The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Last week the Anti Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee circulated a proposed “unity pledge” for American Jews which, according to a press release, was designed “to encourage other national organizations, elected officials, religious leaders, community groups and individuals to rally around bipartisan support for Israel while preventing the Jewish state from becoming a wedge issue in the upcoming campaign season.”
Most have understood that to mean taking the issue of the Middle East off the table in the upcoming presidential campaign.
Telling Americans to cut back on ventilating a core issue in American politics for fear that voters might rally around the advocate for one of the positions as opposed to the other, is, on its face, bizarre. And since the topic of Israel is not President Obama’s strong point, it smacks of downright partisanship to suggest that it should not be a robust part of the political debate.
Yes, the last thing our community needs is to see support for Israel become a partisan or “wedge” issue in the upcoming campaign. Standing with Israel should not be exclusively identified with one political party. Indeed, expressions of support for Israel and its security have been part of the presidential campaign landscape for decades now, with virtually all Republican and Democratic candidates more or less on the same page.
If the pledge is designed to discourage some of the more shrill attacks that argue that one candidate or another is out to destroy Israel, we might see the point. But is President Obama’s declared desire to reach out to the Muslim world by reevaluating certain of our foreign policy premises – which have benefited Israel immensely over the years – out of bounds?
And what of his war against the settlements? He is at odds with both Democrats and Republicans on the issue. Is that too off the table in terms of political debate?
And what of his embrace of the 1967 lines? Is that a taboo subject? Should Ed Koch’s recent support of a Republican congressional candidate as a means of demonstrating his unhappiness with Mr. Obama’s treatment of Israel been verboten?
We’ve had very few positive things to say about the liberal J Street lobbying group. But J Street’s reaction to the unity pledge is instructive: “You can have a unified support for Israel – for the state of Israel, for the concept of Israel, for its future and for its security – but [have] a vehement disagreement about how you get there. And that’s what we have.”
In other words, certain Jewish organizational leaders need to chill out. Their fear that Mr. Obama has been losing a significant amount of Jewish support is all too palpable. Isn’t that the obvious reason for this misguided effort?
We don’t recall a similar “unity” campaign in 2004, when President Bush was being assailed by liberal Jews for his warm relationship with the Likud government and clear tilting toward Israel even if it meant offending the delicate sensibilities of Yasir Arafat.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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