Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AsAJews in MoveOverAIPAC

Adam Holland reports that "As a Jew" protesters are "heckling" an AIPAC event. I think there are a few things worth being clear on.

Jews, even those with fairly weak Jewish identities, have every right to protest at AIPAC. In fact, it's exactly the right place for them to do so. AIPAC is a more-or-less democratic organization. Its members are Jewish organizations rather than individuals. Orthodox groups are over-represented. And it uses a flawed model of consensus which is organized around that which every member group, from the far-right ZOA to leftists like Meretz USA and Ameinu, can agree on. That consensus is then pitched in a rightward direction by the leadership, which I think is in small part because of the over-representation of Orthodox groups and (this next bit is important) in large part because that's what sells with non-Jewish, American politicians. Despite those flaws, it's still an organization that has a valid claim to represent a large portion of American Jews (and in which leftist Jews can be heard). I want Jews protesting inside AIPAC so that it better represents the American Jewish community.

However, when Jews leverage the power of the dominant, non-Jewish society rather than working inside the Jewish community, and they do so "As a Jew," then there's a problem in that it disrupts the voices of other Jews. These protests are being organized by Move Over AIPAC, which isn't a Jewish organization. That, I have a major problem with -- mainly with those gentiles who refuse to engage the whole of the Jewish community. Overall, it diminishes the power of Jews in society.

To those Jews who protest against AIPAC in good faith, I ask, "Have you tried Meretz?" (Here's their blog.) To those non-Jews protesting, my words would be less kind.