What Does It Mean to Support Israel?

Mar 26, 2015

By Herb Silverman

In a recent piece about Israel, I chose the deliberately provocative title, “Why I No Longer Support Israel.” I did so because of America’s unwavering support for Israel. Republicans and Democrats rarely agree on anything, but they all claim to love America and to love Israel. We hear no such whole-hearted love pronouncements or regular vows of support for France, Canada, or any other allies.

That piece started a veritable cyber fire, eliciting over 900 comments and 8,000 “likes,” many more than for anything else I’ve ever written online. However, most comments were negative, and most “likes” were for comments critical of my perspective.

Some misinterpreted what I said, but I also learned from thoughtful comments, and if I had to do it over, I would express a few things differently. We don’t often get a second chance. I’m taking one here, and I’ll break the comments into 7 general categories and respond to each.

Comment 1: If you don’t support Israel, then you oppose Israel’s right to exist.

My Response: I no longer support Israel in the same way I no longer support President Obama. I enthusiastically supported and voted for him in 2008, but I was disappointed by much of what he then did and didn’t on key issues that mattered to me. Nevertheless, I voted again for Obama in 2012 because I preferred him to alternatives like Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum, Trump, and others. While human rights violations in Israel are significant enough for me to withhold support today, I acknowledge that Israel gives more human rights to its citizens than does any other country in the region. I do support Israel’s right to exist and I hope all those countries will one day recognize the right of everyone in every country to exist in peace.

Comment 2: Go live in a Muslim country.

My Response: I was told to move to Iran, Pakistan, or Afghanistan, where I would presumably lose my head. I also received a number of positive comments from Muslims because of my criticism of Israel. They are probably unaware of far more critical pieces I’ve written about Muslims. See, for instance, here and here.


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