“Unite the Right” Divides the Jews: Charlottesville and Relations between American Jewry and Israel | INSS
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s motives for his limited response to President Trump’s statements on the Charlottesville event are easily discerned, difficult though they may be for some American Jews to swallow. While for many American Jews the sight of neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching in the streets is difficult on several levels, many Israelis, even those who share American revulsion at racism and hate, may view other examples of anti-Semitism, such as certain manifestations of the BDS movement, as a greater threat. While these differences risk widening the existing gap between Israelis and American Jews, several steps could help assuage these tensions. As responsible Israeli leaders have no fundamental disagreement on the principles at stake, it should be possible to communicate to American Jews a consistent message of solidarity. Indeed, if Israel seeks American Jewry’s assistance in fighting BDS and delegitimization, it needs to provide such support in return. And if Israeli leaders cannot do so, they should be prepared for further estrangement.