OpinionJewish Diaspora

Why do American Jews protest against Israel, but not its enemies?

Is it possible that this is really a protest against Netanyahu personally and Israeli conservatives in general?

Activists protest against Israeli judicial reform in New York City on Sept. 20, 2023. Photos: Luke Tress/Flash90
Activists protest against Israeli judicial reform in New York City on Sept. 20, 2023. Photos: Luke Tress/Flash90
Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman is the creator of the field of software forensics and founder of several successful high-tech Silicon Valley firms.

The Ten Days of Repentance are intended to be days of introspection and self-analysis. But let’s consider what a large number of American Jews and their organizations are doing during those days this year.

In New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere, many of them are protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s plans for judicial reform.

Almost at the same moment, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was set to speak at the U.N. and the Council on Foreign Relations. Iran is responsible for most of the terrorism in the world today. In 1988, while Raisi was deputy prosecutor of Tehran, its Islamist regime ordered the killing of 30,000 innocent people. Iran is responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that killed 85 Jews and injured over 300 in the deadliest antisemitic attack outside Israel since the Holocaust.

One year ago, Raisi’s regime murdered 22-year old Mahsa Amini for dressing “improperly” in public. During subsequent protests, the regime killed over 500 people and arrested thousands. Iran regularly proclaims “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” holds an annual Holocaust denial celebration and funds Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist attacks against Israel.

Yet Jewish groups did not protest against Raisi.

At the same time as the anti-Netanyahu protests, the University of Pennsylvania hosted the Palestine Writes literary festival, led by world-famous antisemite Roger Waters, a co-founder of the band Pink Floyd who appropriates Holocaust imagery in order to condemn Israel at his concerts. Also included was antisemite Marc Lamont Hill, a Temple University professor and former CNN commentator who was fired in 2018 for calling for the elimination of Israel.

Jewish groups did not protest this event either.

Recently, U.S. President Joe Biden gave $6 billion to Iran. For over two years, he has been desperately trying to restart the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. A renewed deal would hand Iran billions of dollars that it would use to foment worldwide terrorism, the murder of Jews and the abduction of Americans. In return, Iran would promise not to build a nuclear weapon, even though its history shows it would never honor such a pledge.

The Jewish groups are not protesting against Biden.

Are these groups planning to protest the appearance of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at the national conference of the United States Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which accuses Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide?

No, they are not.

Instead, the protesters have chosen to target the democratically elected leader of the State of Israel, the homeland of all Jews. Netanyahu has led Israel for 15 years and is the country’s longest-serving prime minister. The majority of the Israeli people clearly support him.

Even if that were not the case, why the protests? When Israel is under attack inside and outside the U.S., why protest its elected leader?

Many say it is because of the judicial reform issue. Yet 78% of Israelis support changes to the judicial system. This is a much higher percentage than that of Americans who support President Biden, Congress or any American political leader. Moreover, the reforms themselves will simply align Israel with numerous democratic countries, including the U.S.

In a recent debate between politically opposed legal experts Alan Dershowitz and Eugene Kontorovich, the two scholars disagreed only on the details of the reforms. Dershowitz stated, “If all of these reforms were enacted—and I oppose most, but not all of them—it would turn Israel into, God forbid, Canada or New Zealand or Australia or many European countries. It would not turn it into Poland. It would not turn it into an autocratic country.”

Both scholars pointed out that the reforms are the kind of issues debated in Congress on a regular basis to which Americans pay little attention. Some American Jews say they are concerned about the new rules “allowing a simple majority of the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings, which would weaken Israeli democracy.” Yet none of these people objected when former Sen. Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats enacted the same rule for most judicial nominations and all legislation in the U.S.

So why do so many American Jews think they understand this arcane aspect of the Israeli political system better than they do the American political system? Why do they think they know what’s better for Israel than most Israelis do?

Is it possible this is really a protest against Netanyahu himself and Israeli conservatives in general? Is it possible that this is really a way for progressive American Jews to spread their ideas internationally? Is it possible that the rabbis participating in these protests are abandoning their obligations to all Jews worldwide and to their faith?

Yes, it is.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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