After condemning Gen. David Petraeus’s linkage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with U.S. security interests in the region, the Anti-Defmation League’s (ADL) Abe Foxman has suggested that American Jews should put pressure on the Obama administration to resolve the crisis between the White House and Netanyahu’s government.
Stewart Ain and Joshua Mitnick reported on Foxman’s speech at a Jewish community center in Long Island last week.
They wrote in The Jewish Week that Foxman called on American Jews to consider a march on Washington to pressure the White House to end the current “crisis” in U.S.-Israel relations.
Foxman said he believes that the American Jewish community’s opposition to settlement building is still strong, but that the opposition does not apply to building in Jerusalem.
Foxman reportedly lashed out at J Street for the full-page New York Times ad (PDF) which the group ran during AIPAC’s annual conference.
“Maybe it [J Street] is pro-peace but I question how pro-Israel it is,” Foxman told more than 200 people at the Dix Hills Jewish Center on Long Island Last week. “The prime minister is here and struggling [with the president] and J Street says, ‘Mr. President keep it up.’”
“Obama needs to hear from the American Jewish community not that he’s anti-Semitic or that he’s a Muslim, but that, Mr. Presdient, this is not in the best interests of America.”
Of course Foxman has failed to explain exactly how Petraeus’s analysis that Israel’s behavior is, indeed, not in the best interests of America is faulty or offer any justification for why pressuring Netanyahu to change his policy on settlements is “not in the best interests of America.” But that didn’t stop him from keeping up the offensive against Petraeus and the White House, where he’s led the charge for two weeks now.
As I wrote last week, Foxman’s strategy, thus far, seems untenable in that it forces supporters of the ADL to choose between standing up for a decorated and widely respected U.S. general or Israel’s ill-timed announcement of settlement construction in East Jerusalem.
When discussing the U.S.-Israel relationship, the acceptable discourse may have fundamentally changed when Petraeus publicly made the linkage between U.S. interests and Israel’s settlement policy (reiterated again in Vanity Fair).
While some U.S. supporters of Israel, such as Foxman, have worked many years to prevent the discourse from including talk of “linkages,” Petraeus has let that point of debate out of the bag.
Try as he might, Foxman may now find it impossible to erase linkages from the discussion over what sort of relationship the U.S. should have with Israel.