Israel’s Problem Is Its Policies


On the same day that Gary Rosenblatt’s front-page story, “Next-Gen Americans Pulling Away From Israel” (June 23), arrived in my mailbox, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against El Al in a sexual discrimination case. This case is a microcosm of the myriad issues which are causing the gap between all Americans and Israel, let alone American Jews.

Could one imagine an American airline taking a case to the Supreme Court arguing that it has the right to discriminate against women because it makes their male ultra-Orthodox flyers more comfortable? Hardly. This isn’t about the Arab-Israeli conflict for many of the demographics referred to in your article — it is about justice as an internal policy.

Israel has thought, for generations now, that if it only marketed itself better, people would “come around” to Zionism. But you cannot market away from what lies at the core of what is happening in Israel: a rightward turn in how it deals with bedrocks of liberal Western society. There are erosions of democratic norms in Israel — in freedoms of the press, in the increasing gap between wealthy and poor, and between Jewish and non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

Even highly laudable acts such as Israel’s treatment of Syrians will not do the trick to make Americans more pro-Israel until Israel deals with the fact that it is losing Jewish support. If American Jews no longer care about Israel as much as we once did, why should other, non-Jewish, Americans care about Israel?

Until the Jewish state allows Jews to practice their Judaism freely and equally under the law, it will continue to lose support of American Jews and, therefore, other Americans. In light of all of this, your article would have been more appropriately titled: “Israel Pulling Away From Next-Gen Americans.”

Senior Rabbi
Temple Israel of New Rochelle
New Rochelle, N.Y.