Obama, Israel and Jews

Well, everyone knows Barack Obama hates Israel.  Ask any Republican. Ask any right-wing Israeli. Ask former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who endorsed a Republican (who was running against an Orthodox Jew!) in that special election to fill Anthony Weiner’s Congressional seat.  Koch said it was his way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel. And of course, you can ask that Murdoch-controlled rag, the NY Post, whose editorial board wrote of “Obama’s radically anti-Israel stance.”

Except for one thing – Obama is flat out pro-Israel.  He does not kowtow to the hardline conservatives who dominate the current Israel government, nor should he.  Within days after Obama’s May 20th speech on his vision for the area, a full-page ad ran in the NY Times in support of his plan. It was signed by dozens of Israel’s most highly honored citizens. Are they “radically anti-Israel” as well?

Is every American president supposed to rubber stamp whatever any Israeli government demands? What happens when the next Israeli government comes into power?

Obama’s proposals are an amalgam of proposals from previous Israeli governments. His (their) vision may be right or wrong. But labeling him as anti-Israel because he doesn’t agree with Netanyahu is as silly as claiming that an Israeli who supports, say, Rick Perry, is anti-American.

New York Magazine’s Sept. 26th cover shows a close-up of the back of Obama’s head, covered with a white yarmulke. The headline: “The First Jewish President.” The sub-head is, “The truth? Barack Obama is the best friend Israel has right now.” And when you go inside to the story, it begins,

“Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now. Why is that so difficult for Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies to understand?”

The writer of the piece, John Heilman, goes into great detail to back up those claims. And if you need further details of Obama staunch pro-Israel actions (along with some fair criticism), check out this editorial from the NY Times.

Personally, I am saddened and slightly disgusted by American Jews who vote based on what they perceive is best for Israel. If that’s their major concern, they should make aliyah and move there. While you live here, you should vote based on what’s best for America! Every U.S. president will strongly support Israel – they just may not do it in a way that suits every Jew everywhere.

And finally, as a close friend reminded me, the Christian religious right supports Israel not because of any love of the country or Jews but because Israel’s statehood fits their Biblical prophesies for the coming “End of Days.”

So the next time you hear Rick Perry profess his love for Israel, please keep that in mind.

L’shona tova.