Who Says Jews are Smart?
YES, POGO, THE JEWS ARE THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE
Arab-Americans overwhelmingly support Senator Barack Obama for president. So do Jewish-Americans. One of these two groups either does not care much about the Arab-Israeli conflict and/or is stupid. My money is on the Jews.
American Jews care less and less about Israel. Over 50% of non-Orthodox Jews under 35 say they would not view the destruction of the State of Israel as a personal tragedy. Israel is not a popular cause on college campuses. Many Jewish students struggle against being identified with Israel, lest it complicate their social lives. In the under 35 cohort, only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.
Other Jews who still find it uncomfortable to disavow concern with Israel have convinced nevertheless themselves that it is in Israel’s best interests to be forced back to the 1949 armistice lines. A talkback to a recent Jerusalem Post piece of mine nicely captures the mindset.
Nathan Berkowicz writes: “What do you expect us Jews to do, hold the Palestinians hostage forever? Get your head out of the sand and wake up to the fact that we are going to have to hammer out a peace deal, a real peace deal, if for no other reason but to show ourselves that we are willing to humanely and fairly deal with a problem we created for ourselves.”
Berkowicz places the exclusive onus on Israel for the creation of the Palestinian problem – either by virtue of its creation or for having the effrontery to win in 1967. In addition, he blames Israel for the failure to achieve a “real peace deal.” The infamous “three No’s” of the Arab League in response to the Israeli offer to withdraw from the West Bank after the Six Day War played no role; ditto Arafat’s decision to return to open warfare and reject Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of well over 90% of the West Bank at Camp David. Finally, Berkowicz wants the Jews of Israel to demonstrate their humanity. He never mentions ensuring their own survival as a desideratum. So goes the “pro-Israel” case for Obama.
THOSE WHO SEE ISRAEL’S SALVATION in its being pushed back to its 1967 borders have good reason to eagerly anticipate an Obama presidency. Obama has described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a “sore, . . . infect[ing] all our foreign policy,” and placed return to the “peacemaking” of the Clinton years is at the top of his foreign policy agenda.
The express goal of that “peacemaking” will be an Israeli withdrawal to its 1967 “Auschwitz borders.” In a June interview with Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz, Obama said he can understand Israel’s desire for “’67 plus” in terms of security buffers, but Israel should consider whether it would be worth the cost in Palestinian antagonism.
The overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews dread a return to the Oslo process, which claimed 1,471 Israeli lives in terrorist attacks, without bringing peace any closer. Oslo made a fetish of process over actual peace, as a pattern of concrete Israeli concessions in return for recycled Palestinian promises took shape. Obama offers more of the same: “Israel’s government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart,” he says.
On security grounds alone, the vast majority of Israelis oppose further territorial withdrawal from the West Bank at present. Earlier withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza resulted in the creation of heavily armed Iranian proxies on Israel’s southern and northern borders. Israeli intelligence predicts that Hamas would quickly take over the West Bank as well in the event of an Israeli withdrawal. The near elimination of successful terror attacks from the West Bank since 2002 demonstrates that only Israeli troops and on the ground intelligence gathering capabilities can deter terrorism.
Oslo taught that peace cannot be imposed from the outside and has nothing to do with signed agreements. Only a bottom-up transformation of Palestian society would make peace possible, argues Natan Sharansky, and that transformation has never seemed so far away after the Hamas takeover of Gaza.
Even the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas recently declared a festive celebration in honor of the leader of the Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 Israelis were murdered. Demonization of Israel and Jews continues unabated in the official Palestinian media. No wonder three-quarters of Palestinians say that reconciliation with Israel is impossible in this generation, even after the signing of a peace agreement and creation of a Palestinian state.
The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is a nuclear Iran. By calling for direct American-Iranian negotiations, without offering anything new to the Europeans’ approach over the last five years of unconditional negotiations, Obama only grants Ahmadinejad more time and increased internal legitimacy. And by linking any sanctions to Chinese and Russian cooperation, he dooms those efforts from the start. Bottom line: an Obama presidency guarantees a nuclear Iran.
And all this leaves aside dozens of troubling Obama associations. For twenty years, he sat complacently in the church of a pastor – “my spiritual mentor” – who spewed contempt for whites, America, and Israel.
Virtually his whole public career has been closely intertwined with the unrepentant former Weatherman William Ayers.
Another member of Ayers’ Hyde Park circle was former PLO official and the current Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi, whom Obama credits with opening his eyes to the plight of Palestinians. He has been heavily funded by the virulently anti-Israel George Soros.
Obama has numerous ties to the Nation of Islam, in particular through Tony Rezko, the convicted, Syrian-born racketeer, who partly paid for Obama’s home.
Obama’s foreign policy advisors have included: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor and thirty-year critic of Israel; Samantha Powers, who has called for an end to aid to Israel and the introduction of American forces to protect the Palestinians; and Robert Malley, who has made a career of advancing, together with a former Arafat advisor, a revisionist account in which Israel was responsible for the breakdown of Camp David.
Even the Republicans touted for an Obama cabinet – Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar – have been among the handful of senators, sometimes the only ones, to consistently oppose sanctions against Iran, Syria, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Hagel laments the intimidation on Capitol Hill by the “Jewish lobby.”
No doubt the “pro-Israel” Obama supporters have good explanations of why none of these relationships are of concern. After all, why did G-d make Jews so smart if not to prove the emperor is fully-clothed.
This article appeared in the Mishpacha, 29 October, 2008.