Recent actions by the PC USA and various Universities (like Columbia) on the question of divestment from Israel led some at the recent General Assembly of United Jewish Communities to speak with Israeli officials for their viewpoint on the attempt of many to (falsely and biasedly) equate Israel with Apartheid South Africa. The resulting conversation is covered in a recent Ha’aretz article. Some excerpts from the article are,
A senior Israeli official who deals with the subject explained last week that the approach of the government was to try to keep the affair out of the headlines as much as possible. The Israeli assumption is that the threats of divestment are only of marginal practical importance, and that the American Jewish community can use its influence to moderate the harsh decisions. In this case, there is no point in providing free advertising for an anti-Israel approach. The burden of the struggle is therefore being borne by American Jews, and they can point for now to a certain degree of success.
…from the end of the article,
Supporters of the approach of the Israeli government, which prefers to ignore the issue, can point to the fact that during the four years since the start of the intifada, not a single dollar has been withdrawn from investments in Israel. But the American Jewish community sees a more worrisome picture, of which there are many examples – from annual conventions of students who support divestment, to discussions in the institutions of the Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Anglican churches in the United States, to the bitter battle against Caterpillar, manufacturer of the bulldozers used by the Israel Defense Forces to destroy homes and crops in the territories.
The success of the Jewish community in halting these initiatives for the time being is what enables Israel to treat the question of divestment as a curiosity, or as an internal American issue. But the very fact that discussion of the subject continues, and that the Christian churches belonging to the centrist denominations in the United States are moving away from support for Israel, is a warning signal, not only for the American Jewish community, but for Israeli decision-makers as well.