The collapse of the Middle East peace process, Israel's persistence in building illegal settlements upon land which, if a two-state solution were to emerge, would constitute a Palestinian state, and the turn toward extremism within Israel have had an impact on Jewish opinion both in the U.S. and throughout the world.
In November, a leader in the British Jewish community publicly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the waning peace talks and insisted that Anglo-Zionists begin to voice their opinions on the matter.
Mick Davis, chairman of the London-based United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) and executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, warned in front of more than 160 people at the London Jewish Cultural Center that unless there was a two-state solution with the Palestinians, Israel could become an apartheid state, "because we then have the majority going to be governed by the minority." He went on to declare that Netanyahu lacked the courage and the strategy to take the steps to lead to peace in the Middle East.
As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted in its Nov. 24, 2010 edition, "For years the Jewish community not in Israel has avoided expressing moral reservations regarding the Israeli government's decisions and policies. Davis said that the British leaders felt they could not voice their opinions for fear of their ideas being used by Israel's enemies."
According to the International Jerusalem Post of Dec. 17-23, 2010, "many prominent Jews in public positions defended his [Davis'] remarks, noting that it was high time 'that honest and open discussions' about Israel took place in the public arena....A growing desire to openly criticize Israel is moving from the fringes of the Jewish community into the mainstream."
In the U.S., President Barack Obama's attempt to bribe Israel with a $3 billion security assistance package, diplomatic cover and advanced F-35 fighter aircraft if Netanyahu would simply agree to a 90-day settlements freeze to resume talks with the Palestinians, not only was rejected by Israel but was harshly criticized even by some of Israel's long-time friends in Washington.
In an op-ed in the Nov. 21, 2010 Washington Post, Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel who now teaches at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and an Orthodox Jew, declared that the idea of the U.S. rewarding "Israel's bad deed" was a bad one: "And while Washington will almost certainly come to regret bribing Israel, Israel may regret receiving such a bribe even more. Previously, U.S. opposition to settlements resulted in penalties, not rewards, for continued construction. Washington deducted from its loan guarantees to Israel an amount equivalent, dollar for dollar, to the money that Israel spent in the occupied territories. While it's true that the U.S. has turned a blind eye to indirect U.S. subsidies for Israeli activities in the territories--such as tax deductions for American organizations that fund settlements--the deal now being offered to Israel is of a totally different magnitude. If it goes forward, it will be the first direct benefit that the U.S. has provided Israel for settlement activities that we have opposed for more than 40 years."