The very insightful Asaf Romirowsky touches on, but does not really dig into, a question that has always perplexed me: Why do Israelis often seem so much more dovish on the defense–the survival–of their country than do American Israel supporters?
Commenting on a propaganda-filled exhibit at U-Penn, Asaf writes:
The fact that “Breaking the Silence” includes Israelis is of no matter; they represent a fringe within Israeli society that have come to the United States with a misguided message in order to gain publicity and funding not available to them in Israel. In reality, they do not care or understand the damage that the exhibition will do to Israel.
Moreover, the exhibit and its people illustrate the very core of the problem between the two major Jewish centers in the world today: America and Israel.
In a nutshell, that problem is the sheer lack of understanding when it comes to the obstacles and challenges that American Jews face when they are looking to make a case for Israel.
I know a fair number of American Israel hawks and count myself among them; very few, in my experience, are the foaming apocalyptic fundamentalists of popular lore (which is not to say that none of them are). If the United States regularly suffered the sort of terrorist attacks that Israel suffers, the response would be, I suspect, anything but “proportionate”–our retaliation would be, I believe and I hope, ruthless. Why don’t Israelis demand stronger action on their nation’s behalf?
I’m not sure that Asaf is correct is characterizing these beliefs as belonging to a “fringe.” Israel is a democracy; if the people wanted a more robust defense, they would probably have it.