Samuel Freedman’s piece in the Jerusalem Post is important to read. The main nugget:

Obama… is seeking American Jewish cover for his very public dispute with the Israeli government. The one way in which he can get it is if American Jews, like their Israeli brethren, decide to make the settlement enterprise their defining issue. Counting on that internal argument is a big gamble…

But, Freedman continues,

You can feel the ground shifting. Yes, it’s predictable that J Street, the well-funded left-wing lobby, would back Obama on the settlement issue. What strikes me as far more revealing is that Ed Koch and Jeffrey Goldberg, a politician and journalist respectively who are centrist or even center-right on the American Jewish spectrum, have become so publicly critical of the settlement movement as an obstacle to peace.

Goldberg glosses on this, with this money paragraph:

Malcolm Hoenlein and the other grandees of the organized American Jewish leadership believe that masses of Jews will rise up against Obama if he forces Israel out of its settlements. They won’t. I believe the majority of American Jews want two things: A secure Israel, and a moral Israel that is a light unto the nations. Settlements make Israel insecure, and they make it seem immoral in the eyes of the world.

There’s a storm a-brewin, and we will likely see a big denominational divide if Freedman and Goldberg are right, with the Orthodox supporting the settlers and the non-Orthodox supporting Obama. Those of us who straddle the lines between these worlds will need to stand in the breach.

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