The Ashkenazi American Jewish community daily seems to condemn Israel. Yet why hasn’t the question been asked about their refusal to accept democratic Israeli election results? And more tellingly, while Israel is more than 50% Sephardic, there are barely any Sephardim amongst any major American Jewish organizations Is there even one head of a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations who is Sephardic?
Is there even one Moroccan or Yemenite or Lebanese Jew represented by ADL or Abe Foxman and his successor? Shamefully, a quick perusal of ADL’s leadership seems to indicate tiny representation of Sephardic Jews or religious Jews. How can they speak of Israel’s democracy if they aren’t reflective of the community? We’ve all heard the last few years about the need for color, the need for women – why is the American Jewish leadership exempt from this?
These American Jewish organizations who criticize Israel are liberal, not religious –fully Ashkenazi – and they ignore Sephardic Jews and their will. Diversity is all the rage, yet American Jews don’t have Sephardim in their leadership.
Meanwhile, the world went nuts - a session at the United Nations - because an Israeli Minister walked for a few minutes on holy Jewish ground in Jerusalem. A Jew can walk freely in New York, London or Tokyo – but if he walks in Jerusalem its cause for world condemnation and American Jews stand as silent as the media was today about a suicide bomber in Pakistan who blew up a mosque killing more than 60 people. It’s a continual terrible double standard against the only Jewish state in the world.
Democracy – something which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lectured Israel about in a speaking engagement alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – yet he ignored the fact that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t had an election in years.
Democracy allows protests as the world sees in Tel Aviv - yet democracy is also representing the will of the people. It is realizing elections have consequences.
Lest America who has spent lots of time criticizing Israel remember Israel has Putin on their border – and America has far from a flawless political process, or flawless political leaders. Israel, a 74-year-old vibrant democracy in the Middle East has done wonderful. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist movement, which both Begin and Netanyahu emanate from, noted in 1940 that “we hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmed agree with it or not.”
Americans – including American Jews – and world leaders would be apt to remember these words and times. Nothing is perfect. Not Israel – and not America. The people of Israel voted – and judicial reform created a debate within Israeli society where all voices have been heard – including Sephardim and religious Jews who are well represented there but unrepresented by American Jews.
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, investor and author.