To witness the spectacle of an AIPAC conference, one might imagine that nothing warms the heart of the average Israeli more than such an outpouring of affection for the Jewish state. But as Boaz Gaon and no doubt many other Israelis are aware, AIPAC brings together those Americans who don’t belong to Israel but are convinced Israel belongs to them.
I, Boaz Gaon, being of sound mind and body, hereby offer myself for sale to AIPAC. Should the committee decline, I offer the opportunity to Sheldon Adelson. In any event, I offer my internal organs for free, as a confidence-building gesture, to leading right-wingers in America – to all those who view Israel as a kind of political football made out of seven million residents, a football that can be kicked at the wall over and over. After all, we Israelis don’t feel any pain, and we know that our destiny is to be tossed around like a ball in some exclusive gym by Republican lobbyists, before they head off to the sauna and then cocktails.
I’m offering myself for sale even though I was warned by my lawyer that this is an irreversible step, and that in all likelihood I’ll find myself at Israel Hayom newspaper’s next conference, and/or at the next reunion of White House veterans who worked for George W. Bush – persons who are partners of the Israeli right (Daniel Pipes, Elliot Abrams ) – naked and trussed up, with an apple stuffed in my mouth and served on a silver platter that has a likeness of Irving Moskowitz inscribed on it.
I’m doing this because I can read the writing on the wall. I am aware that a high percentage of Israel’s media have already been bought off by right-wing Americans (Ron Lauder, Adelson ), and that a fair share of the right-wingers on the Yesha Council of settlements come from the United States (as in the case of the Central Fund of Israel, directed by the Marcus family, which serves as the funding pipeline for the extremist groups Im Tirtzu and Women in Green ). And I know that Jerusalem is littered with “research institutes” financed by right-wing Americans, and that the goal of these institutes is to provide employment for prominent Israeli right-wingers (Natan Sharansky, Moshe Ya’alon, Moshe Arens ).
More than anything, I am aware that these “lovers of Israel,” those who like to stand next to gigantic blue and white flags, have no interest in improving education in Israel, or bettering the country’s housing or health-care systems, or improving its culture and scientific research. They have no interest in honing the country’s legal system, particularly on matters of religion and state, nor do they care about narrowing gaps between rich and poor, men and women, or Jews and Arabs. In short, they care little about the prosaic realities of daily Israeli life. These realities can’t be seen from the lobby of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, and they are obscured by the cherry blossoms in the Washington area. These are the realities of my Israel. That’s not the same thing as the Israel that is supported by the Yesha Council, which is, in turn, funded by the evangelical Christian right.
I’m taking this step because I’ve come to understand that my own existence, and that of my children, merely shatters the sweet illusion of Israelis as matchsticks used to build a spectacular model of Noah’s Ark. Our lives belie the illusion that Jerusalem is a composite of Judaica items, each costing $30,000 in Zurich Airport’s duty free store. This is the illusion that allows people to call for the bombing of Iran while they sit in a mansion in Dallas. Or for the eradication of Israel’s democracy while lounging in a winter retreat in Miami. Or the annexation of Judea and Samaria while having a drink at the blackjack table in Las Vegas.
Ah, yes, there’s another reason – the American-Jewish left isn’t going to toss me a nickel. Neither Steven Spielberg, nor Rob Reiner, nor Barbra Streisand, nor any liberal Jewish billionaire. They are busy working for the Democratic Party, and ignoring Israeli issues. As far as they’re concerned, Israel isn’t worth a goddamned penny, as they say.