Among American Jews, there are different views on the Iraq war, on Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan, and on the presidential election.
There is a strong consensus, however, that Israel has a right to defend itself, that the fence is a legitimate and legal endeavor, and that the international community’s effort to isolate Israel is an outrage.
The anti-Israel hysteria continues unabated, but nobody even mentions the idea of a mass rally supporting Israel and condemning the UN, The Hague and the European Union.
For 18 months after the Palestinians launched their terror war against Israel in September 2000, no major rally was organized. In the April 6, 2001 issue of The Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt lamented:
“There has yet to be a major, coordinated effort to galvanize the grassroots. There has been no national event to channel American Jewry’s love of and support for Israel – and distress over the Palestinian-orchestrated violence – into a powerful statement of activism…
“Enough is enough. As the intifada enters its seventh month and the terror attacks on Israeli civilians escalate, one wonders how much longer we have to wait before expressing our commitment to Israel and indignation over the intifada in a dramatic and effective way. Not only is it vital to give vent to our feelings and draw together as a community, we need to show the administration in Washington and the media around the country that Americans Jews are united in their support for Israel.”
Only after another year, after hundreds more Israelis were murdered, and after 3,000 Americans were murdered on 9/11, did the Jewish establishment organize a rally, in Washington on April 15, 2002. The rally was mobilized on little more than a week’s notice; nevertheless, on a weekday, a couple of hundred thousand Jewish Americans came from across the country.
The 2002 rally occurred when Palestinian terror was at its peak and when the U.S. was relentlessly bombing Afghanistan – yet President Bush was vocally demanding an immediate IDF pullout from Palestinian towns. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz gave a rambling speech that spoke of a need for Israeli concessions and focused on Palestinian suffering.
Almost another year and a half has since passed and a lot has happened:
Prime Minister Sharon expressed support for the formation of a Palestinian state, decided to build a fence, and was reelected in a landslide. Two Palestinian prime ministers were appointed. Israel’s cabinet decided to remove Arafat, but never implemented the decision. The road map came and went. The Geneva Accord briefly emboldened the Left. Sharon called for unilateral withdrawal.
Saddam Hussein was deposed. Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi were liquidated. Terror attacks declined, but Jews continue to be murdered, including Goldie and Shmuel Taubenfeld of New Square; Dr. David and Naava Applebaum of Jerusalem; Chezi Goldberg of Betar Illit; and Tali, Hila, Hadar, Roni and Merav Hatuel (and Tali and Dovid Hatuel’s unborn son) of Gush Katif. The Hague ruled, 14-1, that the fence is illegal. The UN voted 150-6 to demand that Israel tear down the fence and pay reparations to Palestinians. All 25 members of the European Union supported the resolution.