It is the everyday harassment that shows the hatred behind official Israeli ideology
Opinion: US Jewish attitudes to Zionist state not as monolithic as some think
Tom Carew has been finding out more about all this than he will have been happy to learn. He has had it now from both sides. As chair of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League, Mr Carew has long been a target for denunciation by Irish supporters of the Palestinian cause. But now that he has spoken out against Israeli soldiers who roughed up a French diplomat and others bringing aid to Palestinian families whose homes had been demolished, he finds himself excoriated by Zionists as a liar out to damage Israel.
In fact, it is the sheer irrationality of the response to Mr Carew that does Israel damage. The same attitude has already had a significant negative effect on the way Israel is seen by millions previously minded to take their stand on the country’s side.
American Jews are regularly portrayed as a solid Zionist bloc exercising huge influence on US politics. This has never been the whole truth. The strongest elements of the US Israeli lobby are not Jews at all. And there is growing evidence of an unwillingness on the part of a rising generation of US Jews to stand up for Israel in all circumstances.
The Pew Research Centre this week published the results of the largest ever study of US Jewish attitudes. There was naught in it for the comfort of Binyamin Netanyahu.
Fewer than half of US Jews believe the land that is now Israel was given by God to the Jewish people. Only 40 per cent have ever visited Israel; only half of these went back on a second visit. Only 38 per cent believe that the Israeli government sincerely wants a peace deal with the Palestinians. The percentage who believe that “caring about Israel” is essential to Jewishness stands at 42.
On the other hand, 56 per cent identify “working for justice and equality” as a necessary element of Jewishness.
Mr Carew was acting in Israel’s best interest in denouncing the assault on diplomats delivering aid to Palestinians. But Israel apparently cannot see that. Which will be the cause of its downfall in the end.