Bucking the Mainstream

Robert Lifton
Robert K. Lifton
In September 1987, the Governing Council of the American Jewish Congress, then one of the country’s preeminent mainstream Jewish organizations, adopted a “Resolution on the Middle East Peace Process.”  The statement said, ”Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza are perceived as hostile occupiers, and continued Israeli rule of a resentful Arab population must lead to repressive measures that, in the long run, cannot but distort and corrupt the values we associate with a Jewish state.” The resolution also spoke to demographic concerns. Rapid Arab population growth would eventually lead Greater Israel to have “to chose between becoming a non-Jewish state or a nondemocratic state. Neither choice is acceptable.” The group believed that it was both ”necessary and appropriate” to take a public position, because the Israeli Government itself ”is divided and deadlocked over how to approach the peace process.” Robert K. Lifton recounts the six years (1988 – 1993) when he served as Congress president that the group publicly advocated for the implementation of the positions espoused in the resolution by  endorsing Israel’s separation from the Occupied Territories, while remaining at the center of American Jewish life. Read Lifton’s story here >