This is the official pro-Israel test.
All treif thoughts and questions humanely excised.
By me. Your test mohel.
So let’s get to it.
First, the rules: Add one point for each answer. Subtract one point for each non-answer. That’s it. In deference to the recent Pew Report ,(http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/jews-and-judaism/) which reflected less Jewish attachment to Israel, this test follows a non-competitive youth sports model. Mere participation will be recorded as a pro-Israel victory. But you do get to add an extra point if you care enough to complain about the scoring.
Now to the test. First the easy section:
Do you believe that many progressive Jews are too prone to favor Palestinian talking points, ignore all the good that Israel has done, and focus solely on Israel’s real, imagined and historical faults?
Do you believe that many conservative Jews are too prone to favor Israeli talking points, ignore all the good that current Palestinian leaders have done, and focus solely on Palestinians’ real, imagined and historical faults?
Do you support AIPAC because it strongly defends Israeli policies even if the U.S. government is opposed?
Do you oppose AIPAC because it strongly defends Israeli policies even if the U.S. government is opposed?
Do you believe Israel has a p.r. problem due mostly to anti-Jewish or anti-Israel bias or a policy problem due mostly to its actions and inactions?
Do you prefer Haaretz because its writers are objective about Israel’s many internal and external issues?
Do you prefer The Jerusalem Post because its writers actually seem to like Israel a little bit?
Now we get a little more difficult:
Do you believe Birthright trips should also involve more interaction with Arab Israelis and Palestinians and fewer, ahem, interactions with Israeli soldiers?
Do you believe the West Bank is safer for those Israelis who conduct uncoordinated (without the Palestinian police) night raids to arrest Palestinians or for those Israeli NGO’s who interview Palestinians affected by the uncoordinated night raids?
Do you refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria because, in relationship to Israel’s current borders, it is really the East Bank and you hate geographical inaccuracies? Or do you use the biblical nomenclature because you want to send a message that the West Bank (west of at least to Jordan) is as much a part of Israel as is Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the trademark-infringing Stars and Bucks coffee shop in Bethlehem?(http://milfordandrewpastor.com/2012/07/01/stars-and-bucks-in-bethlehem/)
Do you feel more of a bond with the suffering of Israeli and Palestinian civilians who suffer from missile and terrorism attacks or with American citizens who end up directly and indirectly supporting the Palestinian and Israeli knuckleheads and quasi-leaders who have starred for far too long in this generational drama?
Would you be disappointed if the Palestinian-Israeli blamestorming industries stopped their half century bull run and put all of those who are seemingly so vested in their confirmation biases permanently out of business?
Do you wonder why Israelis and Palestinians keep getting blessed with leaders who, when served up with opportunities to reach a peace agreement, manage to focus on what my dog keeps eating in our yard and not the treat we give her if she just manages to maneuver around it?
Do you know the difference between a settlement bloc and an outpost? (Editorial freebie: The settlements, located near the Green Line, are more like cities, and will almost certainly remain part of Israel. The outposts, typically located near Arab communities, are more like hovels, and will only remain if Israel opts for a dystopian future.)
Do you believe Jewish non-citizens should continue to financially support and publicly advocate for Israel, yet, as many in the Israeli government believe, refrain from the type of public criticism citizen-recipients are allowed to make, because such “in the family” criticism weakens Israel and gives sustenance to Israel’s enemies? Or do you believe, as current Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni does, that criticism borne out of a desire to see Israel succeed is normal and healthy, and that discouraging it will tend to further disengage Jews who would otherwise become supporters?
Level one question: Would you consider it anti-Israel or anti-New Jersey if someone suggested that Israel and New Jersey are not only similar in size, but also similar in adopting policies that create travel difficulties for their enemies? Level two follow up: Would you consider it more pro-Israel to point out that Israel’s commuting issues are justifiable because the delays have been predictable annoyances for several decades and the barriers and security have worked to largely eliminate West Bank-related terrorism, while New Jersey’s delays are unpredictable and have only worked to eliminate Governor Christie’s presidential chances?
We conclude our test with an expert level multiple choice. Connect Daniel Gordis (http://danielgordis.org/), Caroline Glick (http://carolineglick.com/) and Gideon Levy (http://www.haaretz.com/misc/writers/gideon-levy-1.402) to their views:
Holds dystopian views on Palestinian leadership and their incendiary calumny as well as the ultra-Orthodox and their incendiary ultra-Orthodox-ness. Is not a fan of ultra-Orthodox control over religious matters, their out of control procreation habits, and their overrepresentation on the state welfare rolls. Also believes Israel has no more than a 50/50 chance of existing in 50 years.
Believes that J Street and anyone to the left of Avigdor Lieberman, and his brother-in-thinking (if not in family ties), Joe Lieberman, is involved with the Obamacare administration, Hillary Clinton and progressive Jewish apologists, in knowingly and unknowingly encouraging anti-Israel policies. The majority of the columns feature unusual conspiracy themes, frequently in five thousand words or more.
An Israeli columnist for Haaretz who seems as likely to fault the Israeli government for the sun setting sooner in Ramallah than in Jerusalem as he is to fault Israel for failing to take actions necessary to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Has never met an Israeli government decision that couldn’t be trashed. Supports an Israeli economic boycott. His alter-ego on the right would be Naftalie Bennett.
(Spoiler alert….The answers are in the same order as their list of names. What, I should make it difficult for you? You get points just for playing and now you complain because I take sympathy on my expert-level readers? For shame…)
And now for the test maker’s editorial conclusions….
The Israeli and Palestinian issues are known. The Israeli and Palestinian bargaining positions and potential deal points are known. The will to make the tough decisions necessary for each side to compromise is also known — it doesn’t yet exist. The U.S. can serve a vital a role in helping each side recognize that their “concessions” will ultimately further their own political and economic successes and are as much a gift to their own people as they are to their bargaining partner.
Where is the real two-state vision if Israel’s tactical and strategic decisions are seemingly determined more by the actions and presumed future actions of militant factions than by Israel’s own overarching plans that presumably, but with little supportive evidence, run much deeper than military response and counter-response, closely followed by continued West Bank natural and unnatural settlement growth? Where is the real two-state vision if Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas continues to act as if the Palestinians won the 1967 war, that he will continue to have Arab League and his people’s support indefinitely, and that the failure of the two principal Palestinian factions to unite is not a looming critical issue to resolve?
It’s also far past time to get off of silly side issues. Take the recognition one.
Israelis don’t currently recognize Palestine as a real state. Palestinians won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I don’t recognize avocados as real food. So what?
How other people describe your state (or vegetable) isn’t a sign of anything other than word choice. (Editorial admission: In the case of my avocado rejection, however, I admit a clear anti-green, anti-mushy bias.)
Is there now a state of Palestine? Or is Palestine only Palestine once an agreement is reached with Israel? Should Israel insist that if Palestinians refuse to refer to it as a Jewish state that means Palestinians don’t really recognize Israel’s right to exist? Or should Israel accept that Palestinians have formally accepted Israel as a legitimate state since 1993? (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/07/palestinian-president-abbas-says-there-is-no-way-hell-recognize-israel-as/)
If tomorrow each side placed “Israel is a Jewish state” and “Palestine is a real state” placards in front of the other then, as surely as Scarlett Johannson wishes she had never heard of SodaStream and B.D.S, one delaying tactic would get exchanged for another. If trust is lacking, as it is on both sides, then what people say won’t matter anyway — it won’t be trusted. What can be trusted, what can be relied on, are the actions necessary to reach and secure a peace agreement.
A 19 year old Arab Israeli student, who speaks fluent English, Hebrew, and Arabic, recently told me that she struggled with her identification. Yes, she is an Israeli citizen, but whether it’s unequal state benefits or different state military service and travel requirements, or just the often negative reaction when a Jewish Israeli finds out she isn’t also Jewish, she feels like a “second or third class — is there a third class? — citizen.” Yet, she doesn’t feel Palestinian because she knows she has a much better life in Israel than she would have in the West Bank, and when she travels to the West Bank she feels like she is “under suspicion” there also.
I then asked her whether she had ever thought about what could change things. Her solution (paraphrased because my I-phone record function only works if I use it)was inspiring: Don’t worry about labeling me. I am a person. I should not be defined by whether I am Jewish, Arab or Palestinian or by what one, two, three or thirty generations of people behind me did. I am me, here today. I want to live a normal life. I want to get and give to my country the same as everyone else. Then I will feel and everyone else should feel this is my country, too. And if everyone pointed forward instead of backward and focused more on people’s actions today, then we’ll get to a peace agreement. We can remember, but we must also forget. Trust and verify. Verify and verify. But let’s realize we are all better off if each of us is better off.
What could be a more pro-Israeli (and pro-Palestinian) message?