What an American Jew Really Thinks of Netanyahu, Israel and Religion

I am an American Jew. Notice I say "American" first because my religion does not define me. Over the past few weeks I have been called anti-Semitic, a Nazi lover, a self-hating Jew, a disgrace to "my people" and worse, all because I despise the war mongering, self-promoting Netanyahu and his policy of continuing to build settlements. I believe in a two state solution. The constant shelling of Palestinians is not going to solve Israel's security problem. It will in fact do the opposite, create more radicals whose sole aim will be to destroy Israel. When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose, and the Palestinians have nothing. Since some of my fellow Jews might find this stand impossible to believe, let me explain how my Jewish religion shapes my thinking: It doesn't.

Although I identify myself as Jewish, I don't go to temple. I can't read Hebrew. I'm not kosher. I'm not religious. I am certainly not a Zionist. I feel that nothing good comes from religion. Its major byproduct is war and death and has been for centuries. That's my opinion. If you are threatened by it, too bad. I'm sure everyone has their own take on religion and that's fine. If they find comfort at church, temple, mosque or wherever, good for them. It doesn't threaten my belief system or me and I'm not out to change them.

I support Israel's right to exist. However, don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I don't support Israel's "right" to build settlements on the West Bank. I don't support the readers of The Jerusalem Post laying out rules on how an American Jew should act, and I certainly don't support Netanyahu barging into my country to lecture us on how we should think. The only reason he was invited was to undermine the Iranian nuclear talks and to help the republicans make more "mischief" for President Obama. Nearly 70 percent of American Jews voted for President Obama in the 2012 election and most feel the same way I do regarding Netanyahu's propaganda speech and going to war for Israel. This may surprise you in Israel, but Netanyahu's newfound "supporters" (the republicans), have just as many Klu Klux Klan sympathizers as Jewish members in congress. And why do you think Netanyahu's other "friends", the Evangelical Christians, support you? Google "The Rapture" and see what they have in store for the Jews if we don't renounce Judaism and embrace Jesus. And as for Sheldon Adelson, the less said about this enemy of democracy, the better.

Not only is Netanyahu forcing himself onto the American stage for his own political gain and to embarrass our President, he is also trying desperately to scare us into another war like our horribly misguided venture into Iraq, which helped give birth to ISIS and the other radical elements that are currently terrorizing the world. He was one of the prominent voices who lied and pushed us into war in Iraq. (Here is a video of his testimony on the subject in front of a congressional hearing in September of 2002.) The problem is, Netanyahu thinks he is running for King of the Jews and believes he speaks for all of us. Far from it. He's cried "wolf" once too often and I'm not listening anymore.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli daily newspaper, Israel's own consul in Philadelphia said, "...criticism of ...Netanyahu's decision to accept the Republican invitation... comes from both Jewish and non Jewish communities, cutting across parties." Even the president of the Anti-Defamation League doesn't want him to speak. Think about that. People from all sides of the spectrum don't want Netanyahu to deliver his rant telling us why we should rush into another costly war in the name of Israel's security. Netanyahu, along with Bush, Cheney, Rice and the other neocons, lied us into a war that will take decades to recover from and now he wants to lie again, this time in front of the entire congress. Hasn't he spilled enough American blood?

Now just as I don't speak for every American Jew, I realize Netanyahu and his neocon Likud party doesn't speak for all Israelis. But in the last two weeks that I've been reading Israeli newspapers online, I have been shocked at the overt hatred the comment-writers have for America, our president and American Jews. They read like a Taliban/Birther newsletter edited by Sarah Palin. Maybe the United States should answer your hatred by stopping the money and arms we've been supplying for years.

America has stood alone with you against the rest of the world and now the republicans and their counterpart in Israel, Likud, are forcing your Prime Minister on us. Just like Chris Christie, his bloated, misguided ego expects us to shut up and follow his orders. Well the world doesn't work that way. American Jews don't follow in lockstep, especially with someone like Netanyahu and his fondness for war. In fact, the United States is becoming a much more secular country. Gen-Xers, Millennials and members of Generation Z are especially turning away from organized religion in huge numbers. The last time I checked, freedom of thought is still alive and well in the United States. We may have our differences here (big differences for sure), but we are all still Americans. And a lot of us resent your hatred toward our President and us. A lot more than you think.

I feel that Israel under Netanyahu has failed miserably on the world stage. Likud has seized the microphone and once again distorted reality to fit their personal political needs. This is no longer the Israel I was brought up to support. There is no more "Special Relationship" between our countries. Netanyahu has destroyed that bond forever.

I'm just not that into you anymore, Israel. And I'm far from alone in saying that.