Obama, Democrats and Israel

We are reminded again and again that President Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.” Indeed, the same exact phrase is used repeatedly, as if the teleprompter is stuck. Even this year’s Democratic Party platform reiterates that the Democrats have “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.” So when the platform purposely omitted mention of Yerushalayim as the capital of the State of Israel – in contrast to both the Republican platform and previous Democratic platforms, and in contrast to what Obama himself said before AIPAC as a candidate in 2008 to resounding applause before he retracted it the very next day – it is always good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

In fact, although Obama snubbed Netanyahu in the PM’s first visit to Washington, having him enter the White House through a side door and literally walking out on him during their first meeting, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has cold and barely cordial relations with Israel’s duly-elected prime minister – while enthusiastically bowing before Saudi Arabia’s aging potentate and genuflecting before an assortment of dictators across the world – it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama sympathized with French President Sarkozy (since defeated for re-election) that Netanyahu is a “liar” with whom he struggles “every day,” it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has insisted only on Israeli concessions for the sake of “peace” but has not made any reciprocal demands on the Arabs, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although informed US Jewish “leaders” early in his administration that there needs to be “daylight” between the US and Israeli diplomatic positions, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama early on – later repeated in strident fashion by his UN Ambassador – that Israeli settlements are illegal (a term not used by the US in more than 30 years), it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama in Cairo in June 2009 equated Israeli apartment-building in its heartland with Arab terror against innocent Jewish civilians, and further associated Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the Holocaust, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama insisted that Israel freeze the construction of Jewish communities in its very heartland (and Netanyahu foolishly agreed), it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama applied that construction freeze to Yerushalayim as well, and although his spokesman refuses even to answer the simple question “what is the capital of the State of Israel?” it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama announced that the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the PA has to be a retreat to the 1948 armistice lines (for which Netanyahu rightly reprimanded him) – borders which are defined as indefensible by any military expert – it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has tried several times to cut funding for Iron Dome, money then restored by Congress for which Obama then claimed credit, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although disinvited Israel to the Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC and to several forums dealing with international terror, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama supported Turkish efforts to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and has made radical-Muslim Turkey a closer US ally than is Israel, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama allowed the UN Security Council to denounce Israel for its self-defense against the Mavi Marmara assault on Israel’s sovereignty, and called on Israel to apologize, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has visited dozens of countries across the world and most countries in the Middle East but has not yet set foot in Israel as president, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although the Arab Middle East is steadily radicalizing with the collapse of US allies and the rise to power of overt haters of Israel – with Obama’s America “leading from behind” when it is engaged at all, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has offered strong rhetoric on Iran but done little to prevent its inexorable progress to a nuclear weapon with which it openly threatens Israel’s existence, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama officials have publicly called Israel “an ungrateful ally,” one that “has harmed American interests in the world,” it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has so far refused to provide Israel with US weaponry capable of simplifying an Israeli strike on Iran and has steadily leaked information about covert operations, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has drastically scaled back US-Israeli joint military maneuvers scheduled for October, even as US-Egyptian joint maneuvers are proceeding in full force this week, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Although Obama has surrounded himself his entire adult life with radical, anti-Israel Jews and non-Jews, and absorbed an anti-Israel mentality that sees Israel as a colonialist outpost with questionable legitimacy, it is good to remember that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

What is clear is that President Obama has an unshakeable commitment to employing clichés about Israel’s security, just enough to lull naïve Jewish voters for whom Israel is not a priority into voting for him one last time.  The sad truth, noted here a number of times, is that most American Jews are not particularly observant, knowledgeable or engaged seriously in their Jewish faith. Their voting patterns reveal an obsessive concern with abortion rights and other liberal dogma; Israel is an afterthought – with one exception: Jewish consciences are assuaged on the Israel-issue (because they feel they should be concerned with Israel on some emotional, tribal basis) by the spouting of friendly and familiar rhetoric, even if the deeds and the rhetoric cannot be harmonized. Hence, the repeated refrain that Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Because Jews will vote for any Democrat who mouths the right slogans, and many will vote for Democrats who are obviously anti-Israel if they are otherwise liberal in their politics, there is little hope in persuading most of those Jews to vote for a non-Democrat, no matter who he is and no matter what he would say on Israel. That is why the core political support for Israel in the US today comes from Christian evangelicals and not from Jews. That is why Jews will rationalize any hostile acts to Israel emanating from Obama; the cognitive dissonance is unbearable. Even the disdain that most Israelis feel towards Obama – and certainly they should know best – makes little impression on Jewish Democrats. There is almost nothing that will convince most Jews not to vote for a Democrat.

That is why the same mantra can be sounded relentless: Obama has “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

And one other: Obama said before AIPAC this year that he “has Israel’s back.” Less comforting is the creeping sense that in an Obama second term (r”l) freed from any accountability, Obama would be well-positioned to stick a knife in that very back. That Jews may have a role in that because of their pathetic and thoughtless voting patterns –– will be as unsurprising as it will be reprehensible. That Jews are even today tap-dancing away from the dramatic changes in support for Israel in the Democrat party platform – denying that such has even happened – is appalling.

The French poet Charles Peguy once said, “He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.”

Where are the Jews who will bellow the truth, even if involves loss of face at the country club and the temple? Decision time is nearly at hand.

UPDATE: Well, Barack Obama, whose commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, apparently interceded personally with the Democrat Party and insisted that the party platform recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel.

That produced a great moment of political theater – farce, in fact – when the Convention chair took a voice vote and was able to ascertain that the “voices” produced the needed 2/3 majority to amend the platform. How can a “voice vote” be so accurately measured, especially when to anyone listening the ayes and nays were almost the same, if not even betraying a preponderance of nays?

It recalls the story of Lincoln polling his cabinet on a critical vote. “All opposed say ‘nay.'” Every hand shot up. “All in favor say ‘aye.'” Lincoln said “aye,” and concluded, “the ayes have it.”

Obviously, there is a significant segment of the Democrat Party that is unsympathetic to Israel (close to or even exceeding a majority), and polls reveal the same. But damage control was necessary, as the Obama re-election plan is based on the identity p0litics first perfected by FDR – appeal to blacks, women, homosexuals, union members and Jews. The omission of Yerushalayim threatened to make Jews even more uncomfortable voting for Obama, so it had to be changed. No group can be lost, or the election is lost.

Of course, Obama is the president, not just the party leader and platform drafter. If he really believed Yerushalayim was the capital of Israel, he would say it, his spokesman would say it, and the State Department would say it. That would carry more weight and be an act of substance rather than rhetoric. But that is what we should expect from a man whose commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable.

-RSP

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5 responses to “Obama, Democrats and Israel

  1. It is so refreshing to finally hear somebody speak the truth about the Democratic Party and its real views on the State of Israel. Great article Rabbi Pruzansky.

  2. I few minutes ago, I tried to post a link to this article to on:
    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2012/09/05/the-best-case-for-obama/

    I plan to link my Jewish web site to this article.

    My Jewish web site is the DerechEmet yahoo group.

  3. Monica Simpson

    Thank you Rabbi Pruzansky-great article. It should be required reading.
    May I sugest a few more items to add your list:

    Obama joining the UN Human rights Committee
    Obama Blaming Israel for “cost” in American “blood and treasure”
    Hillary berating Netanyahu for 45 minutes over settlement building
    In his Cairo speech-“no one has suffered more than the Palistinians”
    Giving money to the Palistinians even though they took their state bid to the UN & continue to incite
    About to give more money to the Egyptians even though they are not honoring the peace treaty (selling gas to Israel)

  4. Please, good rabbi, accept my thoughts. I’ve argued repeatedly with Jew friends on the topic of Israel and our President’s perceived indifference to the security of the same. As a Christian, I sometimes feel as if I am swimming upstream when discussing the current peril with these friends, as I see it, of the holy land. I see Israel as the only real western democracy in the midst of such a troubled region, Jew or otherwise – and therefore a ’must’ to be explicitly supported and guaranteed. I am frustrated that I must couch these arguments in the sphere of my knowledge of Jewish history of the region specific, a topic my Jewish friends sometimes know less thereof than me. If, hypothetically in the absurd historical extreme, these lands where improved by northern European Calvinists over half a millennium instead, I’d still support vigorously their liberal Democracy in a hostile land. Would you, as an American Jew? Why is it so hard for American Jewry to appreciate democracy first, cultural tribalism secondarily?

  5. I think most US Jews appreciate American democracy deeply. It is their Jewish heritage that stumps them.
    -RSP