What Jews Can Do | Letters | Chicago Reader

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What Jews Can Do



To the Reader:

My fellow Jews, in their Middle East peace open letter (advertisement, September 20), refer to the U.S. subsidy of $500 per Israeli citizen, pointing out that "our country has an extraordinary leverage on Israeli policy, if only our government would dare to use it."

And if only we peace-prioritizing Jews would dare to use leverage--which of course lies in our vote.

But it has been the client state exercising leverage over the patron state--through the voting power of Christian as well as Jewish voters supporting current Israeli policy unconditionally.

Dauntingly, in order to counter that leverage, peace-prioritizing American Jews have to steel themselves against charges of anti-Israelism, even anti-Semitism, from fellow Jews. Failure to bite this bullet leaves us only with the naive hope that politicians reading noble sentiments in occasional advertisements will reverse policies that have been winning them elections.

The following plan shows how tough the challenge of exercising political leverage in this situation can be:

(1) Put forth a minimal but very concrete and specific demand for change in U.S. Mideast policy, such as an annual 10 percent reduction in U.S. subsidies to Israel, to be continued until Israel gives full and effective recognition to a Palestinian state.

(2) Demonstrate political muscle behind this plan by finding and strongly supporting one or two congressional candidates vigorously campaigning for that plan.

Greatest muscle would be demonstrated in upsetting an incumbent either in a primary or a November election.

If there is a better way to manifest political muscle on this issue I hope signatories to the open letter will enunciate and effect it.

Yours truly,

Moe Shanfield

W. Hollywood

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