Others have not been so specific in their dissent, but they share the sense that it will no longer do simply to trot out the familiar lines. Partly it’s because some of the consequences of the Israeli bombardment have been so hard to stomach: hospitals, schools, and homes battered by shells, with instantly lethal consequences. It requires a special steel, perhaps lacking in some liberal Zionists, to speak up for Israel when the country’s air force has just hit a home for the disabled.
Jonathan Freedland in the New York Review of Books July 26,2014
50 days of unrelenting pulverizing, hardly a war have come to an end with the usual results, massive Palestinian suffering including the deaths of 500 children, the needless deaths of 64 Israelis,(5 by friendly fire) mostly soldiers. The interesting thing is the lashing of Israeli PM Netanyahu whose poll numbers have plummeted. The damage done to Zionism is incalculable as many Jewish commentators have been writing. It is truly decision time for many Jews in the diaspora.
Beleaguered liberal Zionists as we are seeing are having a massive crise de conscience—how to balance their dreams of Israel as an oasis of universal human values, liberalism and human rights with the reality of Revisionist Zionism, a shocking betrayal of humanist values, best exemplified by the savage assaults on Gaza—3 in the last six years.
Before that there was another disproportionate attack on Lebanon in 2006. You recall that don’t you? In the last 72 hours of fighting, at a time when the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 1701 calling for an immediate halt to hostilities, Israel dropped more than four million of these flesh ripping pieces of shrapnel over south Lebanon, a goodbye kiss if you will, another lovely reminder of “the most moral army in the world.” all paid for of course by the USA.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch slammed Israel for the use of these cluster bombs in civilian areas. In an article in Haaretz (Sept 12, 2006) an anonymous member of the IDF rocket’s unit spoke as a human being:“What we did was insane and monstrous; we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.” Handicap International an NGO which monitors this type of warfare reported that since the cessation of hostilities five years later, 408 Lebanese civilians have been killed or injured by these, 115 of them under 18 years old. Unless properly disposed of, the weapons keep killing and maiming for decades. In 2007 alone, Lebanon lost an estimated $126.8 million in agricultural revenue because of cluster munitions.
This is the stuff of which never gets into our news cycles, never penetrates our minds and lives. Yet they are hell on earth for those who suffer. And the worst suffering is that the west cares very little about Arab suffering.
Well now the cumulative savagery is readily obvious to diaspora Jews who desperately wanted to believe in the cultural and religious Zionism they grew up with. These are people who pay attention to what is really transpiring within Israel. Decent men like Lerman and several other Jewish American Zionist pundits along with a growing chorus of other dissenters are having the masks pulled from their eyes. And it must be said to the willfully blind in disaporic Jewry this has always been going on if you had been really paying attention.
As the author mentioned in his NYT Sunday article “ the self-appointed arbiters of what’s Jewish in the Jewish state — the extreme religious Zionists and the strictly Orthodox, aided and abetted by Jewish racists in the Knesset like Ayelet Shaked, a Jewish Home Party member who recently called for the mothers of Palestinian “snakes” to be killed — are trashing democracy more and more each day”.
This public excoriation has scarcely been heard before in national American papers but a rubicon of blood has been crossed this time in Gaza and only deluded true believers can deny it. The public faces of liberal Zionism are no longer falling for the lying (”the familiar lines” as Jonathan Freedland said above) massive propaganda peddled by Israel and ignored by the craven Congress and Senate, Herein lies the great scandal of American democracy held hostage by the money and influence of the Israeli lobby. Not one president has dared buck this lobby since Harry Truman caved in 1947. Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton are both co-opted by this lobby.
Lerman concludes his article in this fashion:
Pushed to the political margins in Israel and increasingly irrelevant in the Diaspora, liberal Zionism not only lacks agency; worse, it provides cover for the supremacist Zionism dominant in Israel today. Liberal Zionists have become an obstacle to the emergence of a Diaspora Jewish movement that could actually be an agent of change.