In spite of the fact that Israeli snipers continue to shoot scores of unarmed protesting Gazans every Friday with virtually no coverage from the media, there are some signs that the ability of Israel and its friends to control the narrative regarding the Jewish state’s appalling human rights violations is beginning to weaken. To be sure, The Lobby still has sharp teeth and is prepared to use them as in last week’s report of a Florida high school principal with 26 years of experience and an otherwise impeccable record who was fired because he said that “Not everyone believes in the holocaust.”
Questioning the established view of Israel is long overdue. It was first challenged by Illinois ex-congressman Paul Findley in his 1985 book They Dare to Speak: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, but received a considerable boost when two leading academics John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard wrote The Israel Lobby And U.S. Foreign Policy in 2006. Virtually overnight it became acceptable in some circles to begin to discuss the powerful influence that the Israel Lobby has over foreign policy formulation in the United States. More recently, the final taboo was broken when two junior congresswomen began to talk about Israel’s baleful influence and linked it to its obvious source: the Benjamins. Jews and money and political power exercised on behalf of Israel, something that had been clear for many years but forbidden territory, suddenly became a hotly debated issue, even in some of the mainstream media.
Talking about money and Israel has also freed up some other lines of inquiry. Liberal Democratic critics of the Jewish state’s human rights record, who were shut out by the party leadership at the 2016 nominating convention, have started to speak out and, surprisingly, some of the candidates for the 2020 nomination have begun to test the waters by suggesting that Israel’s behavior just might be a whole lot better.
The recently concluded J Street conference demonstrated that loving Israel and all its works is hardly a rock-solid bipartisan issue any more, at least for many Democrats who actually believe in principles like freedom of speech and democracy. J Street is a relatively liberal Jewish group that promotes itself as being pro-Israeli,