Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has slammed American Jews in an interview with i24 News for what she believes to be a lack of patriotism to the United States.
She argued that American Jews did not “[understand] the complexity of the region”.
“People that never send their children to fight for their country,” she said. “Most of the [U.S.] Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers, going to the Marines, going to Afghanistan or to Iraq – most of them are having a quite convenient life.”
“They don’t know how it feels to be attacked by rockets,” Hotovely continued. “Part of it is to actually experience what Israel is going through on a daily basis.”
Hotovely’s remarks prompted a firestorm of condemnation by the American Jewish left, who portrayed Hotovely as anti-Jewish, despite the fact she is a practicing Orthodox Jew.
Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress, dubbed Hotovely’s comments as “disrespectful of the Jewish people living in the Diaspora.”
Rick Jacobs, the President of the Union for Reform Judaism, took a similar stance, describing the remarks as “anti-Semitic” and claiming “they evidence a shocking ignorance.”
Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev echoed Jacobs’ response, accusing Hotovely of engaging in a “hypocritical anti-Semitic attack”, while Ron Kampeas, the Washington bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, called it “a classic anti-Semitic trope”.
“U.S. Jews have been here before her and will be here after her,” said Nachman Shai, a center-left Israeli politician, who has called for Hotovely’s dismissal. “They don’t need lessons from her, not on loving Israel and not on who is considered to be a Jew.”
Hotovely, a rising star in Israel due to her attractive appearance and nationalist political views, made the remarks in response to a decision by American Jewish campus organization Hillel to cancel a scheduled speech by her at Princeton University, after heavy pressure from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives and J Street. First elected in 2009, she quickly rose through the ranks of the governing Likud, and is said to represent a hardline faction within the party.