Thank Hashem for Bush and Blair

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7 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Notwithstanding the things we should thank the Bush administration for:

    Over the last few years, we have often heard these contradictory messages from the US Government concerning Israel:

    1. Restraint, restraint, restraint no matter what. Retreat or lose US support.
    2. We’re so disappointed that Israel failed to mash its opposition within X number of days. Advance or lose US support.

    Was it not the US that continually mixed into Israeli politics to guarantee the most dovish leadership available there? And tried to make Abbas and others out to be moderate statesmen to be cultivated by one-sided concessions?

    We’re again going through this schizo message cycle.

    At the moment, Israel’s actions are thought to advance US policy vis-a-vis Iran, so Israel is encouraged.
    At another moment, Israel’s identical actions (or tamer actions) are thought to threaten the US relationship with Arab oil states, so Israel is pushed back.

    Until President Bush and his employees have the same coherent vision, these mixed messages and the accompanying failures of their policy will continue to confuse friends and foes.

    I also notice that Israel is still telegraphing its military punches. This seems to be a continuation of its recent habit of asking “Mother, may I?” before dealing with terrorist threats. And how did this habit develop? Because the US has been openly and not-so-openly trying to micromanage all Israeli responses.

  2. Isidore says:

    I dont understand your point.If Bush and Blair are evidence of Divine Providence, then so is Nasrallah and the leadership of Iran,Syria and rest of that infernal group.Nor can we yet judge the efficacy the cure .”Al tivtichu benedivim …” (Do not put your trust in the mighty).

  3. Baruch Horowitz says:

    I once heard Dr. David Luchins say that America’s relationship with Israel is one of sharing complementary and overlapping interests, rather than exact identical interests. I think that this is also true in the more specific sense regarding the Christian Right, which is the part of the United States that is most dedicated in its support.

    This leads to a paradox. The statements made by both Israeli and American leaders that “Israel can have no better friend than America” is certainly true, despite the fact that there are traditionally differences between the State Department and the White House on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    But it is also true that America, like any other country, acts first and foremost in its own interest. Regardless of the nature of the American-Israeli relationship, the fact that Israel’s ultimate friend is Hashem remains true: “ain lanu l’heshaien ela b’Avinu s’Bashomayim”.

    Nevertheless, it is essential to display gratitude and not take such support for granted, whether to entire countries or to specific leaders. First, because only a fool will throw away the gift of friendship and a positive diplomatic alliance. Secondly, because displaying gratitude is a Torah value, whether or not this leads to further benefit.

  4. Adamchik says:

    Mixing religion with this sort of politics is a dangerous approach. It is a serious conclusion that is not so easy to draw, nor should it be drawn.

    Sharon’s reply to the Chief Rabbi of Haifa regarding the disengagement from Gaza was simply, “This is what the U.S. State Department is demanding that I do, and I must do it.”

    There are other important Bush issues that may not be good for Jews, such as the recent South Dakota abortion law, which gives precedence to the unborn baby over the mother, even when her life is in clear danger. The halakhic concept of rodef (has v’shalom) is one that is now at odds with the law of (some of) the land.

    One of the main consequences of America’s misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan has been to strengthen Iran. America’s energy policy has furthered that in spades, and has facilitated making Iran and Saudi Arabia enormously wealthy (as well as America’s own industries).

    The Democratic platform on Israel was basically the same as the Republican – G-d is above these sorts of politics, and America is a kind country.

    The ideal solution for Israel is not about a Republican or Democrat – it is more about teshuva and tefilah and tzedakah.

    You will probably recall the famous conservative William Buckley’s words, in a recent interview about Bush, “If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we’ve experienced, it would be expected that he would retire or resign.”

    The case could be made that Bush and Blair have been given to the Jews as a challenge, to make life harder. With work, we will succeed in these challenges as well.

    But G-d is much bigger than this, and attaching a political leader like this with him seems simply to slight G-d. Whether the withdrawal from Gaza and strengthening Iran is good for the Jews are things that will require a bit more time and perspective. They are surely the result of hashgacha pratis, but are they openly for the good??

  5. Dovid Himelson says:

    I was disturbed recently by media reports that Jonathan Rosenblum, Yitzchok Adlerstein, William Kristol, Daniel Pipes, Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, Jonah Goldberg and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen had not been seen in public for some time. Then, while reading Jonathan Rosenblum’s August 9 Crosscurrents posting “Thank Hashem For Bush and Blair,” I clicked on the link to read the full text of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s recent address here in Los Angeles, and was astonished to discover that the above-named persons had actually been meeting in an OU safe house in Big Bear Lake to write Blair’s speech.

    Who ever could have imagined a world leader saying so many uncompromisingly true and reasonable things, with such clear vision and such commitment to real moral values, in one speech, on the most important issues of our age, and without sounding at all apologetic?

    What is happening to the world? In his famous recent speech (or speeches) before the Kenesset, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mentioned G-d, quoted Yermiyahu and even said a Mi’she’berach, which is already pretty far into the unimaginable. He even reportedly said “I have never been more proud to be an Israeli.” When things start getting really bad, perhaps he will be able to bring himself to use the “J” word. (Even now, it is interesting how the term “G-d of Israel” whom Olmert called upon has a double resonance.)

    It is an amazing irony that Tony Blair, George Bush’s biggest booster in Afghanistan and Iraq, is of Britain’s Lunatic Left Labor Party, while Jacques Chirac, who was hoping to see Saddam Hussein y”sh defeat the US and UK and was working to make the dream a reality, is of the French Right.

    (As another irony, Blair’s speech received about 4% as much press coverage as Mel Gibson’s LA speeches, wet and dry, that same week).

    At the same time, Bob Miller is entirely right about the “schizo message cycle” syndrome. I have been saying for a long time now, and I continue to say, that George W. Bush is far and away the least anti-Israeli president America has had since they began keeping records in the 1950’s. That is the most one can say. While giving Sharon the green light to clean up after the Netanya Seder Massacre he was pushing the Road Map as the successor to the Oslo Assisted Suicide Pact for all he was worth. And I will never forget the fierce scowl on the face of Condoleeza Rice in a photo from an occasion when she was telling the Israelis exactly where they or are not allowed to live in their own ancient homeland and what they may or may not do there. The term rodefes instantly came to mind.

    If one can believe the Arutz-7/Israel National News website (and I am coming to realize that the Right has its own Ministry of Propaganda), Washington was employing satellites not long ago to take detailed photographs of the Land of Israel so it could spot Jews building homes on the wrong side of the street, and is giving Israel lists of Jewish settlements (or outposts) it expects to see demolished.

    Maybe I have an irrational streak but it makes me angry to think of a country which enforces laws against anti-Jewish discrimination in selling homes on its own soil trying to make parts of our ancient homeland Judenfrei (or Judenrein).

    In just this same vein, Tony Blair’s people seem to have slipped some language of their own into his otherwise sensible speech:

    “However, there was one cause which, the world over, unites Islam, one issue that even the most westernised Muslims find unjust and, perhaps worse, humiliating: Palestine. Here a moderate leadership was squeezed between its own inability to control the radical elements and the political stagnation of the peace process. When Prime Minister Sharon took the brave step of disengagement from Gaza, it could have been and should have been the opportunity to re-start the process. But the squeeze was too great and as ever because these processes never stay still, instead of moving forward, it fell back. Hamas won the election. Even then, had moderate elements in Hamas been able to show progress, the situation might have been saved. But they couldn’t.

    “So the opportunity passed to Reactionary Islam and they seized it: first in Gaza, then in Lebanon.”

    “Moderate leadership”? “Moderate elements in Hamas”?! The main problem with the moderates in the “Palestinian” leadership—Jeffersonian democrats and agrarian reformers all, with no further territorial demands in Europe—is that, unfortunately, they are non-existent, which, you have to admit, is a considerable liability for any political class.

    I wish I could remember which writer it was who years ago referred to the fundamental distinction then being made between moderate Arab revolutionary terrorists like Yassir Arafat y”sh and radical Arab revolutionary terrorists like Abbu Niddal y”sh.

    It seems that Hamas’ tayna (claim) against the PLO “moderates” was that the Oslo piece-by-piece process, the ultimate Trojan Horse, was already giving too much recognition and legitimacy to the Zionist entity. This is political Islam for the Me Generation: “I want all of Palestine and I want it now.”

    I would like to be dan l’chof zechus (give the benefit of the doubt) here and assume that Blair is just being a knave and not a fool. But Blair’s language here is consistent with what he has been saying since the invasion of Iraq, that Israel will have to be made the whipping boy for the audacity the US and UK showed in defending their own existence over the outraged cries of the Guardian and the average Pakistani man in the street (of Whitechapel).

    (How’s this for glory? Soon after rushing to write the above words I continued reading Blair’s speech and came across the following:

    “I want to explain why I think this issue [“re-energising” the MEPP] is so utterly fundamental to all we are trying to do. I know it can be very irritating for Israel to be told that this issue is of cardinal importance, as if it is on their shoulders that the weight of the troubles of the region should always fall. I know also their fear that in our anxiety for wider reasons to secure a settlement, we sacrifice the vital interests of Israel.

    “Let me make it clear. I would never put Israel’s security at risk.
    Instead I want, what we all now acknowledge we need: a two state solution. The Palestinian State must be independent, viable but also democratic and not threaten Israel’s safety.

    “This is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want.”

    The majority of “Palestinians,” the people who just voted to put Hamas into power, want a state which does not threaten Israel’s safety?! Mr. Blair, “there you go again.”)

    Reading these words, like reading about Olmert’s reported approval for having the Wehrmacht (sorry, Bundeswehr) on the Israeli border, reminds me of a talk by Rabbi Motti Berger not long after September 11 in which he pointed out that Gog, King of Magog, is not necessarily such a bad guy. In Sefer Yechzkel 38:4, the prophet is told to tell Gog: “I shall lead you astray and I shall affix hooks to your cheeks and lead you out with all your army, horses, and rider…” Said Motti Berger, when the time comes, George Bush or whoever may not want to do anything but will be forced by circumstances (no doubt quite desperate) to come against Yerushalayim at the head of the last great coalition.

    A final irony. Bush and Blair have had two primary foreign policy goals: to prevent radical Islamic homicidal-suicidal terrorists from having a country or safe haven of their own anywhere in the world, and to give radical Islamic homicidal-suicidal terrorists an independent state of their own in the heart of the Middle East.

    (BTW Rabbi Rosenblum or Rabbi Adlerstein, what does the excerpt from the Zohar say? I’m afraid I don’t understand Targum Lashon so well, and I left my ArtScroll Zohar in Big Bear.)

    Dovid Himelson

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Whatever contradictions exist in US policy are being pushed forward by the President and his Secretary of State jointly. He is 100% responsible for the actions of his cabinet officers.

    Somebody please explain what is gained today by the US holding up expanded Israeli miltary activity, and what is gained by Israel’s acquiescence. I imagine that Prime Minister Olmert sits pining for an encouraging word from Mommy, while the moment calls him to lead like a man. Exactly which foreign diplomats and foreign armies does he expect to end the misery of his failure?

  7. Bob Miller says:

    I also want to address the idea that we have heard at various times in various contexts, that the US had given Israel the \”green light\” to do a bold campaign, but Israel then pulled its punches. I think some of this talk is disinformation, and that multiple lights (\”red\”, \”yellow\”, and \”green\”) can beam out of Washington at the same time, some of these lights being decoys for the public. This is not to excuse PM Olmert, but to clarify his situation.

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