The Real Reason for ‘Mainstream’ Jewish America’s Appalling Silence on Annexation

There was a time in our history when standing up in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a bold stance for a Jewish community leader or organization to take. Those who did so were often criticized and even ostracized. 

Following that there was a period of time in which our community’s center and center/right organizations came around, and they too declared their support for two states as the only effective way to end the conflict. Today "mainstream" Jewish organizations all tout their support of a two-state solution. 

But whether or not you support two-states is the 1990’s question. Today it comes down to this: what are you going to do about it? When actions are taken that threaten the viability of two states living side by side in peace and security, what do you say? What do you do?

Unfortunately, for too many organizations the answer is one long awkward silence. It’s like Prime Minister Netanyahu is the man in the elevator cursing loudly and threatening someone on his cell phone and all those Jewish community organizations are just staring at the ceiling and hoping they get to their floor before he says something even worse.

The failure of U.S. Jewish groups which officially support the two-state solution to come out in opposition to the Israeli government’s annexation initiative – an initiative that is completely antithetical to the two-state solution – is appalling. 

Right now, the Israeli government is making plans that, if implemented, will be incredibly damaging. Annexation threatens the futures of Palestine and Israel. It threatens Israel’s relationships with the Arab world, including its neighbors Jordan and Egypt. And, never forget, it threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship and, in perhaps the saddest manifestation, the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community. 

Yet AIPAC continues to refer to Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East” even as annexation threatens to further erode that reality, and they tell us that "bipartisan support for the fundamentals of the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship must supersede any policy dispute," including a possible dispute over West Bank annexation.