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THE UNITED STATES: Pro-Palestinian Jews

Commenting on the pro-Palestinian article in the Orlando Sentinel cited by Helen McPenrod, Fay Afaf Kanafani says many Jews living in Florida share her sympathy for the Palestinians (which I do) and that I am "under the spell of the ongoing electoral soap opera in Florida, when you consider that all the Americans who live in Florida should be blind to the suicidal war that Israel is waging on the Palestinians. Observers like you should be experienced enough to know otherwise. Scholars like Noam Chomsky are among the Jewish/Americans who live in Florida." She sends a long article from Yediot Achronot (11/22/00), the Israeli newspaper with the largest circulation, expressing the same feelings and calling on the Israeli settlers in Palestine territory to return to Israeli territory and help put an end to the violence. Indeed, the pro-Zionist Jews in the US are so vocal that we forget that not all Jews think alike. We have at Stanford Jews who sympathize with the Palestinians, notably history professor Joel Beinin; they essentially share the views of Noam Chomsky. On the other hand, I have a good Jewish friend, a staunch liberal, who despises them and is totally committed to the Zionist cause. He reads the English-language Jerusalem Post, which has a relatively small circulation, but had never heard of Yediot Achronot. I suspect he is typical of American Jews, who feel that they have to support Israel, meaning the Zionist position, ignoring the complexity of public opinion in Israel. Few Americans realize that the Soviet Jews who fled to Israel have good relations with the Putin government of Russia, which thus has influence in both the Arab and Israeli camps. I have seen no serious article on this.

Ronald Hilton - 11/25/00