The more Jewish angst the better

American Prospect blogger Ezra Klein on the fears of the Zionist lobby:

My sense of the situation — and this is substantially informed, and thus biased, by the reaction to my commentary — is that there’s a lot of generational anxiety in the Jewish community. The experience of Jewishness for older Jews — the generation of Jews that endured the Holocaust, or was directly descended from that generation — is substantially different from my generation’s experience of Jewishness. The sense of continued threat and acute vulnerability that is the abiding companion of older Jews is increasingly absent from younger Jews. The reason is fairly simple: To use Karen Brodkin‘s terminology, not only are American Jews white, but in general, they’re privileged.

Being a privileged member of the majority in the most powerful country the world has ever known is a fairly unique experience for Jews. Israel, though hated and vulenrable to terrorist threat, is nevertheless the dominant military power in the Middle East. A history defined by agonizing persecution has given way to a present defined by relative power. But that has, inevitably, changed the relationship young Jews have to both Judaism and Israel. And that’s created substantial concern among older Jews, who sense that the younger generation’s connection to Israel is either slipping or, at the least, becoming something less visceral and recognizable. Just ask my grandfather. J Street — which has always sold itself as a net-oriented enterprise for the Obama generation — inflames that anxiety. My hunch is an examination of AIPAC’s demographics — and even more so its active membership — wouldn’t bar the organization from membership in AARP.

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