The Jewish rebellion against Barack Obama

Former NY Mayor Ed Koch

Former NY Mayor Ed Koch

Shmuel Rosner asks,

What’s with all those new “Jewish ads” against Obama?

I understand the frustration with Obama, but can’t quite see the logic behind the ads. It only raises the stakes and makes Obama less prone let Netanyahu off the hook. An American President can’t lose an internal battle to a foreign leader – and the ads (Lauder, Wiesel) makes this an internal battle.

In addition to the Lauder and Wiesel advertisements, we should include this article by Ed Koch, former New York Mayor. Koch is important because he is a Democrat who strongly supported Obama in 2008; Lauder is a Republican who has been reported to be a possible challenger to NY Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, while Wiesel’s public persona is apolitical.

So why have high-profile Jews of various political stripes found it necessary to take Obama to task over Mideast policy?

It’s Obama who started the latter day Jewish Wars when he empowered his own personal Jewish Lobby, J Street. Invited to the White House while “right-wing” groups like the Zionist Organization of America were dis-invited, J (Judenrat) Street pumps out propaganda in the form of misleading polls and press releases whose purpose is to give the impression that most American Jews are behind Obama and his policies — especially including his anti-Zionist stance.

The intent is to bolster support for his position among non-Jews — who, after all, are 98% of the population — who reason that if even Jews support Obama’s efforts to forcibly create a Palestinian state, reestablish 1949 borders and divide Jerusalem, then it must be the best thing for the region as a whole, including Israel.

At the same time, the administration has begun to hit below the belt, leaking implications of dual loyalty among Jewish supporters of Israel — or even Jews who argue for fair treatment of Israel — as well as suggestions that American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are endangered because of Israeli intransigence!

So I think that what’s happened is that Jews like Lauder, Wiesel and Koch are beginning to feel that the moral obligation to stand up for the state of the Jewish People overrides the possible dangers. Who wants to be remembered in history like those Jewish leaders who supported Roosevelt’s inaction toward the Holocaust or opposed Truman’s recognition of Israel? In the words of Ed Koch,

What bothers me most of all is the shameful silence and lack of action by community leaders — Jew and Christian. Where are they? If this were a civil rights matter, the Jews would be in the mall in Washington protesting with and on behalf of our fellow American citizens. I asked one prominent Jewish leader why no one is preparing a march on Washington similar to the one in 1963 at which I was present and Martin Luther King’s memorable speech was given? His reply was “Fifty people might come.” Remember the 1930s? Few stood up. They were silent. Remember the most insightful statement of one of our greatest teachers, Rabbi Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Rosner naturally sees it from an Israeli point of view, simply as a conflict between Netanyahu and Obama. But Obama apparently wanted a fight with American Jewry as well, and now he has one.

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3 Responses to “The Jewish rebellion against Barack Obama”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    There are a number of public relations replies to the criticism from prominent Jews. General Jones made a strong statement about Israel’s strategic importance to the U.S. President Obama sent a letter to Alan Solow saying his views are being misrepresented, and nothing will drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel. I do not discount these statements. But what is more important is what is done on the ground. Bibi said ‘no’ on halting building in Jerusalem but in fact there is a freeze in place. He also offered more concessions including a withdrawal of troops in Judea and Samaria. In other words Obama again negotiated for the Palestinians and received Israeli concessions. I do not see this as positive , but I do not know if Prime Minister Netanyahu could have drawn a line in the sand at this point.
    The whole way things are being done signals unfair one- sidedness.

  2. Robman says:

    It is even worse than that, Shalom.

    It is not only one-sidedness. That actually would not be as bad, if it were out in the open, where it could be attacked directly in the court of pubic opinion.

    It is one-sidedness in fact, cloaked by a deliberate disinformation campaign of outright lies.

    Obama’s people (e.g., Jones) are learning from the master himself (Obama).

    What he has always done is speak in groundless platitudes.

    It is easy, it costs nothing, to say “We stand by Israel”, etc.

    That is not a concrete policy statement.

    A concrete policy, by contrast is something like…a bilateral defense treaty with Israel (which was recommended by the recently departed Al Haig, who was forced to resign from the Reagan cabinet when he had the temerity to suggest that Israel was justfied for her actions in the 1982 Lebanon war).

    A concrete policy is one that says, “We will not pressure, and we don’t expect Israel to negotiate with parties who refuse to even recognize her right to exist”. Now, THAT would have policy consequences.

    But to simply say, “Our alliance with Israel is a strategic asset”, or “No one will drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel”…well, that’s nice. But what is the actual policy? Heck that latter sentence should include parenthetically at the end: “…because we are driving a wedge between ourselves and Israel just fine by ourselves, we don’t need help from anyone else.”

    One has to be able to separate the platitudes from the policies. Until one learns to do that, Lucy will snap the football away and Charlie Brown will fall on his ass every time.

  3. Shalom Freedman says:

    I agree with Robman in regard to the empty declarations. This morning there is more news about Israeli concessions. Supposedly according to ‘Haaretz’ the Prime Minister has agreed to a Palestinian state with no agreed- upon borders. All he asks is a putting off of the Jerusalem issue until last. This sounds like the Oslo formula again of buying time by making major concessions which will greatly worsen the situation. Meanwhile the Americans are training Palestinian soldiers, connecting more closely with Syria, still covering up for Saudi Arabia, doing nothing substantial about Iran, spinning their friendship to Israel while continuing to put pressure on it.