I support Israel, but not it's actions. Just as I support the U.S. but condemn some of it's actions. It's really a simple point, but it's neglect often exacerbates the divide on the issue, and leads me to feel uncomfortable as a Jew. (especially between liberals)
Now, I have no intention of lobbing words like "anti-semite" around in this diary, but as a Jew I can't help but feel uncomfortable when someone makes a remark saying that they don't "support Israel". Furthermore as a liberal I am cognizant of the fact that to use such language is so offensive to some in the pro-israel crowd that they will not even listen to what he/she has to say and will write him/her off as an extremist with an agenda.
I (obviously) cannot speak for all Jews, however I think that I and most Jews view Israel as a place where Jews have thrived after thousands of years of oppression and several rounds of genocide. Furthermore, because of the history of violence against Jews, I tend to value Israel as a place where Jews can live without fear of being subject to yet another round of genocide. Anti-semitism still exists, and Jews are very cognizant of their history. For Christians, it may be hard to really empathize or understand this point, but it is how I and many other Jews feel.
In short Israel represents the optimism that we as a people are "never going back" to the gas chambers, to the pogroms, to being scapegoated politically.
So when someone says that they do not support Israel, I can't help but feel threatened as a Jew. Keep in mind that just more than half a century separates the Holocaust and present day. Keep in mind that there are still people in this country who fantasize about hanging Jews from the steps of the capital. You can ask my grandma if you don't believe me. She worked with the FBI to help investigate these groups.
What Jews, myself included fear the most I believe is that if the conflict is viewed as Israelis v. Palestinians and not the state power of Israel vs. The "State" Power of Palestine that Israel's condemnation in the world's eyes could signal yet another round of persecution. Furthermore, Israel's collapse would mean that Jews everywhere face an uncetain and anxious future.
So when you say that you don't support Israel, please understand what you are communicating to Jewish people. You are actually threatening them.
Moreover, we should support Israel as U.S. citizens. Israel is a democracy. To suggest otherwise is sheer lunacy and would mean that no country on the face of the earth meets the lofty standards of a democracy. They have an extraordinary free press that many have noted provides a clearer picture of Israel's crimes than does the U.S. press, a wide range of opinion a beautiful country filled with history and rich tradition.
We of course do not have to, and in fact should not support Israel's crimes against humanity, which brings me to my final point.
Jew's should not conflate their support of Israel with the support of it's action's either.
Keeping the two separate, in my view, is the only way that there can be any meaningful dialogue on the subject.
UPDATE: I removed kellogg from my diary b/c:
a. I misquoted him, my apologies, although it is true that he said something VERY similar to what I had posted, there is a possibility that he might not have meant it like I thought.
b. It's a distraction as some commenters have noticed.