The Jewish Press has proven once again it is the most benevolent and forgiving publication in the Jewish world by allowing Doctor David Luchins to advocate for the election of Joe Biden in its pages. This comes two decades after the famous December 17, 1999, editorial in the Jewish Press, where it lays out how Luchins told the Forward that the Jewish Press “wished for and welcomed Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination”. It followed up with a December 31 editorial entitled “How Deep the Perfidy?”, showing that in addition to his blood libel on the Press, Luchins was a one-man goon squad fighting Jonathan Pollard’s freedom at every turn. One more item in that editorial reflects on Luchins’ purportedly “non-partisan” case for Biden: it lays out how he masterminded Hillary Clinton’s deceptive claim (running for Senator) that she opposed her husband, the sitting President, and favored moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.
Luchins has been speaking at Orthodox high schools for years, purportedly about college choices, but actually proselytizing for the Democratic Party. When my fourth daughter (of five) was in 11th Grade at Beth Jacob of Miami, he began with this joke: “I am going to say a Dvar Torah although my field is politics, because even if I get it wrong I won’t do nearly as much damage to Torah as rabbis have done to my field.” So I had better not cite my Torah scholarship in rebutting his op-ed, and stick with my credential as former Deputy Editor of The American Spectator in Washington D.C.
In a full-page article, he has this to say about Obama-Biden and Israel: “Yes, the Obama administration made some painful mistakes when it came to Israel (as has every previous administration). But it was Joe Biden who was the strongest pro-Israel voice in that administration, from pushing for funding for the Iron Dome to helping negotiate the record 38 billion, 10-year aid agreement, which Israel rushed to sign in the administration’s closing weeks rather than take its chances with the new administration.” I will have to take his word about the Iron Dome, because I have no information on that subject. My apologies for being unprepared on that front.
But we all remember Biden creating a huge scene on his way to Israel as Vice President, because building in Gilo and Ramat Shlomo was in violation of the voluntary Israeli moratorium against settlements. He was personally offended, he said, that such construction would continue during his visit. Jerusalemites were shocked to hear that those neighborhoods, in the heart of Greater Jerusalem since the 1970s, were counted as “settlements”. I lived in Israel from 1981-1994 with no sense that Gilo was any different than Geula. No prior administration had ever considered neighborhoods within Jerusalem to be in that category. That was a significant setback in Israel’s negotiating stance, and it did not come as a concession to Palestinians in negotiation, but as a land grab by Joe Biden to benefit Assad.
It is not accurate to say Obama-Biden only whiffed at a few curveballs in handling the Middle East (“mistakes were made”). The relationship was hostile throughout both terms. Obama was heard on an open mike telling Sarkozy of France how miserable it was to have to deal with Netanyahu. In one instance, Obama walked out of a meeting with Netanyahu to eat supper, leaving the Prime Minister to cool his heels with no opportunity to eat or to leave. The American Spectator editorial staff was told by Senator Tom Cotton of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the administration did anything it could do against Israel that would not get into the paper. This included all manner of petty discourtesies against individual Israelis.
In a Jewish Press article a few weeks ago, I asserted that no one should make a judgment about Obama’s Israel policy without reading the memoir, Ally by Michael Oren. Oren is a nice Jewish boy from Buffalo who married a nice Jewish girl from San Francisco and moved to Israel. Netanyahu named him Ambassador to the U.S. and he chronicles ever so diplomatically all the travail Obama put him through. (He is thankful about the Iron Dome.) Suffice it to say he was quite exasperated.
Still, the thousand cuts were less “painful” than the biggest one of all, the greatest betrayal of Israel by any American President. Let us defer to Alan Dershowitz, lifelong Democrat: “I got a phone call from Obama… He made me promises, which he broke… He promised he would always have Israel’s back; instead he stabbed Israel in the back. His decision on the way out to allow the United Nations to condemn Israel for occupying the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism, the Jewish Quarter, Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital bypass road, was abominable.”
In a Zoom meeting with Dershowitz I attended, one participant asked him if Obama had just “allowed” that to happen, because nominally the resolution was proposed by Arab countries. Dershowitz answered that he knows for a fact Obama set that whole process in motion.
Now to the great aid package Luchins is lauding. Newsweek published an opinion on September 16, 2016, entitled “Obama Exacts Cold Revenge on Netanyahu”. Newsweek columnist (and Editor of historycentral.com) Marc Schulman wrote as follows:
“It is clear that Obama got his revenge on Netanyahu this week. Netanyahu was forced to hail the new memorandum of understanding (MOU)… as a historic achievement for Israel. It is nominally the largest commitment of aid that the U.S. has ever given… Netanyahu can’t afford to admit that the agreement is far from perfect… the numbers are misleading… Adjusted for inflation, the agreement is actually smaller than the previous MOU signed 10 years ago… if Netanyahu had not addressed Congress in opposition to the Iran agreement… Israel would have received more money and without the two restrictions… harmful to Israel… eliminates the long-standing practice of allowing Israel to use 25 percent of the aid for local purchases… commitment not to ask for any supplemental money from the Congress… committing to return any extra money if Congress were to allocate it.”
This is the deal Biden negotiated. If the American Congress votes Israel more money over the 10 year period after Obama is out of office, Israel must return that money! So in case someone in occupied territory in Hebrew U has his prayers answered in occupied territory at the Kotel and he invents a cure for COVID, the Congress had better not send a few bucks as a tribute.
Finally, let us remind our readers that the peace treaties with UAE and Bahrain agreed to by Israel during these days, are the work of a group of Orthodox Jews named Jared Kushner and David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, and spearheaded by a student of Ner Israel named Avi Berkowitz. Can everyone please take a deep breath and absorb the staggering fact that the current administration has put much of practical Israel policy in OUR hands? That is, Shomer Shabbos hands. And we are making peace treaties?! This is a moment of exhilarating pride and redemption for every Orthodox Jew, every Ben Torah.
Then again, Luchins says we should vote out the Pharaoh who put Yosef in charge in favor of the “melech chadash asher lo yada es Yosef (the new king who did not know Joseph)”. Sounds like a plan! How did that work out the last time?
As for me, I will get back to reading this golden oldie Jewish Press editorial from December 31, 1999, “How Deep the Perfidy?” Deep, awfully deep.