Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where are American Jews?


by N. Richard Greenfield

"Mark my words," Vice President Joe Biden told donors a few months before the election, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barrack Obama … We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he's going to need help … to stand with him. Because it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right."

One could easily have said the same thing about American Jews and their relationship with Israel. It is being severely tested. As it turns out, Israel is indeed the focus of U.S. pressure and bullying. The threat to peace in the Middle East, says our current administration, emanates not from Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihad or Arab nationalism, but from Israel. The U.S. is casting Israel in the classic Jewish role of scapegoat, blaming her for all of the region's problems.

President Obama has embraced the ever-ready and willing State Department's negativity towards Israel and, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading the way, is making demands about Israeli 'settlements' which are harsh and uncompromising. At the same time, State ignores Arab illegal construction which is happening on a much wider and broader scale. State conveniently ignores the fact that if land were truly the issue, Israel and her Arab neighbors would have been at peace for the last 60 years. Even though State has always been biased against Israel, it has never had a Presidency to work with that was in such complete consonance with its views as the Obama Administration is today. The resulting bullying of Israel by the U.S. is without parallel in American-Israeli relations.


In the last month an undersecretary of defense unilaterally discussed Israel's nuclear capability. In the doing, a long-standing U.S.-Israeli agreement to publicly avoid discussion of this topic was broken. Defense is tampering with previously agreed-upon arms deals by denying Israel the right to make adaptations on equipment that Israel deems essential. Effectively, they are moving the long-promised F-35 fighter from Israel's grasp and, instead, Israel will put a good face on buying decades old F-15's and upgrading them to her specifications. At the same time, Egypt is being offered top of the line attack helicopters from a defense department that knows Egypt's only potential adversary for these weapons is Israel.

Meanwhile, Marine General (ret) Keith Dayton is training and arming a 5,000 man Fatah security force designed to secure a Palestinian state on land Israel has not yet ceded. At the UN, Susan Rice is changing U.S. policy from one of support to belligerence. General James Jones, the President's National Security Adviser is touting Presidential Adviser Samantha Power's suggestion that an armed international force including American soldiers enter Judea and Samaria to force the Israelis to make a Palestinian state happen. General Dayton is already training such a force of Fatah soldiers in Jordan, presumably for this task. Meanwhile, George Mitchell, the special envoy to the area, is picking apart previous agreements telling Israel to conform to his selected conditions, while ignoring the obligations to which Palestinians were supposed to have been bound. All of this while rockets still fall on Israel from Gaza, and Fatah and Hamas fight running battles on West Bank streets.

The U.S. media notes all of this pressure and gleefully speculates that it will eventually topple the recently elected Netanyahu government. Mahmoud Abbas, the nominal head of Fatah, says he is waiting for this to happen before seriously considering negotiations. He is hoping the U.S. can get everything he wants before he even sits down with the Israelis.

Where are American Jews during all of this?

It seems they are still divided along pre-election lines. As individuals, most Jews who voted for Obama last November are content to ignore Israel's agony in the face of U.S. pressure because they still trust the President on other issues. They ignore the threats to Israel's safety and security and are blind to America's infringing on Israel's sovereignty as a free and democratic nation. Not coincidently, Soros-funded anti-Israel groups have popped up promoting the scurrilous conclusions of the infamous Walt-Merscheimer report which was rife with accusations of Jewish- American's dual loyalty and Israel's culpability for every ill in the Middle East.

If this continues, and there's little to indicate it won't, Jews will have to make painful and difficult choices between their support for Israel and their preference for other policies of this administration. This choosing will play out during the upcoming 2010 Congressional elections. The President is leaving them little room to maneuver, as there are even stories, unofficial so far, of U.S. political and economic sanctions against Israel if she doesn't accede to Obama's demands.

Without a strong American Jewish voice in support of Israel much is at risk. The solid coalition for Israel in the U.S. Congress is in the process of weakening as Democrats in Congress continue to find the pressures from Rahm Emmanuel and others difficult to resist. If Jews go silent during the 2010 elections and allow apathy, fear or political preference to prevent them from speaking up for Israel, the bullying will increase and the worst and most deadly outcomes will become real possibilities.

N. Richard Greenfield is publisher of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


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