Eric Alterman writes: It is becoming increasingly obvious that a break between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, particularly its American variety, is fast approaching. The reason for this is that Israel is slowly but inexorably turning into a conservative theocracy while the Diaspora is largely dedicated to liberal democracy.
The strategy of the “pro-Israel” camp among American Jewish organizations and neoconservative pundits has been, so far, one of avoidance of unpleasant facts coupled with unpleasant insinuations about the loyalties of those who insist on taking them seriously. But denial can work in only the short term, and only with an American Jewish population that identifies closely with Israel and relates all threats back to the Holocaust. These conditions, like the generation that sustained them, are not long for this world. Once this aging constituency is gone, the truth will prove unavoidable and it will be too late to deny it any longer.
Israel is no democracy, and it never has been with regard to the 4 million Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza. It has always been a decidedly imperfect democracy concerning its own Arab citizens.
Lately, however, it has become less and less democratic with regard to the rights of its Jewish population. For reasons of demography, the Israeli body politic is increasingly dominated by Haredi Jews on the one hand, and secular nationalists, many of whose families emigrated from Russia, on the other. Neither group demonstrates any intrinsic interest in liberal political niceties like free speech, minority political rights or civil liberties.