I am pleased to see that U.S. unions are organizing against the British union boycott of Israel.
You know, I tend to be liberal on social issues but like many, when it comes to Israel, I am a Zionist true and true again. I was excited to read Prof. Dershowitz' article in the Forward blog.
I, too, am a politically liberal Jew who supports Israel, though I am critical of some of its policies (as I am of some policies of every country). You are absolutely right that the hard left has made it politically incorrect to show any support for Israel. Indeed, virulent anti-Israel extremism has become a litmus test for acceptance by the hard left.Oh, really? Who would have thought?
I, too, find it impossible to support the neo-cons and other right-wing groups, since I favor the end of the occupation, the two-state solution and Israeli efforts to reach out to pragmatic Palestinians. I also strongly oppose the right on issues of social justice, tikkun olam and separation of church and state.
There is, however, a place for a liberal Jew who supports Israel. We are a proud group that includes Barney Frank, Irwin Cotler, Chuck Schumer, Michael Walzer and many others. The situation you describe is widespread: Liberal Jews who are appalled by the attitude many of their left-wing friends show toward Israel. That is why I am planning to write a memoir entitled “Why I Left the Left But Couldn’t Join the Right.” I suspect I speak for quite a few people on this issue.
Jay Footlik fired back at the GOP.
Jay Footlik, who lived in Israel for four years after stepping down as Bill Clinton's Jewish liaison, accused Kirk of mounting a campaign of personal destruction against him and condemned the quotations he said were "cherry-picked" from the Daily Kos Web site.
"I obviously condemn those remarks and those attacks," Footlik told JTA. "But let's remember that those remarks and those attacks can also come from right-wing bloggers, and often do. You can't dismiss this entire group of people on the basis of the disgusting and horrific comments of a few."
Kirk could not be reached for comment.
Footlik's Jewish credentials are difficult to beat. After leaving the Clinton White House, he worked on projects promoting Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, including some with Israeli President Shimon Peres. He is a partner in a Washington consulting firm with Yuval Rabin, son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. His wife, Grace, is Israeli and a veteran of the Israeli Air Force.
In June, Footlik's candidacy was endorsed by a number of prominent Jewish Americans, including two former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Mort Zuckerman and Shoshana Cardin, and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz.
"This is something that is deeply personal to me as it is for many American Jews," Footlik said. "To somehow say that because I went to a conference where some bloggers happen to write things that are horrifically anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, that I stand with Ahmadinejad and I stand with the virulent anti-Semites and Israel bashers -- nothing could be farther from the truth."