An Invitation From New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch

HaaretzQ with the New Israel Fund is a first-of-its-kind gathering aimed at addressing our most pressing questions about Israel.

Daniel Sokatch
Daniel Sokatch
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Daniel Sokatch
Daniel SokatchCredit: Haaretz
Daniel Sokatch
Daniel Sokatch

Friends,

For many years it was not hard to square progressive values with support for Israel. The country was founded with two goals: to establish the first Jewish homeland in 2000 years, and to found a modern, democratic and liberal state based on the best Jewish and humanist values. And even at moments when Israel’s policies strayed from these values, progressive supporters of Israel believed that Israel would eventually do the right thing. Our tradition tells us that we were once strangers in a strange land. And Jewish history is testimony to the need to protect the powerless. How could a state established as the Jewish homeland not be sensitive to the needs of its own minorities or to the needs of the non-Israelis living under its control?

Today, the answer is unclear.

The occupation is now nearly half-a-century old. Threats to Israel’s democracy are increasing with the new cycle of violence and the continued rise of voices in Israel – and in the governing coalition - that are bellicose, ultra-nationalist, racist, and isolationist.

For Americans who support Israel as a liberal democracy based on rule of law and equality for all Israelis, some of the actions of its government are increasingly hard to understand, let alone defend. Even those of us who have seen and warned about these trends for several years can be surprised by the power and audacity of Israel’s ultra-nationalist right.

Today I invite you to join us and our partners at Haaretz, Israel’s leading daily newspaper, in New York for a frank Israeli-American discussion about these issues and their impact on the U.S.-Israel relationship. We will showcase the movement working for a liberal Israel. We will engage in honest debate about Israel’s most difficult issues with Israelis who are rarely heard in the U.S. And we will come together as a community of progressive Americans concerned about the future.

Israel is at a crossroads. Your presence at this conference will make a statement about the depth and breadth of progressive Americans who want Israel to choose the path back to the values of liberal democracy.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Daniel Sokatch,
CEO, New Israel Fund

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