Jewish Left-Dwelling Americans are probably among the most well-meaning people on the entire planet.  I have never seen such unrequited niceness in my entire life, actually.

I suppose that I am just a tad biased, but I am willing to bet good shekels that American Jews are over-represented in the various charities, civic groups, non-profit organizations, and soup kitchens of America.


We come out of a religious-ethical tradition grounded in social justice and reinforced by the long shadow of the Holocaust.  We want peace for all Israelis, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, Rosicrucians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Russian Orthodox Catholics, Mennonites, Atheists, and God-Knows-What-All.

We want peace for everybody, everywhere, and never tire of insisting to anyone who will listen – whether they like it or not or even care – that we do so.

We even, many of us, want to Repair the World which, I have to tell you, I find a tad ambitious.  Tikkun Olam seems a little above my pay grade, but if peace-loving Jewish left-dwelling Americans honestly think that they have the wisdom to pull-off the job, then good for them.

{As a poker player, however, I would not place that bet.}

In terms of the Arab-Israel conflict, we want two states for two peoples.  That is, we really want twenty-three Arab states for one people and a single small democratic, Jewish state for our people wherein maybe – if the Arabs will let us – Jews can live in peace.

And, yet, somehow, against all reason, we cannot seem to understand why this would not be acceptable to the Arab majority throughout the Middle East, who want nothing whatsoever to do with Jews, period.

We want Arabs and Muslims, and everyone else in Israel, to live free and democratic lives next to a “Palestinian” state without being under the gun.  This is because we western liberal Jews see ourselves as rational and peaceful and, for the most part, we are rational and peaceful.  Most of us who come out of the American Jewish Left were raised in middle-class homes that emphasized education and an ethos of justice.

We grew up within a late twentieth-century American political milieu, heavily influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, that stressed that people “of color” in the United States have been historically persecuted and held-back economically due to centuries of racism, genocide, slavery, and Jim Crow laws.

Thus the American Jewish Left was raised to empathize – cognizant of Jewish history – with the poor and the persecuted and to generally assume that the problems of poor Black people, Latinos, and the Native Indigenous in the United States are due, at least in some significant measure, to institutionalized economic and cultural discrimination.

It is for this reason that so many peace-loving Jewish left-dwelling Americans empathize with the poor embattled “Palestinian” people.

Getting Smacked Around In Our Own Political Homes

However, American Jews would also very much like to stop having to constantly defend Israel from BDS and malicious, anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist attacks within their own political homes.

Wherever left-leaning American Jews congregate on the political landscape they are called upon to justify the allegedly cruel and inhumane behavior of their brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

That is to say, within left-leaning American political discourse, in almost any venue, Jews have a moral spotlight placed upon them.

We have seen this recently with undergraduates Rachel Beyda, at UCLA, and Molly Horwitz, at Stanford University.  Both young ladies applied for positions within their respective student governments only to be questioned about their capacity, as Jews, for fair-mindedness in decision-making.  They both, I understand, made it onto their respective student governments, but not before having to go through a humiliating process wherein their integrity was challenged for no other reason than that they happen to be Jewish.

This type of objectively anti-Jewish racism, it should be noted, is a direct result of anti-Zionism and the BDS movement on American college campuses throughout the country.  Were it not for anti-Zionism and BDS those two young women would not have been singled out for humiliation.

Americans in the Democratic Party, and the American Left, more generally, are subject to the constant drip, drip, drip of anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist defamation of the Jewish people in the Middle East who they are coming to believe, more and more, are racist, imperialist, colonialist monsters who have used the Holocaust as a cudgel to beat down the “indigenous” Arab population.

This represents the general mood of the so-called “Palestinian narrative.”

Its influence, whatever its intent, undermines the general well-being of all Jewish people, not just those of us who happen to live in the Jewish home.  The point is to make all Jews feel immoral, and to make others believe that we are immoral, for restoring or supporting our national sovereignty after two thousand years of displacement and abuse.

What they are telling the world is that despite the Holocaust – and despite thirteen centuries of second and third-class non-citizenship as dhimmis under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism – that Jewish sovereignty on the very land that Jewish people come from is an abomination that must be weakened, undermined, and destroyed.

The reason for this is because the “Palestinian narrative,” while spreading the blood-libel that Jews enjoy killing non-Jewish children, also insists that we are a nation of land thieves who have no organic connection to Jerusalem or Judea… nor, apparently, anywhere else.

The Palestinian Narrative and the Jewish-Left Confirmation

The “Palestinian narrative,” however, is either true or it is false.

That is to say, it is either true that the Jewish people are from that land or it is true that the Jews are not from that land.

If it is true – as history tells us – that the Jewish people have been living and working and building and writing on the land of Israel for millennia then Israel can hardly be unlawfully or illegitimately occupying its own land.

If the “Palestinian narrative” is, indeed, false and therefore if Jews actually come from Judea and Samaria, then perhaps the diaspora Jewish Left might cease confirming, and thereby promoting, the idea that the small bit of Jewish land on the edge of the Mediterranean actually belongs to the conquering Arabs.

Whenever peace-loving Jewish left-dwelling Americans claim that they oppose the “Occupation” (with the Big O) they are essentially claiming that the Jewish people have no indigenous rights to the Land of Israel.

They, therefore, oppose “settlers” and “settlements” in the “West Bank.”

“Settlers” and “settlements,” of course, are vaguely negative and loaded terms to mean Jews who live in Jewish townships where neither Barack Obama, nor Mahmoud Abbas, seem to think that Jews have any right to live.  Our friend Yosef, of Love of the Land, and his wife, Melody, are thought by some to represent a problem because they live on the very land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Not wishing to offend any but Jewish sensibilities, we also refer to the Land of Israel beyond the so-called “Green Line,” Judea and Samaria, the traditional heart-land of the Jewish people, as “West Bank.”

Judea and Samaria have been referred to as “Judea” and “Samaria” (or “Yehuda” and “Shomron” for you hard-core boys) for thousands of years.  The words “Judea” and “Yehuda” refer to the ancient Jewish presence on that very land.  It was only after the British took a mighty bite out of Israel and forked it over to the Hashemites – whoever they are, exactly – that the newly founded state of Jordan (Trans-Jordan) labeled the area “West Bank” in order to erase any Jewish connection to Jewish land.

When we refer to Judea and Samaria as “West Bank” we tell the world that the Jews have no historical connection to the very land that Jews have lived on for thousands of years.

And this is how peace-loving Jewish left-dwelling Americans inadvertently set the Jewish people up to be smacked down and how we confirm the false narrative of our enemies.

I recommend against it… and I bet thatVic Rosenthalwould, too.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleAliyah to Har HaBayit/Ascending the Temple Mount: Can Rabbis be Wrong?
Next articleHow to Cure Israel of its ‘Weakness’ Malaise
Michael Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at [email protected].