Latest update: October 26th, 2012
From the earliest moments of American history, before there was a state of Israel, Americans were dreaming dreams of a Jewish homeland. In every generation in each century of American history, the greatest of American patriots and leaders linked the heart of America to the cause of Israel. Why? What is it about America that so deeply connects us to Israel?
There are many possible explanations: our shared moral code, rooted deeply in Mosaic law, our common history as nations founded by those seeking refuge from religious persecution, our democratic political systems, our free market economic systems, our shared commitment to equality, tolerance and generosity in the face of less than generous treatment by others.
With all this in common, it is no wonder we share not only a deep friendship but also enemies. Wherever there’s a titan of tyranny anywhere in the world, he hates America and he hates Israel.
What is it about this tiny country, barely holding on to a little strip of land, that so provokes the powers of evil on the earth? I would argue that it’s not just political or historical or ethnic differences driving this animosity. I believe that the very presence of the Jewish people, surviving all horrors, thriving in the midst of constant terror and attack, does indeed serve as a rebuke to the nations; because its nationhood, its continued blessedness, despite all the curses that man has spewed and inflicted, is an irrefutable manifestation to the watching world of God’s covenant with the people of Israel.
Some would argue we share interests with Israel. I would argue we share faith with Israel. As modern man becomes increasingly secular and forgets God, the nation of Israel is a stark reminder that Israel’s God has not forgotten man. Americans are a deeply religious people, with most of us rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition. As such, our bond with Israel isn’t just on a political or economic level. Our bond is spiritual. As Ruth said to Naomi in the Hebrew Scriptures, so America says to Israel, “Where you go, we will go, your people will be our people, and your God our God.” Advertisement
The current administration has abdicated this country’s traditional solidarity with Israel. Today Israel truly stands alone among nations, facing existential threats more dangerous and more imminent that ever before. The American people have not abandoned Israel, but there is no denying that Israel has been left to fend for itself by the administration and its congressional collaborators.
I’m referring, of course, to the grave and gathering threat in Iran. As Israel implores the international community to take action, what is America’s response? We are governed by a modern-day Neville Chamberlain, constantly issuing assurances of coming peace filled with Orwellian doublespeak about not tolerating a nuclear Iran – while simultaneously abandoning every possible point of leverage that could be used to bring Iran’s nuclear program to its knees.
Iran’s funding, resources, weapons, training and soldiers are killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan just as sure as they are supporting Hizbullah’s efforts to kill Israelis and further radicalize Israel’s neighbors. And still the Obama administration dithers.
Iran is not restrained by any sort of instinct for survival the way the Soviets were. So we must take the Iranians at their word. They will attack.
This is the cold, hard reality the international community doesn’t want to face, because admitting it would require ending lucrative business deals. It would require some sacrifice on the part of Europeans. It would require some unpleasant diplomatic pressure applied to China. It would require some unpleasant phone calls to Moscow. It might even require some common courtesy the next time the Israeli prime minister visits the United States.
For the sake of Jerusalem, we must not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, we must no longer allow this or any administration to second-guess the relationship between Israel and America. For the sake of Jerusalem, the world can no longer demand that Israel sell out the security of its people and make every concession in the book just for the off chance that a Palestinian leadership might show up at the bargaining table willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The Republican Party I head sees only one choice – solidarity. I would argue further that the core principals of our party are inherently friendlier to Israel because they are based on the truth of human nature and good and evil. Republicans, unlike our utopian friends in Washington, recognize there is evil in the world, and that evil is emboldened rather than mitigated by concessions and appeasement. Republicans understand that the first and foundational responsibility of securing peace is securing strength.
If Israel is to be safe, if Iran’s nuclear program is to be shut down, then we must recognize that not all political parties are created equally. Ideas have consequences. Elections have consequences. Their results matter not just for America but the world. Israel’s survival requires an America that is strong and a president whose words have meaning and whose promises are kept.
I cannot promise you the outcome of elections this November. I cannot promise what America will do or won’t do. I will, however, promise you this: Republicans across this nation will continue to stand with Israel as we work to secure the future not only for the next generation of Americans, but for the next generation of Israelis as well.
About the Author: Michael Steele is chairman of the Republican National Committee.
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