American Jewish Indifference

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Apparently Israel is no longer a voting issue for most American Jews.

 

Seventy-eight percent of American Jewish voters cast their ballots for Senator Barack Obama on November 4. Obama, who boasted the most liberal voting record in the Senate, has never distinguished himself as a firm supporter of Israel. For instance, he opposed the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment that called on the State Department to place Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its list of international terrorist organizations.

 

Obama counts no deeply committed Zionists among his close associates. Men and women like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Samantha Power, Zbigniew Brzezinski, William Ayers, Robert Malley and Rashid Khalidi were all people Obama turned to for advice, guidance and support in his early years in politics and as a U.S. senator considering a run for the White House.

 

 

His "pro-Israel" advisers — mainly late pick-ups as the presidential race progressed — included no ardent Zionists to oppose the voices of his anti-Israel advisors. Instead, Obama turned to Dennis Ross and Daniel Kurtzer to advise him on the Middle East. These men, like his designated White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, have views of Israel that are indistinguishable from the positions of Israel's post-Zionist Meretz party.

 

During the course of the campaign, Obama gained notoriety for his hard left promises to appease U.S. foes like Iran, largely at the expense of U.S. allies like Israel. It could have been presumed that his expressed willingness to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have raised red flags throughout the American Jewish community.

 

After all, given the failure of the now five-year-old European-U.S. attempt to appease Iran into ending its nuclear weapons program, it is apparent that a direct U.S. presidential dialogue with Ahmadinejad will be perceived by Iran as a green light to complete its nuclear weapons program.

 

But American Jewish voters were only too happy to believe Obama's unconvincing attenuations of his pledge to hold talks with Ahmadinejad without preconditions.  American Jews were also eager to accept his unconvincing disavowals of his association with the likes of Wright, Power, Khalidi, Malley and Brzezinski.

 

Obama is now signaling his support for the so-called Saudi Peace Plan, first released in 2002, which calls for Israel to destroy itself in exchange for its Arab neighbors establishing "normal" relations with it. The Saudi plan calls for Israel to remove itself completely to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and accept millions of foreign-born, hostile Arabs as full citizens as part of the so-called right of return of the descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948.

 

The fact that the Saudi initiative limits the relations the Arabs would have with the rump bi-national state to "normal" rather than "peaceful" shows clearly that far from being a peace plan,  it is a blueprint for Israel's destruction.

 

In light of all of this, it is apparent that by voting for Obama, four-fifths of American Jews voted for a candidate more openly hostile to the U.S.-Israel alliance than any other major-party presidential candidate in the past generation.

 

One might argue that American Jews were simply unaware of Obama's actual views on Israel. It is true, after all, that the U.S. media worked overtime throughout the campaign defending and hiding Obama's longstanding connections to haters of the U.S.

 

But despite the media effort to conceal or explain away difficult truths about Obama's character, concerned American Jewish voters had access to the facts. Any number of alternative media outlets provided a steady stream of information about Obama's associations with Israel bashers.

 

More than anything else, the willingness of American Jews to believe Obama is pro-Israel shows they simply didn't care that much. If they had cared, they would have scrutinized Obama's alarming connections at least as carefully as they attacked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for her anti-abortion views. They would have wondered what it means that Obama spent twenty years of his life in the pews of a deeply anti-Semitic church at least as much as they wondered about a Jews for Jesus preacher who once spoke at Palin's church.

 

There are several possible and complementary explanations for American Jewry's apparent indifference to Israel's fate.

 

High assimilation rates cause many American Jews to feel more attachment to non-Jewish causes than to Jewish causes. At the same time, the watering-down of Jewish teachings in various Jewish communities and the replacement of Jewish law and traditions with amorphous and trendy concepts of "social justice" and multiculturalism have engendered a basic ignorance of the exceptional significance and beauty of Judaism among a large portion of American Jews.

 

Then there is the leadership crisis affecting world Jewry. Weak and uninspiring Israeli leaders and weak and uninspiring American Jewish leaders have failed to assert and explain the connection between Israel's security and the wellbeing of the American Jewish community. Whereas until the 1980s it went without saying for most American Jews that their fortunes were directly tied to Israel's security, today the unity of Jewish fate has been lost on ever widening circles of American Jews.

 

To all of this must be added the unique self-perception of American Jewry. The American Jewish community is the only community in Jewish history that refused to view itself as an exile community. Even before the American Revolution, Jewish settlers in the New World viewed America as a permanent home.

 

As a consequence, on a philosophical level American Jews have always held Israel and Zionism at arm's length. They could support Israel as a refuge for persecuted Jews from other countries, but they couldn't support Israel as the permanent and irreplaceable homeland for all Jews without revoking the foundational belief of their American Jewish identity.

 

Today Israel is threatened with annihilation and the U.S. Jewish community is suffering from more blatant and organized anti-Semitic attacks than it has seen in the past fifty years. But during this year's presidential campaign, the basic truth that the security of all Jews is dependent on the security of Israel was no match for the full consequences of failed leadership, assimilation and the basic American Jewish desire to reject the singularity of Jewish destiny.

 

Israel's next government will be called on to defend Israel against Iran and its Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese proxies, And it will be called to act at a time when the U.S. is led by an Obama administration pledged to appease these forces. Israel will have to rally all of its supporters in the U.S. to its side in order to stand up for its survival.

 

In light of the American Jewish vote, it is an open question whether Israel will receive the help of its American Jewish brethren in its hour of need.

 
Originally published in The Jewish Press.

 

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10 Comments

  • marcel cousineau 11/27/2008 at 18:01

    The assimilated Jews will never leave pleasant Babylon because it is their true promised land and Israel is not in their hearts or soul except in shallow empty,worthless terms.
    Thats why Obama’s true view of Israle did not concern them. It’s not really important to them.
    So it’s easy to see why they do what they do.
    Those who do not love the truth but take pleasure in lies and hypocrisy always champion their human saviors and this is their damnation
    The Babylonian Jews have chosen to stand with Israel’s enemies.They have proven by their pivotal act where their heart and soul truly are.
    They can fool the majority with their kipa’s and shuls and synagogues and liberal donations to liberal causes but they do not fool Hashem in the end.
    The same goes for the right who support their champion who divies Israel for his false peace scam by making excuses for his evil and blaming others.
    The sicknes of the left and the righ have their root in the spiritual wickedness of their left or right hearts.
    These are the fasle idols which God will judge both phony, hypocrite groups for.
    These hypocrites of the left and the right do not fool God and their embrace of lies and strong delusion reveal their double minded confused and worthless support for the Israel of God.
    He has no place for the unclean filthy idol worshipers who trust in devious men and their political trash whether left or right ,they are all bad for Israel as both stand with the Road Map final solution.

    Reply
  • Fran Meaney 11/27/2008 at 18:21

    From my observations, you are 100% correct. Christian Evangelicals and national security conservatives, overwhelmingly Republican, will have to lead the battle to convince Americans — including Democrats in Congress — that Israel and the U.S. are fighting the same war and supporting the Jewish state is in America’s interest. As I see it, http://www.chathamrepublicans.com/archive/2008/11/the-middle-easts-leading-political.shtml

    Reply
  • exdissident 11/27/2008 at 18:30

    Carolyn, I agree completely with your assesment. When American Jews elect a man for presidency who has the strongest ties to anti-semitic spokesmen since Carter it is a symptom of a huge underlying problem. The fact that American jews would act in this way reveals years of corruption of their values, faith, and ability to reason. The same disease has infected Israeli Jews and this is how Olmert got elected. If there is any sort of meaningful treatment to this sickness, it will need to go deep. Education must be reformed. We require an entirely different leadership. This is like a heart attack that occurs after years of uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, eating grease, and smoking 2 packs per day. To prevent another heart attack, you have to change all these behaviors. I just hope this catastrophic event doesn’t kill us, before we had a chance to reform.

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  • Anne Julienne 11/27/2008 at 22:14

    I’ve just completed reading Morris’ brilliant and balanced “1948”. His conclusion, in a nutshell, is that the 1948 War was driven by ancient Jew hatred. Until we all understand and accept this most basic notion, the Jews will never be safe, whether in Israel, in the US, or in an office in Mumbai.
    I’m not a Jew so I can feel physically safe myself. But what’s the point of that if my moral integrity is endangered? I’d rather die defending Jews than live watching them slaughtered yet again.
    I so wish the world of humans would wake up but if even the US Jews can’t do that, what hope is there?

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  • Garret Benson 11/27/2008 at 23:03

    Did you actually expect American Jews to vote for a Republican candidate? That would be like splitting the Red Sea.
    And anyway, I thought it was axiomatic that US voters vote their pocketbook.
    In May Thomas Friedman wrote, “Personally, as an American Jew, I don’t vote for president on the basis of who will be the strongest supporter of Israel. I vote for who will make America strongest.” I have a feeling by “strongest” he really means richest.

    Reply
  • lowkey 11/28/2008 at 2:24

    PERHAPS THE FOLLOWING ANALOGY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED:
    WHEN I CONSIDER AN ISRAELI, I IN NO WAY ASSOCIATE THEM WITH THE JEWS HERE IN AMERICA.
    THE DIFFERENCE IS SIMILIAR TO AN AFRICAN LION IN CONTRAST TO A COMMON NEW YORK HOUSE CAT.
    THE ELITE HOUSE FELINE IS INCAPABLE OF SURVIVING ANYTHING BEYOND ITS PAMPERED WORLD, THE LION IS KILL OR STARVE…
    THE SAME IS TRUE FOR US AMERICANS.
    THE AMERICAN LEFT ARE THE WEAK,FRAGILE,WINERS THAT IN MY MIND ARE NOT EVEN AMERICAN. HOW COULD THEY BE ?? THEY HATE THE US
    CONTRAST THESE WITH THE PEOPLE THAT VOLUNTEER FOR THE ARMY,OWN THE GUNS, WORK FOR A LIVING, SUPPORT THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY.
    SIMPLY PUT, REGAN VS OBAMA…
    THE AMERICAN JEW IS NOT AN ISRAELI, HE IS BY DEFINITION THE AMERICAN LEFT. WORTHLESS TO BOTH AMERICA AND ISRAEL…
    IF IT WERE UP TO ME, I WOULD SHIP THE U.S. LEFT
    TO ISRAEL WHILE INVITING ALL ISRAELIS(EXCEPT THE LEFTIES OVER THERE) TO AMERICA IN ORDER TO
    CREATE A PEOPLE THAT TRULY LOVE GOD AND COUNTRY.
    OH YEA, I GUESS THAT LEAVES ALL THE WEAK HOUSE CATS TO BE EATEN BY THEIR NEIGHBORS. THEY GET THEIR WISH AFTER ALL…
    YOU MS GLICK ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT PERFECTLY.
    YOU GOT SO SICK OF THE HYDE PARK GROUP YOU DECIDED A VIRTUOUS LIFE WAS MORE REWARDING WHEN SURROUNDED BY OTHERS OF LIKE MIND.
    WHEN AMERICA IS IN TROUBLE WILL IT RECIEVE THE HELP OF THE LEFT ???

    Reply
  • Ron Grandinetti, USA 11/28/2008 at 16:04

    Caroline, as usual you are right on with your assessment of the American Jews. As a young student in the 50’s I was conversing with a American Jew who owned a glass shop and by the way was very generous to Catholic School students who from time to time broke windows at school (yours truly had a snowball go astray) and the rule was, you broke it, you fix it.
    The store owner knowing it was for the good sisters provided the glass and instructions free of cost.
    Our conversation led to a statement I made about the Jewish community being tight. He told me that this was the result of the discrimination and persecution suffered by many Jews in Europe and the Holocaust For survival it was now necessary to stick together and they wanted to make sure this would not happen again.
    I guess the good life by the offspring’s caused laps in memory and history.
    The Holocaust should be a constant reminder of the most outrages acts committed against our brothers and sisters, all of us children of God.
    There is no excuse for those liberal Jews especially members of Congress to vote to the left since the Holocaust Museum is located in Washington.
    It is important for all of us to stand by our friend Israel not only as the only democracy in the middle east, but also a Nation and home of Jews who escaped the rated of the world. And to make sure another Holocaust ever occurs again.
    It is also very important for the Jews in Israel to move from the left and understand that their Nation is still under siege from those in the neighborhood who want to destroy them.
    Just listen to the leaders of Iran.

    Reply
  • Alan Greenfield 11/29/2008 at 9:44

    The majority of American Jews I know are extremely insecure, and they worry to the extreme about being viewed as having dual-loyalty (as if that’s something unacceptable!) Just like the post-Zionists in Israel, these chronic weak-kneed wimps are not capable/willing to ever defend Israel. However, for them, criticising Israel is commonplace and often excessive – and a lot easier, especially when they are with the majority and don’t have to feel alone. When the going gets tough, these weaklings get running – or worse, they often adopt/condone the stand of Israel’s sworn enemies. They feel no shame or responsibility – after all, those “peaceniks” in Israel act the same… The way their brains function in dealing with Israeli issues that evoke conflict “without the guilt” is to first accept the anti-semetic doctrine that Israel was “born in sin” and is therefore guilty for existing. This in turn justifies all their anti-Israel biases, actions and inactions. It’s easy for the weak, takes the guilt off of them, and makes those intolerant goyim they wish to appease more accepting and forgiving of them for being born Jewish (so they erroneously think). Dershowitz describes this type as imposing a second-class citizen status onto themselves. Their lack of self-respect and love of their heritage indeed breeds contempt by others who are appalled at their weakness and cowardness. By “not wanting to make waves” the end result is a “capsized boat with all Jews aboard.”

    Reply
  • Dan 11/30/2008 at 6:46

    If American Jews are forced to make a decision between Israel and their Leftist political attitudes, they’ll throw Israel to the wolves every single time.
    Whether Israel continues to exist or not does not present a psychological crisis for them.
    But their adherence to Leftist dogma does. The very way they look at themselves, think of themselves, flatter themselves that they’re better, brighter, fairer, more compassionate than everyone else, all of that is wrapt up in their political alignment.
    For Jews in Israel, the sinister march of events presents a GENUINE EXISTENTIAL crisis.
    But for the vast amounts of Jews in the United States, ——- it will all amount to nothing more than crocodile tears.
    Bypass State, CIA and Washington, take your case over their heads directly to the American people, who already favour immediate military strikes.

    Reply
  • yaakov 12/08/2008 at 2:34

    i think it behooves us to ask a deeper question here. why is it that almost 80% of american jews would vote for this man?
    certainly assimilation has taken its toll over the past 40 years. but what is it that prevents american jews who are not ‘observant’ (read ‘orthodox’) or strongly zionist from identifying more strongly with israel?
    i think the major culprit is the lack of proper torah education. amongst observant jews for whom the torah is a living life-force, support for israel is as natural as breathing.
    but what has happenned to ‘reform’, ‘conservative’ and the many ‘un-affiiated’ jews?
    no torah=no identification=no soul consciousness=susceptibility to liberal/”progressive” assimilated views of the world.
    as has been said, liberal jews’ religion is liberalism and the democratic party is the shul.you daven by voting democratic and never question the ‘rabbis’.
    the observant, torah educated,religious-zionist jewish world has an essential task and responsibility: to educate and bring back these jews. this is the essence of ahavas-yisroel, love of one’s fellow jew. a supreme mitzvah advocated by most hassidic rebbes and other torah giants.
    the torah knowledgeable jewish world can no longer sit back or remain uninvolved with their ‘assimilated’ brothers and sisters. to do so is to contribute to the harming of the whole community.
    yes, there are many such as chabad and agudath yisrael, young israel, who do commendable outreach. but apparently, it’s not enough when 80% voted for the guy with the most israel/jew hating friends.
    there needs to be frequent symposiums,conventions, brainstorming and all kinds of creative outreach to bring true torah to the masses of american jews. the pintele yid, the jewish point, in their souls needs to be sparked and awakened. to not do so is at our own peril….

    Reply

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