The reaction of far-right American Jews to Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary (“Jury Out On Hagel,” Jan. 18) was hysterical and shameful. On most Israeli Internet news sites thousands of comments are posted every week accusing anyone who does not agree with the Netanyahu government of being an anti-Semite and any Jew who voted for Obama and supports a two-state solution [of being] a self-hater and enemy of the Jewish people. … Former Prime Minister Rabin has been called a traitor to his people as has former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak. … This is total madness, and we American Jews must not tolerate it. We must speak out against it because it will wind up destroying Israel in the end.
Israel’s supporters love to claim … that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. If that is so, why do these same people engage in character assassination and debasement of anyone who dares criticize the policies of the Netanyahu government? Why is it wrong for former and current generals in Israel’s military and members of Israel’s security agencies to criticize bombing Iran? Why is it wrong for American Jews and many Israeli citizens to support a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict? … Any country that tries to silence its critics is not a democracy. What once made Israel so special was that spirited debate and disagreements were a vital part of its democracy. Attacking someone’s “Jewishness” and their character and trying to destroy them is not what the founders of Israel ever envisioned. … [This] must be resisted by all those who truly love Israel.
Mark Jeffery Koch