The results of the general election in Israel are very difficult to swallow for many American Jews. Not only did they prefer Yair Lapid to Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, they loathe Netanyahu’s likely coalition partners. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was explicit about it, writing, “The Israel we know is gone,” and “Lord save us if this [Right leaning government] is a harbinger of what’s coming our way [to America].” He also stated that every Jewish student who supports Israel and every Zionist American Jew will have to rethink their support, and every Israel supporting politician will dread being interviewed about Israel.
Friedman is not alone. In the weeks and months leading up to the election, Jewish American organizations poured millions of dollars into the Arab society in Israel to encourage them to vote in order to weaken Israel’s Right, since they vote for Arab and anti-Zionist or Islamist parties. Sami Abu Shehadeh, leader of the Israeli Arab anti-Zionist Islamist party Balad, asked in dismay during an interview [in Hebrew] on Israel’s Channel 13: “Why would an American Jew, who doesn’t understand us [Arabs], who doesn’t know where we live, pour millions of dollars into building all kinds of mechanisms to raise the voting percentage—busses, phone calls, people going door to door, etc.”
The answer to Abu Shehadeh’s question is clear and simple: They did this to prevent the State of Israel from democratically electing a government according to the will of the majority of the people. The truth is that the majority of American Jews think only about making their lives in America calmer and more convenient. For them, Israel is a pain in the neck. They want an Israeli government that aligns itself with American interests, at the expense of its own. This is how the majority of American Jews feel about Israel, and anyone who says otherwise is, well, a politician.
I want to be clear about this: American Jews have no right to interfere with internal affairs in Israel, certainly not in the results of the election. They do not live in Israel; they are not responsible for what is happening here, and they do not have Israel’s best interest in mind, only their own.
There is an oft-cited argument that because American Jews donate to Israel, they deserve to have a say in Israel’s affairs. If it were up to me, I would ban all money transfers from America to Israel, no donations, and no support. We will do just fine without it. Only those who live here should have a say in who runs the country.
Besides, Israel’s position in the world and the way that non-Jewish Americans relate to Israel and to Jews in America has nothing to do with the identity of Israel’s prime minister. Israel’s status is determined by the level of Israel’s internal cohesion. The more united Israeli society is, the more it garners the world’s support.
Through their donations, American Jews increase division in the Israeli society, leading to more hatred of Israel and antisemitism in their own country and around the world. By trying to work only for its own interest, American Jewry is producing the very result it is trying to avoid: intensification of antisemitism. As is always the case with Jews, we have no enemies other than our own selfishness.