For decades, the slogan for the United Jewish Appeal (the pro-Israel Jewish philanthropic group now known as the Jewish Federations of North America) was “We Are One!” That phrase represented the assumption that American Jewish identification with the struggle to create, build, and defend the state of Israel was not merely strong, but a product of a consensus that was not up for debate. And for the generation that grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and lived through the traumatic weeks prior to the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, that was largely the case.
Since then, pride in Israel’s achievements has seemingly waned. In the synagogues and community centers that once pledged their support for the Jewish state during times of crisis, bitter criticisms are now more common than praise. The belief that Israel is mistreating the Palestinians and has erected obstacles to peace has become an article of faith among many if not most American Jewish liberals. Also undermining the notion of solidarity is the resentment felt by the non-Orthodox denominations about the lack of religious pluralism in Israel.