Antisemites think they have Jewish-Americans in a tight spot. When a Jewish American says something about opposing an ethno-nationalist state in America, they retort: what about Israel! They have an ethno-nationalist government! Do you think they should have open-borders?!? Here is the problem:

1) As Americans, Jewish-Americans are under no obligation to have an opinion about Israel: because they are Americans, not Israelis. And recent polling has shown an increasing indifference to Israel among Jewish-Americans. This makes sense, because …

2) When pressed for an opinion the vast majority of Jewish-Americans oppose Israeli’s increasingly ethno-nationalist policies. This is also backed up by a lot of polling. This makes sense, because ethno-nationalist policies generally end up very poorly for minority religions, like Jews, so Jews tend to support more open societies with freedom of religion.

Israeli and American officials both want to perpetuate the image that Jewish-Americans support the Israeli government’s policies. For Israeli leaders, they want to appear to be the center of Jewish life: they want to represent Jews. Which is a problem, if Jews around the world do not agree with them on key issues of religion and statehood. For American leaders, they want cover for antisemitism and hatred by them and their supporters by conflating their support for the Israeli government with a commitment to Jewish-Americans.

So, both Israeli and American leader have cut-off access for Jews and Jewish organizations that represent the vast majority view of Jewish-Americans, in favor of promoting the small minority, such as Jared Kushner or AIPAC that back Israel’s policies. This in-turn probably convinces many, if not the majority of Americans to assume that the Jewish-Americans back Israel’s policies, even when they do not. Hence, a successful strategy.

Perceptions of support matter to leaders. In this case, the perception of support of Jewish-Americans for Israeli polices shapes not just how people treat Jews in America, but what politicians believe they need to do to get support of Jewish-Americans. Polling is frequently concentrated on horse-races, but there are so many issues where a better understanding of where the typical American or a detailed sub-demographic, could make for better representation and, hopefully, policy.