US Jewish leaders despair of Netanyahu’s policies

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US Jewish leaders despair of Netanyahu’s policies

American community criticises the Israeli prime minister's government's attitudes towards the Palestinians and Progressive Jews.

Joe Millis is a journalist

Donald Trump meeting with Bibi Netanyahu at the UN
Donald Trump meeting with Bibi Netanyahu at the UN

US Jewish leaders have launched a scathing attack on Israeli policies, saying “they want to throw up their hands” because of the Netanyahu government’s attitudes towards the Palestinians, Donald Trump and Progressive Jews.

The leaders have also warned top officials from the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs that “relations between Israel and US Jewry are at their lowest point since the state of Israel was established”.

Eric Goldstein, the chief executive of the UJA-Federation of New York – the largest in the US – said that two main issues distance American-Jews from supporting Israel: the strong support shown to the Trump administration by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the actions taken by his government in regard to the Palestinians.

“People who, up until three years ago, were the biggest supporters of Israel now say to us they want to throw up their hands, that all of their love and labour on behalf of Israel went down the drain,” Goldstein said, adding his office gets daily phone calls from donors who stipulate their donation money is not to be invested in Israel.

Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv added that Goldstein said: “When they see how Palestinians are treated, how asylum seekers are treated and how the Israeli Rabbinical Court has a monopoly [on Jewish practice in Israel] they say what we have here is a far-reaching cultural gap which makes them feel very put-off so they choose to disengage.”

Education and Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett was wrong when he claimed Jewish Americans’ “coldness” to Israel is unrelated to what Israel does, since “actions taken by [the Israeli] government have a decisive role in shaping our attitude to Israel”, Goldstein noted.

Goldstein was the only one among the Jewish-American leaders who agreed to speak on record, yet the others who took part in the meeting expressed similar views.

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