“What we stand for” misses
Mr. Ivan Frank, a frequent contributor to the Jewish Chronicle, presented an op-ed in the June 21, 2019, Chronicle called “What we stand for.” Mr. Frank attempts to repudiate the right-wing views of columnists Anat Talmy and Abby W. Schachter presented in their column “Why Israelis left the left behind” (Chronicle, May 17). He provides a fairly accurate description of the progressive and Democrat thoughts on where Israel should stand on things.
Perhaps applying American progressive social and political ideas and thoughts as if they should be the norm in Israel is American wishful thinking or ignorance. Israel, compared to its neighbors, is — even with a conservative right-wing government — light years ahead of where its neighbors stand on Western values. But Israel is not a U.S. middle-to-upper-middle-class enclave like the ones many of us live in here today. They are bordered by Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, where terrorist groups and Iranian proxies want to annihilate Israel. Israelis send their children off to military service to be in harm’s way — not many Americans do that. How many of us wake up each day wondering if the sky will rain rockets? Israel has multiple internal problems like we have here, including but not limited to housing crisis, political and religious friction, and yet it still has amazing contributions to the world in medicine, technology and science, to name a few.
To assume Israelis should think like Americans and what we stand for ignores the demographics of Israel, where many of its citizens are from or the descendents of people from the former Soviet Union, North Africa and the Middle East. Western liberal progressive thought is not their political base. It is a good thing the majority of American Jews love and support Israel. To assume they should fit our political mold or Mr. Franks’s may be condescending.
Mr. Frank often presents critical statements and questions on Israel. We as a community are fortunate to have the Chronicle as a forum for dialogue. Perhaps someday Mr. Frank will share with us his view on the Arab side of the equation and how they should adapt Western progressive political values and their errors in not doing so. It gets old to keep beating on Israel.