Israeli Journalist Bemoans 'Alliance Between Tea Party Israel and Tea Party America'

Talking to NBC's David Gregory for the Meet the Press web-based feature Press Pass on Sunday, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit launched into a rant against the strong bond between conservatives in Israel and the United States: "In recent years, we've seen too much of an alliance between Tea Party Israel and Tea Party America. I want to bring back that alliance between progressive America and progressive Israel." [Listen to the audio]

Shavit's hand-wringing was prompted by Gregory observing: "...my sense of many American Jews is that they are not as firmly rooted – their Jewishness is not as rooted in Israel as it was a generation ago....They feel more disaffected or separate from Israel....the foreign policy and national security concerns of Israel are all-encompassing and are no longer as resonant with younger Jews in America."

On the program to promote his new book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, Shavit declared: "Most American Jews are progressive, liberal and they believe in human rights, in minority rights, in this set of democratic ideas. When Israel is perceived as an occupying power, when the darker elements in Israel of the extreme religious are too dominant, that alienates this part of the American Jewish community, and especially the young."

He concluded: "Israel must face this challenge of building the bridge again with the American Jewish community, with the progressive part of it, and with progressive America....I think there is a great potential and I think that will move us into a new phase and our relationship will be much healthier."

Following Shavit's commentary, Gregory wrapped up the interview by gushing: "It's an honor to be able to talk to you and to have you here."

Here is a transcript of the exchange aired by local Washington D.C. NBC affiliate WRC-4 on December 15:

11:43AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: And we're back with more from journalist Ari Shavit on his new book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.

Final point. As an Israeli, do you notice and does it trouble you that my sense of many American Jews is that they are not as firmly rooted – their Jewishness is not as rooted in Israel as it was a generation ago? Therefore, the glue in the Jewish community is no longer Israel. They feel more disaffected or separate from Israel – in part, because, you know, Israeli religious leaders see fit to dictate how Jews should live in the diaspora – but that the foreign policy and national security concerns of Israel are all-encompassing and are no longer as resonant with younger Jews in America. Do you notice that and how do you react to it?

ARI SHAVIT: Absolutely. Most American Jews are progressive, liberal and they believe in human rights, in minority rights, in this set of democratic ideas. When Israel is perceived as an occupying power, when the darker elements in Israel of the extreme religious are too dominant, that alienates this part of the American Jewish community, and especially the young.

I think it's the mission number one for Israel to deal with it. We must make Israel attractive for progressive American Jews we must make Israel attractive for progressive America, non-Jewish America, and we must reach out to American youngsters, Jews and non-Jews. We have to prove to them that Israel is a real ally, that it shares their values. So we have to reform ourselves and we have to reach out, because in my mind, Israel faces the Iranian challenge, Israel faces the Palestinian issue, but Israel must face this challenge of building the bridge again with the American Jewish community, with the progressive part of it, and with progressive America.

We must recreate – to begin with, there was an alliance between progressive America and progressive Israel. In recent years, we've seen too much of an alliance between Tea Party Israel and Tea Party America. I want to bring back that alliance between progressive America and progressive Israel. I think there is a great potential and I think that will move us into a new phase and our relationship will be much healthier.

GREGORY: It's an honor to be able to talk to you and to have you here. The book is, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Ari Shavit, thank you.

SHAVIT: Thank you very much.

GREGORY: Thank you so much, appreciate it.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.