Thursday, August 08, 2019

  • Thursday, August 08, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
"Progressive Jews" were very upset at a recent article in The Forward by Seffi Kogen, the Global Director of Young Leadership for the American Jewish Committee, where he said that anti-Israel group IfNotNow is not representative of American Jews.

A response by Jonah Nelson shows how easy it is to lie with statistics.

To back up his point, Kogen relied on a single survey, from which he extrapolated that most Jews either do not support the anti-occupation work done by IfNotNow or the organization itself.

Mr. Kogen is wrong on the first fact, and likely wrong on the second.

The survey found that 92% of American Jews call themselves “generally pro-Israel.” But this same survey found that two-thirds of all respondents are also either critical of “some” or of “many” of the Israeli government’s policies.

But Mr. Kogen concludes from this survey that the majority of American-Jewish voters who are openly critical of the Israeli government’s actions can’t possibly be supportive of IfNotNow — which draws its support from those respondents who call themselves “generally not pro-Israel.”
Kogen was accurate. There is no honest way to claim that IfNotNow members are supportive of Israel as a whole. To claim that Jews, who will disagree with anyone and everyone, are on the same page as IfNotNow because they oppose some of the policies of the Israeli is ridiculous. Hell, I don't support 100% of Israeli policies.

Note also Nelson's sleight of hand to change the 59%  of American Jews who are "pro-Israel but critical of at least some Israeli government policies" into "openly critical of Israeli government actions." There is a huge difference between not agreeing with everything the government of Israel does and being openly critical.

Also, the survey mentioned said that only 3% of American Jews are "generally not pro-Israel." Nelson adds to them the 5% who didn't answer to make it appear that they are 7%.

But 3% is indeed fringe, and every person who joins IfNotNow is a small subset of that 3% that actually hates Israel enough to be actively against it.

IfNotNow, by its own language, merely “seeks to end American Jewish support for the occupation.” That’s it.
This is as disingenuous as it gets. IfNotNow's members are anti-Zionist, even if the organization claims that it has no official position on BDS and Israel as a Jewish state.  Jewish Voice for Peace maintained that same fiction until this year but everyone knew from reading tweets and articles from their leaders that they were never remotely pro-Israel, and IfNotNow is the same.

For example, AJC’s own survey from 2019 found that nearly two-thirds of American Jews supported an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank. In other words, they oppose the occupation.


More deception from Nelson. I am quite Zionist and I oppose "occupation." I don't believe that area A or Gaza are legally occupied, Area C should be annexed to Israel and Area B is a disputed area. No Zionist wants to control millions of hostile Arabs. You could say that the late Meir Kahane was against "occupation," too, by wanting to expel the Arabs.

I don't have a problem with a demilitarized Palestinian state that doesn't threaten Israel as long as the borders are defensible. To say that someone who wants a two-state solution, no matter how far fetched the possibility, is opposed  to a Jewish presence in the territories altogether - which is IfNotNow's position - is dishonest.

He goes further:

Furthermore, more than two-thirds surveyed answered that either some or all of the settlements should be evacuated when a Palestinian state is established. The transfer of civilians from one territory to another is one element of the legal wrong of the occupation, and this survey makes clear that most American Jews agree that even beyond the purely military aspect, other aspects of the occupation need to be resolved, contrary to the Israeli government’s current position.

Put a different way, they agree that the transfer and settlement issue needs to be resolved roughly in line with IfNotNow’s position of conclusively “ending” all aspects of the occupation.
Not even close. There are settlements that are illegal under Israeli law - wanting Israel to uphold its own laws is not evidence of being "anti-occupation," as Nelson implies. Similarly, if a Palestinian leadership should emerge that is not actively seeking the destruction of all of Israel (via "right of return," for example) then, yes, other Jewish communities would either have to be dismantled or become part of the Arab majority state. This is again not at all close to IfNotNow's positions.

And just like Nelson can look at this question on the survey and conclude "more than two-thirds surveyed answered that either some or all of the settlements should be evacuated when a Palestinian state is established" one can also say that 74% of those who responded believe that a Jewish presence must remain on some of the territories even after a peace agreement.

Put it this way: IfNotNow's position is that even the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the Kotel are Palestinian territory. If someone would poll American Jews as to whether Israel should control those "settlements," it would be crystal clear that IfNotNow doesn't represent American Jews in any sense.

Nelson, for whatever reason, is trying to mainstream a group that is indeed fringe. The Forward, for whatever reason, thinks that his deceptive arguments have merit.





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