The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Phil Weiss' change of plan

Change of plan | Mondoweiss

Phil Weiss writes on his growing belief that he needs to expand his advocacy on Israel/Palestine beyond a Jewish audience:

I want to spend more time talking to Americans period. The recent uprising against the Jerusalem plank at the Democratic convention shows that liberal Americans are getting hip about this issue. The recent politicization of the Iran attack by Netanyahu was also helpful; it put the matter on our front pages, it allowed Obama to come out more strongly against war, because he knows that the American people are deadset against it. Barbara Boxer told Netanyahu to mess out; so did a former ambassador in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. These are the people my wife should be bringing that backgammon set to.

One reason I spent time in the Jewish community was compassion. I thought I could help to save my own group by giving them the news. I worry about people losing their lives. I think about the community I grew up in and try to imagine a way to get out of the current situation without anyone else dying; and I imagined that if I could convince American Jews that some Jewish kids in Israel won't die if they would just wave the wand and declare, We don't need a Jewish state, they'd wave that wand. I think that’s an illusion. There’s little I can do to end that belief, and at some level I’ve given up caring.

It's a very good post and I can only say: about time, Phil. This is an American issue. Jews in America and elsewhere tend to encompass the best and the worst on this issue, because it's close to the heart. But ultimately they don't matter as much as the rest of the population. The Eretz Israel crowd is not going to change their mind. They are going to have to be defeated, full stop, by getting the wider community (American, international, etc.) to stop being afraid to talk about this issue.