Canadian Jews are well known to be ‘liberal” in their political attitudes – except where Israel is concerned. There, they circle the wagons. However they might have criticisms of the current Israeli government, they will defend Israel resolutely when anyone outside criticizes it.
But as I see it, there is very little chance that we can effect any significant “rebalancing” of Canadian policy towards the Israel/Palestine issue until a significant number of Jews are willing to dissociate themselves from Israel or criticize it publicly.
Why is this? Certainly organizations like CIJA, or Bnai Brith, play a role in shaping Canadian opinion. But I think that “holocaust guilt” still leads most non Jews to defer to Canadian Jews on this issue. And this is surely augmented by the fact that many Canadian Jews have visited Israel, or have family in Israel, and thus usually know much, much more about Israel (and Palestine) than non Jews.
I have heard some people, (particularly some frustrated progressive Jews) say that it is “impossible” to make any headway in the jewish community and we should ignore them.
I do not think we can afford to do so. In fact, I am convinced that we have to find a way to work with liberal Jews, to encourage (force?) them to think about the contradiction between their own liberalism and their defense of Israels ‘illiberalism” today.
It is not good enough to say that they are a “writeoff”. We can’t afford to do that. We have to find a way to break this logjam.
Your comments most welcome.