been lost to the left, there still is a strong and determined constituency that understands the difference between right and wrong, and the importance of fighting evil.