Leading Jewish Organizations Call On Elected Officials to Support Resolution Backing Israeli Democracy
17 of the United States’ most prominent Jewish organizations are calling on members of Congress to back a resolution backing Israel’s pro-democracy protest movement and criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition’s judicial reforms.
The open letter is symbolic in nature, but it represents one of the boldest critiques by American Jewry levied against the state of Israel.
“As devoted supporters of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people and stalwart advocates of the US-Israel relationship, we stand united in support of H.Con.Res.61, a concurrent resolution supporting Israeli democracy,” the groups wrote in the letter.
“Promoting a strong Israel means, of course, to support Israel’s ability to defend itself from any and all external threats. A strong Israel also relies upon a resolute US-Israel relationship, one that is based upon our two countries’ shared values with democracy as its bedrock,” the signatories added.
The signers added that Israeli democracy is “under threat.” In addition, they called attention to how hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in protest against the Netanyahu regime, which includes Israeli army reservists, businessmen, and academics.
“These Israeli patriots and protesters would draw real strength from public support from Congress, which they have explicitly called for, of their vigorous attempts to save Israel’s liberal democracy,” they signers wrote.
The signers to this letter include: Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Democratic Council of America, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, New Israel Fund, New York Jewish Agenda, Partners for Progressive Israel, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Union for Reform Judaism, UnXeptable, USA for Israeli Democracy.
The House resolution enjoys the co-sponsorship of 47 Democrats.
At the end of the day, why should the US care about what’s going on in Israel? To be sure, the country is going through a sensitive moment in its history. With the Israeli hard Right taking power, owing to notable demographic shifts in its population, the country could potentially move in a more ethno-religious direction — which will undoubtedly anger secular Jews.
Like sending military aid to Israel, such changes in Israel’s domestic politics should be of no concern to the US. If anything, the latest upheavals in Israel demonstrate the need for the US to stop supporting Israel and move towards fully recalibrating relations with it.