Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Forget the alphabet soup acronyms of a thousand organizations. The pro-Israel community has only three elements.
There’s the anti-Israel side of the pro-Israel community. This misnomer calls itself Liberal Zionism even though, like the Holy Roman Empire, it is neither liberal nor Zionist. Instead illiberal anti-Zionist groups such as J Street provide a comfortable pathway from the pro-Israel community to the anti-Israel left by selling the illusion that it is possible to be pro-Israel while opposing the survival of Israel.
These illiberal anti-Zionists, like most domestic abusers, claim to be providing “tough love” by pressuring the Jewish State to make the “tough decisions” it needs to make in order to “end the occupation”.
These “tough love” and “tough decisions” though all translate into appeasing and aiding terrorists. The only people that the illiberal anti-Zionists, who clutch fistfuls of dirty Soros cash while hiding behind the blue skirts of the pro-Israel community, are willing to get tough on are Jewish victims of Islamic terror.
Somehow Abbas and Hamas never seem to come in for any tough love from these lovers of Israel who instead relish showing their tough love by kicking and beating the Jewish State at every opportunity.
And then there’s the great center of the pro-Israel community, which is not quite anti-Israel nor quite pro-Israel. Instead it hovers moderately and indecisively in the glorious middle. The center of the pro-Israel community is not really pro-Israel. Instead it’s for a two-state solution. It’s for Israel and for the PLO. It wants foreign aid for both. It wants peace. And no amount of terrorism will change its mind.
The marshmallow center of the pro-Israel community is the best recruiting ground for the anti-Israel left because its worldview is hypocritical and incoherent. It lobbies for arms for Israel and yet insists that peace is inevitable. It concedes that both sides have good arguments, but that Israel’s argument is slightly better. Or perhaps slightly less worse. It evades the issues to talk up Israel’s tech sector or the gay bars in Tel Aviv. It believes in boosterism, but not in Israel’s right to finally end terrorism.
The best and brightest culturally liberal youth naturally see through this nonsense and leave. And why shouldn’t they? On campuses they hear from one side that Israel is the devil while their side tells them that Israel is flawed, but basically means well because it is tolerant enough to concede most of the arguments of the other side. You don’t need to be a debate champion to see the trouble with this.
When its younger crowd is through singing “Shalom, Salaam”, it will go either left or right.
The center of the pro-Israel community is actually liberal and Zionist, but it is too liberal to be Zionist and too Zionist to blend well with the left. And so it is a walking contradiction that stands for nothing. It calls for tolerance and applauds its own humanism. It raises money for Israel, but it lacks all conviction when it comes to defending Israel. It is not pro-Israel in any way that truly counts.
Finally, there is the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community. It is a testament to the perversity, neurosis and insecurity of the Jewish establishment that the pro-Israel wing is the smallest part of the pro-Israel community. The pro-Israel wing is easily overshadowed by the anti-Israel wing which lunches at the White House and the organizational behemoth of the center which pretends that it doesn’t exist.
The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community consists of far smaller groups such as EMET, ZOA, AFSI and many others. It relies heavily on volunteers like the elderly men and women who spent years protesting the PLO deal, gathering in small groups on street corners and handing out fliers in the rain.
It is unglamorous. It is obscure. It is mostly unheard. And it will still save Israel.
What does the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community, that thumbnail edge on the fat hand of the establishment, believe? It does not believe in peace or UFOs. It believes that Israelis fight for the moral high ground, not that they must let themselves be killed in the futile fight for its barren slopes.
The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community believes in Israel.
It does not believe in a two-state solution. It has never embraced the delusional fantasy that a terrorist state dedicated to destroying Israel will live side by side with it.
It does not believe that Israel has anything to apologize for. Its ranks are not filled with ashamed Jews who turn red every time they see a headline about Israel blowing away a Hamas terrorist. Instead it knows that it is the Islamic terrorists and their media enablers who ought to be ashamed.
What distinguishes the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community most of all is not policy, but pride.
We like to think of ourselves as rational people who make logical decisions. But human beings are emotional creatures. We have our loyalties and allegiances. Underneath these churn emotional cauldrons. Fear, anxiety, anger, shame, pride and pain are all there. Along with many others.
The anti-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community is motivated by anger and shame. The amorphous blob at the center of the pro-Israel community feels mingled fear, pride and shame. But the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community feels a pure pride untarnished by the neurotic tics of liberal or illiberal Zionism. It needs no hyphens in its Zionism and makes no apologies for its activism. Its pro-Israel activism is not subservient to the good opinion of CNN, the Washington Post or the New York Times.
All the activism of the pro-Israel center comes with a “but”, audible or inaudible, embedded at the end of every sentence. The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community is refreshingly free of these asterisks of guilt. It does not stay up all night worrying about the other side. That is why it is pro-Israel.
The authentic pro-Israel activist does not split the moral difference with the suicide bombers and the beheaders. She does not give equal time to poverty in Gaza when discussing the rockets fired from Gaza. She does not fantasize about reclaiming the moral high ground, but boldly bestrides it. She does not apologize for Israel. Instead she demands that the international sponsors of PLO terrorism in Israel apologize for the murdered Israeli men, women and children whose blood is on their hands.
The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community has always been right. It was right when it warned that the deal with PLO would lead to a terrorist state inside Israel. It was right when it cautioned that the deal would end up dividing Jerusalem. It was right when it said that rockets would fall on Israeli cities.
At every turn it has been proven right. And the more it was proven right, the more it had to be ignored.
The mushy pro-Israel center clings to a discredited fantasy of peace. The anti-Israel left has nothing to offer but hate. The only meaningful part of the pro-Israel community is its pro-Israel wing. The pro-Israel wing is where proud Jews go when they are tired of apologizing, of being moderate and losing anyway.
Those who are tired of having to hope for peace while pointing out how often the PLO has rejected it, who are weary of sharing Golda Meir quotes about the Arabs loving their children, who are sick of being moderate and tolerant while their government and the media support the terrorists killing their children and grandchildren, are finding their home in the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community.
The Jewish community is being divided between those who make no apologies for supporting Israel and those who make no apologies for wanting to destroy it. The mushy center will deflate and fade away. The anti-Israel left will throw off its liberal Zionist disguise and gleefully revel in its maddened hate.
The day is coming when only one part of the pro-Israel community will remain; the pro-Israel part.