Land Of Equal Opportunity
I thoroughly enjoyed Rabbi Naphtali Hoff’s front page essay last week (“Tapping Into Our Meritorious Past”).
He is eminently correct that we Jews have enjoyed unprecedented religious freedom here in America. However, I would stress that this is not necessarily because Americans have a special love for Jews (though most Americans seem remarkably free of the anti-Semitism we Jews have all too often experienced in other countries), but rather because America is a country of laws and generally everyone is equal before the law.
We enjoy our freedoms because all Americans are free to be what they want to be, and we are included in the mix. This is an important point, because it does not depend on the individual or political party in office at any particular time.
I remember as a child learning about how Jews living in the Diaspora under certain kings flourished because of special dispensations. Far better that in America everyone has entitlements, across the board. That means how we live our lives here is based on our own capabilities.
We should therefore support everyone’s rights, if only because our rights depend on those we share with others. We should stress not that America is a land of chesed but a country of equal opportunity.
Lack Of Leadership
Your Israel correspondent Steve Walz is absolutely correct that President Obama’s indecision on Syria means Israel cannot rely on the United States to lead the way in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat (“Obama’s Hesitation on Syria Prompts Bibi to Reconsider Options on Iran,” front page news story, Sept. 6).
It is very clear now that Obama is a failed president when it comes to foreign policy and does not automatically command the respect and support of the American people and most of Congress in foreign affairs. His commitments are therefore not something Israel can factor into its decision-making.
What’s more, countries around the world will deem the U.S. a paper tiger, not a force to be reckoned with. Americans have little stomach for war, not because they no longer have a sense of right and wrong but because leaders like Barack Obama don’t know how to lead or tell the truth.
I appreciate the obvious time and effort The Jewish Press puts into its political endorsements. They provide helpful introductions to the candidates, especially those for major office.
I was particularly taken with the endorsement last week of Joe Lhota in the New York City Republican mayoral primary. I agree he is by far the most knowledgeable candidate in terms of running the city from a practical standpoint. I saw one of the debates in which he participated and no one else came close in competence.
Alas, I also agree with you that the jury is still out on him concerning “the vision thing.”
While the world is in turmoil, Palestinians and Israelis have been told to work on a peace deal with a due date just nine months from now. This is a futile undertaking because the Middle East likely will look different in the not too distant future.
Iran and Russia mean to dominate the region and they will make the changes they perceive to be in their interests if they succeed in propping up Syria’s Assad.
Israel will be more vital than ever to the United States and to the concept of freedom. Why can’t the U.S. understand this and acknowledge that this is not the time to negotiate borders for Israel or to determine where Jews can live in Israel.
Let the U.S. be a real friend of democracy and help to secure the bastion of democracy in the Middle East – Israel. This means admitting that the concept of a peace process against the backdrop of current Mideast reality is unrealistic and self-defeating.
Regarding the fiasco in the Middle East, I am constantly reminded of the classic children’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It is a perfect metaphor for how Israel handles itself and how the world responds accordingly. It is absolutely baffling to me that the charade continues and that Israel and the world pretend that Israel actually has a peace partner. Whom are we kidding?