US support for Israel is dropping both among non-Jews and among Jews as Sherry Wolf explores in her fine blog sherrytalksback.. But Israeli support for Israel is dropping too: emigration numbers from Israel are greater than immigration numbers to it, as Counterpunch explores. And in a wonderfully written and deeply moving story, Allison Benedikt (the film editor of The Village Voice) tells of her experience growing up Zionist, and becoming non-Zionist. We give the opening, and the closing, but you really need to read the whole story.

Israel: Losing Hearts and Minds Sherry J. Wolf  Sherrytalksback

Opinion polls in the United States regarding Israel-Palestine are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they reflect the dominant narrative in the West that at turns defends and denies Israel’s racist policies toward Palestinians. On the other, they show disgust with the periodic mass killings of the virtually imprisoned Palestinians, punctuated in people’s minds by last year’s massacre of 9 humanitarian aid activists—murdered at sea in cold blood—their only weapons of defense: deck chairs and cucumber knives.

Two years ago, according to Zogby, 71 percent of Americans held a favorable opinion of Israelis; by March 2010, 65 percent did. A plurality, 40 percent versus 34 percent, believe Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories are wrong. Even before the killings on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla and the recent uprisings across the Middle East that have popularly humanized Arabs as democracy- and freedom-seeking people, 84 percent believed the Palestinians deserved equal rights, 67 percent supported a Palestinian state.

…Even the Zionist J Street poll shows 53 percent of American Jews are not at all bothered by open criticisms of Israel by other Jews.

* Israel’s Changing Demographics Lawrence Davidson counterpunch

If the historical goal of the state of Israel is to provide the world’s Jews a secure national home, a place of refugee in a world of real or potential anti-Semitism, it seems to have failed….Yerida, or emigration out of Israel, has long been running at higher numbers than aliyah, or immigration into the country. “According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, as of 2005, 650,000 Israelis have left the country for over one year and not returned.” The great majority of these were Jews. In addition, polls show that at least 60% and as high as 80% of remaining Israeli Jews “sympathize with those who leave the country.”

Among those who stay, there is the conviction that the safe thing is to have a second passport issued by the United States or a European country. As the Haaretz reporter Gideon Levy puts it, “if our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport, there are those among us who are now dreaming of a foreign passport.” At present the United States has issued over half a million passports to Israelis and a quarter million additional applications are pending. Germany runs second with 100,000 passports given to Israeli Jews and 7,000 new ones issued yearly.

There are two prevailing explanations for this phenomenon….

Life After Zionist Summer Camp Allison Benedikt The Awl

It starts at a very young age. The summer after third grade, my parents sent me to Jewish sleepaway camp. I was deeply homesick at first and cried a lot in my bunk bed, but by the end of the month I didn’t want to leave. So I went back, summer after summer—boarding the plane with a few other Jewish kids from my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, and flying to Appleton, Wisconsin, with a stop-over at O’Hare, where a volunteer from Hadassah would meet us at the gate and try to keep us from the moo shu pork at Wok-N-Roll.

Those summers blur together, but each day begins and ends at the flagpole, where we raise and lower two flags: the American and the Israeli. We make blue and white lanyard bracelets, carve Israel out of ice cream, and sing “Hatikvah.” Because it’s all Jews, I’m considered cute. The second summer, a boy (Avi, short, red-hair) asks me out (“Will you go with me?” “Go where?”) and I get my first kiss. Other kids from home also go to Jewish camp, but mine is different. It is, I learn, part of a Zionist youth movement. I am in a movement! Weird names like Jabotinsky and Herzl float through the air. I don’t have to know particulars to realize that these guys are (a) important, and (b) connected to me, and I to them.

…John and I have two kids of our own and are raising them as Jews. Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique. My best memories from childhood are from camp, and I will never, ever send my kids there.


This week’s Tikkunista also looks at Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Europe’s swing to the right.