Sunday, December 25, 2016

I Think I'm In There

In fact, some 60,000 Jewish American immigrants have settled in the occupied territories since 1967. Many dwell as contented suburbanites in settlements in wealthy communities like Efrat (just over 11 kilometers – or 7 miles – from Jerusalem) whose moniker is "Occupied Scarsdale", living the yuppie dream over the Green Line.

Their demographic profile over the past three decades fits Friedman well: East Coast, highly-educated, upwardly-mobile, Orthodox and right-wing in their politics both at home and abroad. (This marks a dramatic shift, however; the American Jewish settler generation after the 1967 was not uniformly religious, many voted Democrat and had been involved in the left-wing social movements of their day.)  

Apart from their roles as settler leaders and cadres – and occasionally, a tiny minority who have committed heinous acts of settler terrorism – their priority contribution to the settler movement has been to revolutionize its public relations and global reach. Jewish American settlers have served as English-language spokespeople and “public diplomats” for the settler enterprise, spearheaded lobbying and fundraising campaigns in the United States and Israel, and single-handedly transformed scripture into a soundbite to justify and normalize the settler movement’s agenda to the international community. 

Most recently, American-Israeli settlers, closely linked to Israel's political right wing, led by attorney Marc Zell of the GOP in Israel have even mobilized an expat voting bloc in the West Bank after Trump supporters opened a campaign office in the settlement of Karnei Shomron this fall. David Friedman helped coordinate their efforts and remains in close communication with his friends and allies within the settlement enterprise.


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