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To my Israeli brothers and sisters:

            I am an American Jew.  I regularly attend synagogue.  I speak Hebrew.  I’ve been to Israel several times.  And I care deeply about the future of not only my country, but also that of the State of Israel.  And that’s why I’m asking centrist and left-wing Israelis to unite.

           The past few years have given me reason to worry.  I’ve looked on with shock at the weakening of the Israeli-American relationship.  I’ve seen repeated attempts by Prime Minister Netanyahu to try to sow conflict with the Obama Administration over such topics as Iran and settlements.  To my dismay, Netanyahu even appeared to actively place his bet on a Romney Administration, speaking out in ways favorable to him during an American election between two solidly pro-Israel candidates.  These actions unnecessarily alienate American supporters of Israel and cause discord and confusion at a time when we cannot afford either.

            Yet it’s not just the Israeli-American relationship I’m worried about- it’s Israel itself.  During the Netanyahu years, we’ve seen an explosive growth in settlements, shocking income inequality, a deterioration and privatization of the social safety net, and a lack of progress on making peace with the Palestinians.  Surely not all of the fault for these failures falls on the shoulders of one man, but it is clear that the current government, as led by Bibi, is leading Israeli down a path of religious extremism, poverty, and maybe even war.

            So what am I, as an American Jew, to do in such a time of deep anxiety and fear for the existence of a strong Israel and the Israeli-American bond?  While I can’t cast a ballot in Israel, and I deeply respect the fact that only Israelis should decide their country’s fate, I do have a message I want to share with all those Israelis as concerned about the items above as I am: UNITE!

            Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Netanyahu and his fascist friend Avigdor Lieberman join forces to unite their two parties, pushing the Likud even farther to the right.  There is now an opportunity for the center and the left to put aside our differences and join together around what unites us.  We hope for an Israel with equality for Arabs, gays, women, and immigrants.  We hope for an Israel at peace with her neighbors.  We hope for an Israel that refuses to kowtow to religious extremism no matter what the source.  We want an Israel that reflects the values of humanitarianism and compassion embodied in our Torah.

            To that end, whether it is Tzipi Livni, Shelly Yacimovich, Shimon Peres, or someone else- now is the time to come together, unite parties, and stand behind a leadership that can make Israel once again a light unto the nations with justice for all its citizens.

Drishat Shalom- Peaceful and brotherly greetings,

Matt

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bravo. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madler, laurnj

    Seriously, I couldn't agree more.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 11:19:43 AM PST

  •  Netanyahu is just another right-winger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, RJDixon74135

    So, he governs like such, more or less.  Divisiveness and lies about compromise are his primary PR tools, it seems.  Privatization is part and parcel of using his position of power and cultivating associations, IMHO.  He was always in line with Lieberman, regardless of public posturing.

    Yes, it's sad and frustrating.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 12:03:51 PM PST

    •  Not only is he a right winger (0+ / 0-)

      He has molded himself on the American right wing. The policies he introduced as Finance Minister came directly from the US right wing playbook.

      If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
      If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
      If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

      by A Gutin Daf on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:43:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WattleBreakfast

    If the Israeli opposition -- I wouldn't dare call it Israel's "left"; like most modern states, Israel doesn't have a "left" -- were to unite, it would still be a minority.

    And a shrinking one besides.

    •  it's for upcoming elections (0+ / 0-)

      that is, they could run as a joint party and gain more votes- votes that don't get you a full seat in parliament in the israeli system go unused- if you combine parties those would add up to more seats, not to mention stronger PR with the Israeli public

  •  The best way to help the opposition (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, HoundDog, wader

    strengthen and -- as you say -- to unite, is to speak out.  Israelis need to hear from pro-I voices -- here and elsewhere -- that we do not support the settlements, the bigotry of Avigdor Lieberman,  the growing income inequality, or the demands of the ultra-orthodox.  Speaking out strongly against these things is in in accord with the best of Jewish and pro-Israel traditions.

    If we are silent, the right will interpret that as support for the status quo. Let's not let that happen.

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