Should American Jews Get Involved In Peace Talks?

Despite the very many attempts on the pro-Israel right to undermine John Kerry’s initiative for peace in the middle east, there seems to be a growing number of American Jews willing to embrace peace. For instance, even the notoriously hawkish AIPAC has come to Kerry’s defense, in a message they published supporting the reopening of talks. And although their endorsement may be tentative, as explained in The Daily Beast’s Open Zion, it is still noteworthy.

But how does the peace process speak to younger American Jews?

In a previous article in The Beacon, we discussed the role that Jonathan Pollard might play in the negotiations. In that article, it was said that the younger American Jews don’t want to portray modern Jewry as victims, and therefore the issue of Pollard shouldn’t be relevant. The implication was that Netanyahu shouldn’t appeal to the American Jewish community, who often support Pollard’s release, in peace talks between Israel and Palestine. In other words, the article seemed to insinuate that American Jewish opinion shouldn’t be relevant.

But perhaps that is taking things too far. American Jewry plays a vital role in Israel’s survival, and our government continues to provide Israel with extensive military and financial support. So because we are so invested in Israel’s well being, it can hardly be considered inappropriate for us to involve ourselves in the region’s politics.

However, it should also be said that there seems to be no clear prescription for how we should get involved. Most Israelis would probably like to take our money and keep the negotiating up to them. But we don’t need to accept that. In fact, in some ways American Jews may be in a better position for helping Israel than Israelis. American liberalism is more refined than Israel’s, because our country is older and more experienced and advanced on issues like racism and tolerance.

At the end of the day, giving any country money without guidance is irresponsible. American Jewry should have high expectations for Israel, and it is only proper for us to voice them.