Jews, don’t be afraid of questioning Israel

What are the boundaries for acceptable debate over Israel according to Zionists? Usually, we’re told that criticism is acceptable…but then any discussion over Israeli crimes is deemed inappropriate.

So, this blog post by James Besser, Washington correspondent for NY Jewish Week, is interesting (via Muzzlewatch).

He highlights a recent Haaretz editorial that challenges Israel’s policy over Gaza and its inability to provide better security for Israel.

Besser, a Zionist, then writes the following:

What I’m wondering: wouldn’t any American Jewish group making such an argument be tarred as a violator of the pro-Israel orthodoxy, shunned, called “dangerous” to the Jewish state?

I’m not saying Israel’s Gaza policy is wrong.

From my safe perch in…  Washington, I honestly don’t know what the best solution is to the Gaza-West Bank split, the tightening grip of Hamas on the strip and the fact the terrorist group doesn’t show any sign of moving beyond its goal of wiping Israel out.

I am saying there’s something disturbing about the growing determination to stifle debate in an American Jewish community with a multiplicity of pro-Israel views. Israelis engage in vigorous debate about these issues all the time, but apparently our own leaders believe that support for Israel is so shaky here that we can’t raise issues like whether or not the Gaza blockade is in Israel’s long-term security interests.

I also find it peculiar that when Jewish leaders here talk about Gaza, the only question they address is whether or not Israel is justified in taking harsh measures (their answer: of course, and I don’t disagree).

Lost in the…  debate: is there any evidence these policies are working?…  Does history suggest they are likely to work in the long term, or just the opposite?…  Justifiable policies that produce negative results don’t strike me as a great idea, but perish the thought that we actually talk about that.

This is progress, albeit on a small scale.