Jay Michaelson slams the left on Israel


In an essay that’s likely to raise some eyebrows on the left — and be cheered by the right — Jay Michaelson, a prominent American Jewish progressive voice and gay activist who writes a column for the Forward, comes down hard on the Jewish left wing for its hypocrisies when it comes to Israel. He writes:

…my aim in this column is to call out my liberal colleagues on certain of our blind spots and try to communicate to fellow progressives when, in my view, their criticism of Israel becomes deeply problematic — even, dare I say it, anti-Semitic. I do so because, just as I am uncomfortable in Jewish nationalist circles where people routinely make racist, violent and ethnocentric remarks (and where those remarks support real-world policies with real effects on real people), so, too, I am uncomfortable in left-wing circles where some people evince a casual disregard for the legitimate concerns of Israelis and Jews, for the very real and very deep problems on the Palestinian side, and even for the truth.

Michaelson offers four main criticisms:

1. "There is a problematic lack of disclosure among many critics of Israel that their ultimate view is that Israel should not exist at all." Exhibit A: Jewish Voice for Peace, many of whose members favor ending the Jewish state.

2. Why do proponents of a one-state solution (read "selective cultural genocide") favor that scenario only for Israel, but not elsewhere in the world where there are conflicts between majorities and minorities? "This is where anti-Zionism slides into anti-Semitism," Michaelson writes.

3. By focusing inordinately on Israel and ignoring human rights abuses elsewhere, the left absurdly has Israel "depicted as the most oppressive country on Earth."

4. The left defines Israel solely by its occupation and ignores other aspects of its multifaceted society, while the Palestinians get a free pass on everything from human rights abuses to treatment of gays.

Read Michaelson’s full column here.


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