Most of what Prof. Ben-Tzvi writes here is accurate and well-reasoned. However, his “backdrop” view of “Americans’ perceptions” of Israel, upon which he depends as a premise to inform his subsequent reasoning, is wildly skewed by his own, Jewish, misperception of mainstream Americans’ view of Israel(is)–which differs significantly from the institutional Jewish-American view of Israel(is).
My American view is informed by the first half of my life as a mainstream–not Jewish!–American from a “born American” family going back generations in America. When George Washington’s grandfather came to the New World, my family had already been living in New Amsterdam (before New York, Manhattan or the United States existed) 9 years!
I noticed, early in adulthood, that the “Jewish” view of “the American view” is markedly, and significantly, different, in a number of respects, from the non-Jewish, i.e. mainstream, “American view”. There may be a few Jews, like Bernie Sanders (I wouldn’t even include Chuck Schumer or Dianne Feinstein), who are so far out of the Jewish loop that, maybe, they grew up aware of the differences between these community-specific perceptions. However, a supremacist attitude persists (only in Israel) that “American Jews know” the mainstream American view better than mainstream Americans. So, dismiss this (yet again) to your own (continuing) ignorance–and worsening miso-Judaic detriment.
While the professor’s associates would certainly back up their colleague claiming his noble description, mainstream Americans’ view of Israel’s birth and values are nothing like what the prof. describes–and the wider Jewish community has “assumed” since the birth of modern nation of Israel. Persisting in blindly acting on this fallacious premise is a significant part of the reason why there is a growing rift, why it continues to worsen in response to smugly wrong-directed “Jewish” remedies–and why Israeli and Jewish efforts against “antisemitism” counter-productively produce the very agar that grows miso-Judaism.
Since the founding of America until the beginning of this century, mainstream Americans, including its non-Christians, have been Christian-centric tolerant. In other words, the mainstream American view of Israel was a Christian-centric, not Jewish-centric, view. This means that mainstream Americans viewed Israel not at all like American Jews (“Israel’s character as a country of immigrants, with a rich and diverse cultural and ethnic tapestry”), but rather as the impending fulfillment of New Testament prophecy–with American as “Yeshu-God’s Chosen Servant country” ushering in “God’s Will”, Tanakh-prophesied “Regathering” that, they believe, precedes “Jews coming to Christ” and the “Return of Yeshu-God in the sky”!
As late as the Entebbe raid, Israelis were seen as the modern resurrection of ancient Israel miracles–while America was licking its wounds from the Vietnam defeat in great envy or Israeli, American-style, “can do” victory.
Israeli policy that “continues” to be based on the long-held, but misinformed, Jewish-American view, rather than the mainstream American view, is blundering in the dark; doomed to error and self-defeating strategies. This is also the fulcrum of the misinformed reactions to American non-Orthodox Jews v Israeli Ultra-Orthodox controlled Orthodox Jews. While Israeli voters are misdirected to a negative view of American Jews as assimilating heretics and goyim, the truth of the matter is that the great predominance of American non-Orthodox Jews, especially among Conservatives, is similar in most respects to Israeli “seculars” who are, in fact, traditionalists, not seculars.
This overarching misunderstanding is between Jews (whether American or Israeli) and traditional mainstream (i.e. Christian-centric) Americans; not between American Jews and Israeli Jews. And mainstream Americans, not Jewish Americans, most clearly understand what is the mainstream American view!
The only way to resolve the rift between American New Testament-centrism and (Israeli or American Jewish) Tanakh-centrism (and Qoran-centrism, too, for that matter) is by mutual agreement to accept mutually-recognized authority–and the only candidate authority that is mutually shared among all three intelligent modern adherents is absolute (not “relative”) truth (i.e. facts indisputably based on hard evidence: e.g., historical documentation, archeology, the hard sciences) interpreted by mathematical logic. Everything outside that standard–from man-god on a stick to Barak the Pegasus (Mohamad’s flying horse)–must be relegated to tolerance of unsubstantiated, Dark Ages, idolatrous myths.
While that would seem to leave a slender core to cling to, it’s the only indestructible and reliable core for a peacefully coexistent future.
Ergo, the greatest enemy of Israeli and Jewish life are the ones among us who hawk racist and elitist Jewish supremicism, excluding modern, scientific, reality-based, intelligent and objective Jews who represent the solution to these problems (and whom the racist Ultra cults label as “goyim”).
If Jews, particularly Israeli Jews, ever decide to get serious about resolving the growing rift between America (including American Jews) and Israel–or about an effective antidote (after millennia of blundering!) for miso-Judaism, Israeli Jews are going to have to confront and deal with the reality of the misunderstanding–between Christian-centric and Tanakh-centric views of Israel and Israelis. This is what I, and the Nᵊtzarim (exclusively @ http://www.netzarim.co.il), are all about.
(Republishing my articles and short quotations from the Netzarim website (www.netzarim.co.il) is encouraged as long as proper citation credit is prominently noted to Paqid Yirmeyahu, this blog and further information at http://www.netzarim.co.il)