LAST WEEK, the Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) hosted Stephen Bannon, US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor until recently, for a festive dinner.
The invitation was met with harsh criticism. Many US Jews see Bannon as a radical right-wing ideologist and as an anti-Semite. But ZOA President Morton Klein claimed Bannon was “a great friend of Israel and the Jews.” That’s what he was told by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, he said.
For a long time now, official Israel and the American liberal Jewry have been on a course of collision on issues of state and religion, on matters related to “the quality of Israeli democracy” and on the “occupation” issue.
Former US President Barack Obama, who was perceived as representing the liberal Jewish stance, said that in the battle against anti-Semitism “we are all Jews.”
But the Jewish American right and the Israeli government want to erase the Obama legacy. For them, saying “we are all Jews” is essentially different from saying “we are all Israelis.”
This statement focuses on anti-Semitism and on the memory of the Holocaust as universal lessons, and indirectly indicates that right-wing Israel is on the problematic site in the battle on universal values.
The Jewish right in America and in Israel is no longer afraid of the “old anti-Semitism.” ZOA’s praise for Bannon expands the pro-Israel circle in the American right, while driving the American centre away from Israel.
Many Jews, including conservatives, harshly condemn what they see as the Israeli alliance with “Zionist anti-Semites.” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times that the alliance between the Jewish right and Bannon was a disgrace on a historical level.
FULL STORY The Israeli embrace of ‘Zionist anti-Semites’ (Ynet)
Zionists have never been fond of American Jews (Forward)
ELAN EZRACHI Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely’s deplorable dismissal of America’s Jews is sadly not new. Israeli society on the whole, and political and cultural players in particular, have related to American Jews with critique and indifference for decades
Photo: Steve Bannon (AP)