Friday, July 16, 2010

Where is Adam Sandler When You Need Him?

Sandler had a great song that seems especially appropriate today:

Why?  Because Israeli politics may end up making this song much, much shorter.  There is a bill to make a small number of folks the "deciders" of who is Jewish.  I cannot complain too much since I opted out a while ago, but the larger point of how best to alienate the only supporters you have left is a relevant one.  If American Jews no longer count and Israeli Jews' identity is at the whim (and it is whim, not procedures with any kind of due process) of a few, then we may see American Jews become less enthused about supporting Israel.  If that were to happen, then American politicians might find it easier to criticize Israel and might fund aid to Israel easier to cut.  While I would like to see aid used more creatively to put pressure on Israel to stop building settlements, an isolated Israel is probably not good for Israel or for its neighbors.

This also raises questions for my next big research project--when do diasporas mobilize and when does this mobilization matter?  If American Jews do not mobilize to fight this bill, then identity maintenance as an explanation of diaspora activity might just be over-rated.  Ooops. 

1 comment:

jmeasor said...

Alana Newhouse (of Tablet) agrees with you [].

This divergence is especially enhanced IMO - based on my Jewish friends as well as the perceptions of my students regarding Israel - as a distinct divergence between the perception of Israel [Western and "just like us"] and its reality [an ethnically-based state]. This should be a 'teachable moment' come the Fall.

As for the research ... the mobilization of the Diaspora community to oppose this bill in the Knesset should be an acid test of the assertion. The organization and mobilization of the Diaspora, as well as its immense (presumed) leverage, should make an impact - if mobilized. If it is not mobilized that will raise questions beyond support for Israel, but also raise questions of American/Canadian/Diaspora assimilation.

All of this may well dampen the Fall's focus on the existential threat posed by Iran as well. Thus, there is a lot at stake.