US ambassador to Israel calls for ‘stronger commitment to Zionist education’ in US to overcome young Jews’ disaffection


by Philip Weiss on September 11, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Dan Shapiro, the new ambassador to Israel for the Obama administration, is doing major outreach for Obama. He glowingly describes his Zionist bona fides in this speech to the Jewish People Policy Institute five days ago.

Not a word about settlements or the occupation or Palestinian human rights. (When even Ahmadinejad is criticizing Syria!) Here is the closest Shapiro comes to referring to settlements:

When an effort was made to insert the United Nations into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in February of this year, we vetoed it.

Then noting how committed he and his family are to Israel, he notes the American trend is against them:

The percentage of our friends who, like us, have chosen to address issues of concern to the Jewish community, including Israel, prominently in their professional lives never ceases to amaze me.  But it may be deceptive.  Much research has shown that growing numbers of younger American Jews feel disconnected, or at best ambivalent, toward Israel.  Valuable programs like Birthright have exposed many to this connection, but many more have not been reached.

As JPPI and others have observed, a stronger commitment to Zionist education for American Jewish youth could do much to strengthen bonds that we want to be even stronger in the next generation, but may not be if left untended.


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