Saturday, April 17, 2010
What Do the Jews Think?
By Alan Caruba
The never-ending interest in what America’s Jews think about Barack Obama or Israel or anything else has always struck me as vastly disproportionate to their numbers.
American Jews are barely 2.2% of the U.S. population; numbering 6.4 million in 2008.
America, however, is home to 40% of the world’s population of Jews, about the same as Israel.
I suspect it has more to do with America’s Christian roots dating back to the beginning of the nation when the Mayflower Compact conceived of the pilgrim’s journey as one to build a new Jerusalem, a shining city on a hill.
The Internet ensures that tons of information flows into my office and among that tide are epistles from Israpundit.com. The latest was “An Open Letter to American Jews” and among its historic citations of Israel’s struggle to establish and maintain itself in the face of unremitting hostility was a very real concern about President Obama’s policies vis-à-vis Israel.
Jews are the world’s canaries in the coal mine. When bad things happen to Jews it portends bad things for the rest of the global population. Among the things most remembered from World War Two is the Holocaust that killed, not only six million Jews, but five million others in the Nazi concentration camps.
So taking note of what Israpundit, Ted Belman, is thinking these days reflects not just Israeli fears, but those of the U.S. Jews as well.
Belman cited an article in the Boston Globe about a February Gallup poll. Reporter Jeff Jacoby wrote that “support for Israel vs. the Palestinians has climbed to a stratospheric 85 percent among Republicans; the comparable figure for Democrats is an anemic 48 percent.”
This is significant if only because American Jews have mostly identified with the Democrat Party and supported its candidates. The real support for Israel, however, comes from Republicans.
There appears to be no support in the Obama White House.
The recent deliberately shabby treatment of Israel’s Prime Minister by President Obama was intended to be seen by the world and especially by Israel’s enemies as a change from all other previous administrations since the days of Truman, the first to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948.
Fully 333 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of State critical of the administration’s treatment of Israel. Jacoby noted that 91 Democrats—-more than a third of the entire Democrat caucus declined to sign. “Yet this is the party you are affiliated with,” said Belmen.
What do American Jews think of Israel’s situation? The 2010 annual survey of American Jewish opinion by the American Jewish Committee found that the vast majority, 94%, want the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in any agreement and 61% support an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Fully 75% believe that the goal of the Arabs is the destruction of Israel.
One can only hope that goal is not also shared by President Barack Hussein Obama.
Belman wrote, “I am not asking you to abandon the Democrat Party, nor am I asking you to abandon your liberal values. I am asking you to abandon Barack Obama who, I think you agree, has abandoned Israel. You may even agree that he has also abandoned America and even liberalism, as you understand it.”
Strong words, but these times call for strong words. On Tax Day, April 15, similar thoughts were spoken at Tea Party rallies across the nation.
Even former New York Mayor Ed Koch, writing in the Huffington Post on April 12, said, “I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama.”
What do the Jews think? They think that Obama has gone beyond a mere difference in policy with Israel. They think a man who sat in the Chicago church of an anti-America, anti-Semitic preacher of hate is letting Israel’s enemies know that he will do nothing to assist Israel if it finds itself under attack again.
What matters now is what all Americans think because his actions have consequences. Most surely, whatever President Obama says these days on any issue cannot be trusted.
© Alan Caruba, 2010