Netanyahu has thrown the dice and made a calculated decision to abandon not only American Jews at odds with Israel’s ascendant populist agenda, but Judaism itself.
That is, Judaism as we know it: progressive, scholarly Judaism in dialogue with the outside world for thousands of years. The Judaism whose greatest works and innovations developed in Babylon, Spain, and Poland. Intellectual Judaism that absorbed and pollinated the Enlightenment (Mendelssohn); philosophy (Buber, Scholem, Marx, Frankl, Arendt); American equal rights movements (Steinem, Friedan, Milk); and culture (Gershwin, Berlin, Streisand, Mailer, Allen, Marx, Polanski). Tolerant Judaism with an outsider’s sensibility that “loves the stranger,” as commanded 36 times in the Torah.
Netanyahu wants to throw all that in history’s trash bin. He wants to mutate Jewish identity into Jewish hubris and turn Israel into a walled fortress of illiberal ethnocracy.