What do US Jews really think about sovereignty?

The only way to know is to poll the Jewish population. But the answers may come as a surprise.

By Stephen M. Flatow, ISRAEL HAYOM

What, exactly do American Jews think about the possibility of reuniting small parts of Judea and Samaria with the rest of Israel?

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, says he knows. Writing in Haaretz this week, he declared: “American Jews are not happy.” Note he didn’t say “some” or even “many.” Rather, “American Jews”–all of them, apparently – are “not happy” about any possible application of sovereignty.

According to Yoffie, all American Jews are “shocked,” “panicked,” “puzzled,” “confused,” and “above all, angry” at what he calls “the monumental stupidity” of extending Israeli law to even the smallest part of the areas that have been at the center of the Jewish national homeland for more than 3,000 years.


Not that he is alone in his assumptions. Former US Mideast envoy Martin Indyk, who has spent much of his life trying to create a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard, recently claimed on Twitter that there is a “Diaspora Revolt” against the application of sovereignty.

And presumably as one manifestation of that “Revolt,” 36 Conservative rabbinical students recently signed a statement denouncing any such Israeli actions.

I’m not surprised that some Conservative rabbinical students lean far to the left when it comes to Israeli issues. So do many Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical students. That’s not news; it reflects long-standing ideological trends in those movement’s educational institutions.

And it’s surely no surprise that former ambassador Indyk, a professional crusader for Palestinian statehood, conjures up imaginary “revolts” to advance his agenda.

Yoffie himself, however, is a little more complicated.

As president of the Reform movement (then known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations), Yoffie stood up in front of the delegates to its national convention, in Cleveland, on June 3, 2001, and named the real obstacle to peace.

It wasn’t the possibility of Israeli sovereignty. It wasn’t the policies of Israel’s government. It wasn’t the settlements. It was Palestinian Arab terrorism, nurtured and sponsored by Israel’s “partner in peace,” the Palestinian Authority. And Yoffie criticized his own Reform movement for not facing this bitter truth.

“We did not pay nearly enough attention to the culture of hatred created and nourished by Palestinian leaders,” he announced at the time. “Palestinian children, of course, are not born hating Jews. Hatred is a powerful sentiment that must be acquired – from parents, from education, from government authorities. The hatred of so many Palestinians for Jews results from a conscious process of demonizing the ‘Zionist enemy.’ There is a direct line between Palestinian terror and the growing use of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi language in the Palestinian media.”

Think about that. Eight years after Israel signed the Oslo agreement and created the Palestinian Authority. Eight years after giving the PA control of 40% of Judea and Samaria, and 98% of the region’s Arab residents. Eight years after, peace was supposed to have descended upon Israel and the Palestinians. Eight years after all that, the PA was actively waging war against Israel.

What has changed since Yoffie spoke those words 19 years ago? Nothing. The “anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi language” that he said permeated the Palestinian media still permeates it. The PA continues to “nourish a culture of hatred.” The PA still “consciously demonizes” Jews and Israel. And there is still a “direct line” between Palestinian hatred and Palestinian violence.

All of which brings us back to the rabbi’s current line, as expressed this week in Haaretz. He says American Jews all agree with him in opposing sovereignty. Maybe he’s right. Maybe he’s wrong. The only way to know is to take a poll – a poll with precisely worded questions, not questions with vague language and “spin”-able slogans.

Questions like these:

  1. Rabbi Eric Yoffie said in the past that “anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi language” by the PA was undermining peace. Now he says Israeli sovereignty will undermine peace. Which do you agree with?
  2. If Israel applies sovereignty to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, it will not add any Arabs to Israel’s population. Even if Israel applies sovereignty to the entire Jordan Valley, it will add only a few tens of thousands of Arabs to Israel. Do you think sovereignty would pose a demographic danger to Israel as a Jewish state?
  3. If Israel doesn’t apply sovereignty to any territory and instead gives the land to the Palestinian Authority, Israel will be about nine miles wide at its midsection. Do you think that will make Israel more secure or less secure?

Don’t count on opponents of sovereignty carrying out a poll like that any time soon. They’re scared to death what kind of answers they would get.

July 7, 2020 | 12 Comments » | 435 views

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. *****A SOFT-BALL ARTICLE******

    Why should the writer assume that if the Jordan Valley receives sovereignty, thus legally being included as part of Israel, that ANY Arabs would become citizens…let alone “a few tens of thousands”….

    Is this a blind spot they all suffer from, even the most nationalistic.. Have they never heard of “Residential Permits”, which may be either permanent (I hope not) or restricted to a number of years, entailing passing certain qualifying conditions, and capable of being rescinded…/??? It seems not……!

    From a “few tens of thousands” come a million, over a period of years…And that stupid Law allowing a marriage to occur which brings the husband/wife into Israeli Citizenship. It never seems to go the OTHER way.

  2. I was just listening to Brian Harper on “Why I support Israel”….which was included in Steven Shamrak’s “The Shamrak Report”, which I’ve been getting for years….

    He quite rightly says that it should be shown to every Anti-Semite, BDS supporter and ALL self-hating Jews., (indeed the majority of the American Jewish Community-my add.)

  3. I would rather say that he is the residue of the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform where the leaders of Reform Judaism decided that Jews were not a “People” but only the adepts of a religion.
    This trend seems to be in fashion again with Yofie & Co.

    b>@ Bear Klein:

  4. If Israel declares sovereignty over entire West Bank it will improve greatly the lives of the resident Palestinians by giving them access to good education, democratic government, freedom of press@ Edgar G.:
    @ bailey.marc:

  5. @ bailey.marc:

    Yes, I agree, but I don’t car a damn about the Arabs. They have done too much to us over the years, and to me, are like rabid dogs.

  6. @ bailey.marc:

    Kill and or deport the educated, intellectual Arab elites…. We can deal with the peasants. BTW democracy is alien to Arab culture and would be an existential threat to the Jewish majority… The best solution would be we get or take the LAND without Arabs. Note: The further they are relocated from our national borders the better for all concerned. I am not a fan of the so-called Jordan option and consider it the worst of all possible alternatives to or for Israel.

  7. @ bailey.marc:

    It’s not or job or mission to elevate Arabs economic or social services benefits. They have already stolen $ billions from Jews and the State of Israel discounting the cost in lives, and those who were wounded and maimed….

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