It takes someone with courage to criticize Israel. You will be branded an anti-Semite and get full page attacks in the New York Times. The NY Times book review of Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel and the Palestinians didn’t get quite that personal, but it was certainly defensive about Israel. Many of the criticisms of Carter’s book have been somewhat nit-picky, but touted as if they meant that the whole thrust of his book was wrong. The NYT review followed that tack.
American Jews should welcome Carter’s book, as well as the critique of the Jewish lobby by the two professors, because Israel is in danger of going off the deep end. It has serious international, domestic, and religious problems. It is perceived by many, with justification, as an evil state. It doesn’t have to be, but it needs to make changes, just as America has to make changes. I worry that America’s decision to embrace torture in Iraq, Guantanamo, and other places is built on the Israeli model.
Israelis and American Jews should be thanking Carter, rather than criticizing him, because if they don’t make changes now, they will pay for it later.