Young Americans, including young American Jews, are more critical of Israel than their elders. But it’s not because they’re ignorant of history — it’s because they’re less enthralled by myth.
The real problem confronting Schumer isn’t that young Americans are ignorant. It’s that more and more of them are knowledgeable enough to realize that Israeli policy in both the West Bank and Gaza massively violates Palestinian human rights. And to wonder why a Democrat like Chuck Schumer is supporting policies so antithetical to the progressive principles he claims to hold dear.
Chuck Schumer is worried about young people. In his speech on Monday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, he warned that “too many of the younger Americans don’t know the history” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “and as a result they tend to say, well, both sides are to blame.” And so — after a joke about a Mrs. Goldfarb who is sentenced to one night in jail for each of the four peaches she stole, and whose husband yells to the judge, “She stole a can of peas, too” (relevance: unclear) — the Senate Minority leader offered a history lesson to America’s youth.
He began with the settlements. “There are some who argue, the settlements are the reason there’s not peace,” Schumer declared. “But we all know what happened in Gaza. Israel voluntarily got rid of the settlements there. The soldiers, Israeli soldiers dragged the settlers out of Netzarim and three weeks later the Palestinians threw rockets into Sderot. It’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.” Take that Israel-queasy millennials.
The implication of Schumer’s tale is that because Palestinians kept fighting Israel even after Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza, Palestinians don’t really care about settlements. Their real beef is with Israel’s very existence.
But there are problems with this logic. Continue reading