Latest update: July 2nd, 2013
Presidential Politics: Readers Face Off
As a Jew and a strong supporter of Israel, I sometimes think there is just no hope for some of President Obama’s detractors. He instructs the dunderhead Democratic Party apparatchiks to restore to the party platform references to an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and says that this reflects his personal view as well.
Yet the big story for you and others was that the reference was taken out in the first place. Doesn’t this tell you that he means it when he says he will always have Israel’s back? What do all of you want from this man? Even the unprecedented increase in military aid and intelligence cooperation with Israel during his presidency makes no impression at all.
I accuse Jews who continue to support Barack Obama of maintaining a loyalty to the Democratic Party that exceeds all other loyalties. I accuse them of a blatant blindness to the danger confronting Israel because they have hitched their wagons to the Democrats and nothing else comes closer to their hearts than that symbiotic relationship.
I would be much more cautious in my accusation if Obama took the time and trouble to at least pretend he is a friend, but he doesn’t. His loathing of Benjamin Netanyahu is public, open and undisguised. The trap, for us as Jews, is to quibble about Netanyahu’s policies instead of seeing the reality of the horrors that are looming.
Obama blithely speaks publicly about Israel returning to the 1967 lines and instead of withdrawing 100 percent of their support, Jews debate internally about Netanyahu’s policies. Should such a catastrophic move be forced on Israel, will it really matter who the prime minister is?
We no longer have a Zev Jabotinsky to sound the alarm, but I’ll gladly settle for Bibi’s warnings in this crisis. I envision Mitt Romney as a strong and honest supporter of the Jewish state, but the overriding point is crystal clear: Barack Obama is nowhere near that position and, accordingly, should not get the vote of any Jew who loves Israel and fears for its safety, well-being and future.
New City, NY
‘Lies And Misrepresentations’
I voted for John McCain on 2008 and am leaning toward Mitt Romney this year, but I simply cannot stand the misrepresentations and lies about President Obama’s record thrown around by so many in the frum community.
It was Obama who, in his 2009 Cairo speech that everyone loves to trash, told the Arab world that the Israel-U.S. alliance is unbreakable. Obama backed Israel during the Goldstone Report and Gaza flotilla controversies. Obama has increased defense and intelligence aid and cooperation to and with Israel. Last year Obama literally stood against the international community at the UN and said “no” to a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.
As for Obama’s 2011 statement that U.S. policy supports a return by Israel to the 1967 lines “with land swaps,” that is precisely what American policy has been since the Six-Day War. George W. Bush said that any final settlement would have to take into account realities on the ground – meaning Israeli population centers that have been developed in those areas over the past four decades – and this is what Obama meant when he spoke of “land swaps,” as he immediately elaborated when his initial remarks were met by a firestorm of criticism.
Besides, anytime Israel and the Palestinians have negotiated, it’s about the 1967 lands won by Israel in 1967. What territories does even the most vociferous Obama hater think they’re talking about? In fact, Israel has already given back most of the territory it won in ’67 – namely, Sinai and Gaza.
Barack And Bibi
The fact that Obama and Bibi don’t get along has no bearing on the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship – Reagan did not like Begin or Shamir and he’s regarded as a pro-Israel president (by the way, Reagan condemned Israel at the UN and held up arms shipments to Israel – two things Obama has never done), and Bill Clinton detested Netanyahu during Netanyahu’s first term in office, to the point of meddling in Israeli politics by sending his campaign gurus to Israel to work on behalf of Ehud Barak, who defeated Bibi in 1999.
Obama may not like Bibi, but that doesn’t make him anti-Israel.
Ramat Gan, Israel
Not The Same Party
Times have changed, as has the Democratic Party. This institution is not the same political organization that existed in my youth some sixty years ago. It no longer speaks to my people either ethically nor politically.
It is not that my views or values have changed but rather it is the Democratic Party that has redirected its focus. What better example than the initial deletion of God, and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, from the party platform?
Yet the majority of Jewish voters are still very much in the camp of the Democratic Party. Is there a lack of critical thinking? Is there a sense of misplaced guilt? Is it a matter of inertia? I do not have the answers. What I do know is that we are living in perilous times. The fate of Israel is inexorably tied up with the fate of Jews worldwide. Anti-Semitism is on the rise throughout Europe, concomitant with the growth of Islamic communities there.
I am not certain what a Republican victory would mean for the future of the United States. I do know, however, what the present path means and that scares me beyond adequate words.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Reader Josh Greenberger is of the opinion that the Obama administration has “been a disaster for Israel,” based on events in Egypt and Iran (Letters, Sept. 14). But this is unfair. The ascendance of the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of Mubarak’s departure is lamentable, but the idea that Obama could or should have somehow propped up the Mubarak regime against the will of the Egyptian population – if this is what Mr. Greenberger is suggesting – goes against both political and moral sense. No American president could have said to the Egyptian people “democracy is good for us, but dictatorship is good for you.”
Similarly, we can all agree that the Iranian nuclear agenda is terrifying, but what specifically should Obama have done differently over the past three years? He has made amply clear his administration’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear project, with his secretary of defense recently stating, “We will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon. And we will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen.”
If Mr. Greenberger has some well-considered proposition for how the U.S. can straightforwardly pacify Iran’s nuclear ambitions, I do hope he will share his solution with the rest of us. Finally, let’s not forget that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president of Iran in 2005, which we all recognized even then as a profound disaster for Israel and the world.
Are we supposed to hold Obama responsible for that as well?
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