I’ve changed my mind about Israel. Netanyahu is to blame.

netanyahu3The 2015 election results in Israel are a hot topic. I have read many comments on Facebook. and elsewhere online, from Israelis and American Jews who are angry at American Jews for being upset about the results.

I think their anger is misplaced. They should be angry at Netanyahu, who was warned many times by many people that his actions would endanger the 60+ years of bipartisan support for Israel among American Jewry. His blatant sucking up to one party while thumbing his nose at the president did great harm. His extremist and racist comments these past few days dug the knife in further.

I believe that Netanyahu, and the people who supported him, have done great harm to the once-solid relationship between American Jews and Israel. I know I am not the only one who will no longer always support Israel even when I disagree with its policies. I now believe that if sanctions and cutting financial aid to Israel is the only way to force them to the table and make a deal, that is fine with me. And if American Jews no longer feel like they want to send money to Israeli causes, I am now OK with that. The United States, American Jews, and international community must make Israel stop treating Palestinians so deplorably, stop construction in the occupied territories, and most likely give up all the territory. There are no more ifs, ands, or buts about it.

None of this absolves the Palestinian and Arab leadership from their equal part in all of this. They must put down their weapons and recognize Israel’s right to exist. And, at least in the case of Gaza, Hamas must be thrown out. And the UN and other international agencies still must still change their ways and be fair to Israel, which they most definitely have not been.

If there is irreparable harm to the US-Israel relationship now, and if support for Israel drops among American Jews, Likud and the right-wingers in Israel have no one to blame but themselves.