US Jews must not side with Palestinians, ‘our mortal enemies’ – Israeli diplomat

Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss  /  February 9, 2023

Danny Ayalon, a vigorous advocate for Israel and former and ambassador to the U.S., says he is worried about the growth of Jewish anti-Zionism in the United States. There must be “no daylight” between U.S. Jews and Israel, he warned; and anti-Zionist Jews who side “automatically with Palestinians which are so far our mortal enemies” should have sense “drilled into” them.

What is that sense? That the land belongs to the Jews even though others have “challenged” that claim, Ayalon explained. And Zionism and Judaism are one and the same, so anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

Ayalon made these anti-Palestinian comments when he was asked about the future of the relationship between American Jews and Israel by the Jewish Broadcasting Service on January 23. He responded:

In my mind there shouldn’t be any daylight between Jews overseas and in Israel itelf. We not only have a common past and legacy but also a common destination and future. I think everyone should understand that from our history. I don’t have to expound too much. It is quite legitimate to argue and have different opinions; after all, we are all Jews, everyone should have two opinions if not more.

My concern is where there are some groups especially in the United States which actually call into question the very legitimacy of the Jewish state and of Zionism. And in my mind those who say they are not antisemitic, they are only anti-Zionist, I think this is just a smokescreen, it’s just a red herring. Because I do not see a difference between Zionism and Judaism. Every Jew in the Haggadah calls for Next year in Jerusalem. This is what Zionism is all about.

It is true, that the land which is ours has been challenged by others. But we have to remember in the 2000 years of long exile, Nobody claimed the land. They were all occupiers. Jerusalem has never been made the capital of any other people. So we have the strongest case.

Also the fact that Jews around the world unfortunately for too long have been prey to the vagaries of any hooligans or hoodlums or extreme governments. So we do not need here the shelter. And the fact that Israel is so strong and so proud I think makes Jews around the world proud and strong. You know… it’s one of the major jobs or assignments of Every embassy of Israel around the world, today we are 105… is also to make sure that the Jews in their jurisdiction, in their host country are protected… legislate against antisemitism or racism…

So this is where I am a little bit disappointed when I see groups that call into question the very legitimacy of the state, that side automatically with the Palestinians which are so far our mortal enemies. And those who blame Israel for the impasse in the political process with the Palestinians– this is something which is beyond comprehension, and I would like that more sense will be drilled into those who are automatically against Israel.

Today Ayalon and a co-author published a fervent appeal to American Jews in Haaretzsaying that No Jews should lobby the United States government to be critical of Israel. The article characterized the liberal Zionist organization J Street and “similar groups” as “dangerous.”

Ayalon’s advice to American Jews is reminiscent of the urging in 2016 by Dennis Ross to Jews at a New York synagogue not to side with Palestinians. “We don’t need to be advocates for Palestinians. We need to be advocates for Israel.” And Ross had long been a government official responsible for negotiations between Israel and Palestine!

In his interview on the Jewish Broadcasting Service, Ayalon said that as someone who defends Israel in the international arena, he believes Palestinian efforts to prosecute Israel for international law violations are “just as dangerous” as “terror.”

Today we know that the political legal warfare that the Palestinians are waging on Israel is in my mind just as dangerous as we see terror and other campaigns, military and economic.

Here Ayalon was critical of the Netanyahu government for trying to gut supreme court powers. He said Israel’s judicial system has international respect and has acted as an “Iron Dome” against outside intervention. “Israel always maintained and rightly so, we are a democracy, we are sovereign here, we are quite capable in investigating ourselves.” (You’d think that facade has cracked, with the unending slaughter of Palestinians, and Palestinian-Americans too, including Omar Assad and the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.)

Ayalon pooh-poohed American concerns about blatantly anti-Palestinian racists in the new government. “Stick with us, have the patience, have the stamina. We are a very vibrant democracy, which is demonstrated by all those people who go out into the street.”

He urged American Jews “to make aliyah” to the country and thereby have the right to vote (something denied to millions of Palestinians who were born there). Or just visit. “You don’t have to meet [ministers Itamar] Ben Gvir and [Bezalel] Smotrich if you don’t like. But there are so many others.”

Ayalon said that when Ariel Sharon– “the great Arik Sharon” — became minister of housing despite his having responsibility for the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in Beirut in 1982, he was also shunned internationally. “He was not seen by anyone in Washington. The sky did not fall. Even Arik Sharon,

Reporter Shahar Azani asked Ayalon about New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s call for the Biden administration to intervene in Israeli politics to try to stop the judicial changes.

I think this is a real outrageous request, I think it’s a dangerous request. And any intervention will work against the demonstrators in Israel. Israel is a proud and sovereign country that will not tolerate any intervening from the outside.

Netanyahu is the most liberal member of the government.

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-2006