In the community bonds chapter of last year’s Annual Assessment we reported that, at least according to the 2014 Dialogue process, “Jews throughout the world… see the connection with [Israel] as an important matter that should be maintained.”13 Some Diaspora Jews ask only that Israel “hear” them, however others believe that on some issues, Diaspora Jewry has a right to actively try to influence Israeli policy. Nevertheless, not all agree that this right includes Israeli security policies. In JPPI’s report on the 2014 Dialogue, which considered Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state, we mentioned that Diaspora Jewry’s desire to be involved in Israeli security and foreign policy decisions is “more complex” than their desire to be involved in decisions about identity, culture, or religion.
Nonetheless, in this year’s Dialogue, which clearly focused on a topic dealing with security questions, many participants said that their opinions should be taken into account. A large group of survey respondents agreed “Israel should conduct its armed conflicts without regard to the views of Jews living outside of Israel.”14 However in the discussions themselves, a more complex view emerged, one that posited different reasons for Israel’s need to take Diaspora opinions into consideration. The effect Israeli actions have on world Jewry was chief among them and more pronounced this year than in the past. This was likely due to the rise in anti-Semitic acts in Europe, and the harsh anti-Israel atmosphere on some American college campuses.
During the discussions the effect was divided into two main fields:
- The manner in which Israel’s actions influence the attachment of Diaspora Jews to Israel.
- The manner in which Israel’s actions impact Diaspora Jews within their surroundings.