American Jews Divided Over Strain in U.S.-Israel Relations

Source: The New York Times

For Rabbi Gerald Sussman of Temple Emanu-El on Staten Island, the Obama administration’s recent confrontation with Israel was a stunning turn for a president who had enjoyed support from many members of his congregation. “The word ‘betrayed’ would not be too strong a word,” he said.

But in Los Angeles, Rabbi John L. Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood, who is the chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, felt differently. He applauded the speech delivered on Wednesday by Secretary of State John Kerry explaining the decision by the United States not to block a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Rabbi Rosove also suggested that many American Jews were broadly supportive of the Obama administration.

“I felt Kerry was exactly right,” he said. “The people who will criticize him will take a leap and say he’s anti-Israeli, just as some American Jews are saying Obama is an anti-Semite. This is ridiculous. They recognize and cherish the state of Israel.”

The relationship between Israel and the United States, historically the Jewish state’s closest ally, has seen periods of strain and tension almost from the day of Israel’s creation in 1948. But rarely has the situation between the two countries been this stressed, with President Obama under attack not only from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also from President-elect Donald J. Trump.

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