Monday, March 23, 2015



American Jews are disappointed with Israel’s election? Tough luck

1.
This happens every time the Israeli electorate decides to elect a government that is right of center.
It happens every time an Israeli Prime Minister does something that does not bode well with the political affiliations of American Jews.
When Ariel Sharon was elected in 2002, The Guardian reported that “Sharon divides world’s Jews”. When PM Ehud Olmert visited President Bush in the White House in 2006, the Jewish Forward editorialized that “for American Jews, this was one visit by an Israeli prime minister that drove home the distance between the two great Jewish communities, not their closeness”.
Today, the electoral victory of Binyamin Netanyahu is igniting headlines and editorials with the same tone. Jews dislike the fact that he was elected, and they dislike his statements and actions. Once again, talk of “distance” is the talk of the Jewish town.
It is all a waste of precious time, and contributes nothing to having a fruitful dialogue between Jews.
American Jews and Israeli Jews are indeed different in many things, political affiliation and beliefs included. Both communities will be better off if they understand that, and accept that.
It was condescending and foolish for Israeli Jews to be disappointed with the decision of American Jews to vote for Barack Obama - twice!
It is no less condescending and foolish for American Jews to be disappointed with the decision of Israeli Jews to vote for Binyamin Netanyahu – four times!
2.
Take a look at some comments from and on the current state of bewilderment of American Jewry:
Thomas Friedman: “The biggest losers in all of this, besides all the Israelis who did not vote for Netanyahu, are American Jews and non-Jews who support Israel.”
Prof. Sam Heilman: “The results will only further the alienation of the majority of American Jewry from Israeli politics and values”.
Daniel Gordis: “That is going to make Israel an ever more complex cause for many American Jews”.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs: “the gap between Jews in the United States and Israel was ‘potentially widening’ and that it needed to be addressed with openness and transparency”.
Dana Milbank: “Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions on the eve of this week’s Israeli elections were so monstrous”.
You can find dozens of such responses from rabbis, activists, pundits, and just Jews. These are troubling responses, many of them hysterical in tone (Milbank), some vindictive (Beinart), quite a few rely on partial or unreliable information, some reflect the frustration of Israel’s leftists, the clear losers of the last round of elections. J Street – an organization that can only thrive if American Jews are frustrated with Israel – is having a conference this week, so we should expect many more such comments in the coming days.
The government is not yet formed, so there is reason to suspect that with every further move towards its formation another wave of sorrow will hit American shores (be warned: a Haredi Minister of Religious Affairs is coming. Be warned: a right winger is going to be Minister of Diaspora Affairs).
3.
Many of the critics have been focusing on two miserable statements made by Netanyahu as they express their anger. As I already wrote more than once, I agree that both statements, the one about a Palestinian State and the one about the Arab Israelis, were unnecessary.
But I also wrote that these statements serve as an excuse – and are not the reason – for the Obama administration’s decision to reexamine its relations with Israel’s government. And the same is true for many, if not most, of the hordes of Jewish American critics.
American friends and critics, at least be sincere about this: You are not angry with two unfortunate statements – you are angry because Netanyahu managed to squeeze yet another electoral victory. You were angry with him before the election. You wanted him gone. And Israelis didn’t really care.
4.
Some American Jews wrongly believe that they are helping the Israeli leftist camp by airing frustration and threatening to cut their ties to Israel; and some Israeli leftists rely on the support of American Jews without understanding that such support does not improve their political prospects within Israel. A couple of months ago I wrote an article in the New York Times about these faulty beliefs. It was headlined Who Killed the Israeli Left:
For many years, the “international community” was Israel’s left most significant ally. When Israelis were losing faith in the so-called peace process, a shrinking left found consolation in the continued support of liberal Europeans and Americans (Jewish Americans included).
And the less the left was able to convince fellow Israelis to adhere to its remedies, to free Palestinian prisoners or freeze settlements, the more it tended to find consolation in international support and to invite international intervention and pressure on Israel’s government.
And the more the left invited foreign pressure on Israel, the less legitimate its actions became in the eyes of non-leftist Israelis.
If American Jews want to have an impact and want to convince Israelis to do this or that, they can’t do it by demonstrating alienation. If Israeli leftists want to convince fellow Israelis to do this or that, they can’t do it by relying on Jews that demonstrate alienation.
5.
Rob Eshman wrote last week about American Jews and Israel’s election. His main point, one that other writers did not bother to talk much about, was worthy: If American Jews were stunned, it is because they do not really know Israel (by the same token – many Israelis who live in a bubble were stunned by the outcome of these elections). They are mostly familiar with "Israeli artists and entrepreneurs and models and writers and actors – many if not most of whom are in the minority who voted for the losing teams".
Eshman's conclusion was an implicit threat of “distancing”:
Bibi tacked hard right to win the Israeli election. If he keeps sailing in that direction, he’ll leave American Jewry on a distant shore, waving goodbye.
I find this conclusion curious because Eshman rightly explained in the same article that:
The fact that Netanyahu garnered 29 mandates against his opponent’s 24 was as shocking to the majority of American Jews as the fact that  Jewish Americans voted overwhelmingly – twice – for Barack Obama is to most Israelis.
These two sentences do not contradict one another. But Eshman would have to admit that a third sentence, one that was not included in his article, also does not contradict them:
American Jews tacked hard left and helped Obama win the American election. If they keep sailing in that direction, they will leave Israeli Jewry on a distant shore, waving goodbye.
In other words: why blame Israel and its decisions for the phenomenon of “distancing” when it is no less the fault of American Jewry? Why presuppose that it is the Israeli voters that need to change their outlook to win favor with American Jews - and not conclude that it is American Jews that need to change their outlook to win favor with Israeli Jews?
6.
The threat of “distancing from Israel” is based on two faulty pillars:
A. That politics is a main driver of connection and disconnection to Israel.
B. That Israel needs American Jews more than they need Israel.
If you accept these assumptions, you’d say that it is the Israeli voters that need to make sure that American Jews don’t view them with bewilderment (and even contempt). If you accept these assumptions, you’d say that Israel needs to change – not American Jewry.
I don’t accept these assumptions – because they are unproven and untrue.
Unproven – because, as we’ve seen in many studies in recent years, the political divide is not the main driver that determines the connection of Jews to Israel. Of course, this might change, but thus far it has not.
Untrue - because American Jews need the connection to Israel no less than Israel needs this connection.
7.
So where does all this leave us? We have four options to consider:
A. Israel changes. But Israelis don’t seem to want that, as the latest elections clearly proved. Their reading of Israel’s reality is just different from that of American Jews.
B. American Jews change. But I don’t think this is likely to happen. They seem pretty confident that their outlook on the realities of the world is superior to that of others.
C. No one changes, and the communities risk drifting apart.
D. No one changes and the communities agree that they disagree on some things – such as the question if it is reasonable to establish a Palestinian State at this point in time – and find common language and common goals in other things.
If options A and B are unrealistic, and option C is bad for everybody – Israel and American Jewry – then only one option is available: Option D.
8.
The stunning turnaround victory of Prime Minister Netanyahu made people highly elated or highly disappointed, it made them gloat and it made them mourn. It is normal for people – in Israel and in the US – to react in such a way to a stunning turnaround in the first days after an election. 
It is obvious that the disappointment is real, that the outrage is real. But when the dust settles, one would hope that everybody calms down. Netanyahu is not the devil (or a Dybbuk). Israelis are not that weird for electing him. Israel’s policies are not going to be much different tomorrow from what they are today – so there is no reason to raise the level of alarm above its pre-election level.
True, Israelis were not convinced that their problems will be solved if only Israel does what American Jews believe it should do. And that could be disappointing for Jewish Americans who love Israel and want it to change for the better. But deciding to quit the Jewish partnership and say goodbye is not really an option. Israel has no substitute for American Jews, and American Jews have no substitute for Israel.
Surely, to feel that you are stuck with someone with whom you so vehemently disagree can be a cause for frustration. Yet we are stuck together. Tough luck.


Phillip M Goldstein · Top CommenterWhy do people keep saying American Jews were disappointed by the election. The only ones upset where the whacked out self hating anti Semitic left wing Jews. who do not speak for all of us. In fact they are not even halachically Jewish. So what they say is of no significance other than using a Jewish name and embarrassing themselves and the rest of us. If they hate Israel in the Likud so much maybe they should shut there mouths. As my grandfather taught us con la boca cerada no entra mosquas which means with your mouth shut flies can not get in.


Howard Rutman · Top Commenter · Works at Self-EmployedPhillip You hit the nail on the head.. You are right on Cow towing to that Jew hater Obama. Why kiss his antisemetic ass. 
Here is an important speech on the Senate floor by senator Rubio. I wish every Jew could here this.. 
Very worth listening to. 
http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/senator-rubio-rips-obamas-historic-mistake-on-israel/?omhide=true&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Declares+Intent+to+%27Abandon+Israel+at+the+UN%27&utm_campaign=20150321_m124974900_3%2F21+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Declares+Intent+to+%27Abandon+Israel+at+the+UN%27&utm_term=rubio-obama_png_3F1426958728



Andrew Silow-Carroll · Top Commenter · Teaneck, New JerseyRosner quotes Daniel Gordis: “That is going to make Israel an ever more complex cause for many American Jews”. I think Gordis was merely being descriptive. It's not just that American Jews are feeling "distant" from Israel, but the argument for Israel becomes harder to make outside of the hard right and evangelical circles already predisposed to support her. In terms of getting bipartisan support for Israel, it is important to its advocates that it appear as a country in line with core American values on both sides of the aisle. American Jews don't have to convince Israeli politicians that we are their allies. But Israelis need to cultivate support among American conservatives and liberals. So while it may be a two-way street, the destinations are a lot different.



Ltc Howard · Top Commenter · MIlirary Officer at Add High SchoolI urge you to review a lot of president Obama's personal history. Start with the farewell dinner to Rashid Khalidi http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/10/nation/na-obamamideast10 the tapes, which were audio, feature the toast repeatedly both in English and Arabic “death to Israel”. Whether the president heard them or whether he participated or not cannot be determined from the tapes unless they're subjected to sophisticated forensic evaluation… However, the accounts of the toast come from multiple sources, have never been denied, and have never been refuted by Pres. Obama and/or by his aides. During the 1st several years of the Obama administration Rashid Khalidi was the most frequent visitor to the White House.
Further look at the start of his career. Valerie Jarrett plays a key role. She hired Michelle Obama to the Chicago Housing Authority which she headed. She hired Michelle Obama as a vice president of the University of Chicago hospitals at $300,000 a year , when Jarrett headed the Board of Directors. She organized the 1st fundraising events for his run at state legislature. She is currently president Obama's chief political adviser and confidant within the White House. She has held back channel negotiations/communications with the Iranian ruling group for years. 
Merrill Anthony "Tony" McPeak , a retired Air Force Chief of Staff was vice-chairman of Pres. Obama's 1st campaign for president.McPeak, is noted for his anti-Israel views. 
Another advisor, Robert Malley, was in the employ of the Palestinians. He was forced to withdraw as a public advisor from Obama's campaign. The Obama staff when he was hired swore to the Jewish community (who had opposed his appointment) that Malley would not be allowed near the Israeli-Palestinian issue. In the last several days he has been promoted and given command position at the White House on that very issue. 
Research Zbigniew Brzezinski. He has been a longtime advisor of Pres. Obama. Their relation begin at Columbia in 1981. He advocated shooting down IDF aircraft if the IDF attempted to attack Iran.
Read the candid statements made by Ali Abunimah concerning the confidences they shared relating to Obama's opinions relating to Israel. Obama's remarks to him are very similar to the remarks directed to Putin that that an open mike revealed: I can't talk freely now… but when I have fewer constraints you know how I feel and how I will act.

Avi Goldstein · Top Commenter · Yeshiva UniversityAmerican Jews, who do don't face our challenges in Israel have NO right to ask us to endanger ourselves and support their insane liberal views. If they don't like our election results, that's just too bad. They are Jews in name only, having converted to liberalism a long time ago.



Marshall Fuss · Top Commenter · Los Angeles, CaliforniaMr. Rosner's opinion piece is a skillful attempt to reduce a profound moral, ethical, legal and strategic disagreement to an American temper tantrum. But it is so much more than that.

Steve Sebaoun ·
Follow · Top Commenter · Classified Information at ADSyou mean the same Americans Jews who didn't lift a finger during the Holocaust??

Jack Rabens · Niles North High SchoolI, for one, am an American Jew extremely happy with the election results, and know many other who feel the same.

Charles Richman ·  Top Commenter · University of Virginia
In the March 2015 elections Israeli citizens clearly recalled 2005 when Israel withdrew its military from Gaza and closed all 19 Jewish Gush Katif settlements. Israel relinquishing Gush Katif was an act of appeasement that ensured the terrorist organization, Hamas, would be elected to lead the people of Gaza. It was a costly decision based a fantasy that withdrawal would reduce the burden on the IDF forces in the region and an assumed saving of funds. It had an opposite effect, and led to the election of a viscous group of terror merchants, Hamas, that bombarded Israel with thousands of missiles, the loss of far too many lives, and an added financial burden on the economy of Israel. Let me emphasize: The Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide; Hamas fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars into Israel from 2007 thru 2014; Hamas has consistently violated cease fire and humanitarian agreements; Hamas used human shields (Hamas Combat Manual) causing death far too many civilians; Israel and Egypt placed a blockade into Gaza after thousands rockets were fired from Gaza and more than 35 terror tunnels were discovered where Hamas murderers were stocking and using weapons and explosives to kill Israeli civilians. Israel did not close roads into Gaza that provided humanitarian aid, food, and water, to ensure that the people of Gaza had electricity; and Hamas used civilian residences, schools, Mosques, and at least three UN facilities to launch rockets into Israel. Note that Al-Aqsa TV Hamas Television Network on, 1 August 2014 announced, "You received the death you wanted, we are not like the children of Israel, who strive to stay alive, we yearn for death and Martyrdom”. 
Israelis elected Benyamin Netanyahu to the Prime Minister leadership position for the fourth time because the citizens of Israel chose security and reality.The reality of the need to protect Israeli citizens and the reality that tragedies like what occurred in Ma’alot, Kiryat Shmona, the Fogels in Itamar, etc., and the security of the De-Fence, the security of an extremely well-equipped, well-trained, dedicated IDF, IAF, INF, Mossad, Yamas, Shin Bet, etc. over appeasement and the fantasy that you can make peace with a cobra. This is also why PM Netanyahu sent the clear message to Congress and the citizens of the United States regarding the necessity of ensuring that Iran does not have the capability of constructing nuclear warheads that they have threatened to use against Israel and the United States and to distribute to their terrorist allies.
Am Yisroel Chai,
Charles L. Richman, PhD

In the March 2015 elections Israeli citizens clearly recalled 2005 when Israel withdrew its military from Gaza and closed all 19 Jewish Gush Katif settlements. Israel relinquishing Gush Katif was an act of appeasement that ensured the terrorist organization, Hamas, would be elected to lead the people of Gaza. It was a costly decision based a fantasy that withdrawal would reduce the burden on the IDF forces in the region and an assumed saving of funds. It had an opposite effect, and led to the election of a viscous group of terror merchants, Hamas, that bombarded Israel with thousands of missiles, the loss of far too many lives, and an added financial burden on the economy of Israel. Let me emphasize: The Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide; Hamas fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars into Israel from 2007 thru 2014; Hamas has consistently violated cease fire and humanitarian agreements; Hamas used human shields (Hamas Combat Manual) causing death far too many civilians; Israel and Egypt placed a blockade into Gaza after thousands rockets were fired from Gaza and more than 35 terror tunnels were discovered where Hamas murderers were stocking and using weapons and explosives to kill Israeli civilians. Israel did not close roads into Gaza that provided humanitarian aid, food, and water, to ensure that the people of Gaza had electricity; and Hamas used civilian residences, schools, Mosques, and at least three UN facilities to launch rockets into Israel. Note that Al-Aqsa TV Hamas Television Network on, 1 August 2014 announced, "You received the death you wanted, we are not like the children of Israel, who strive to stay alive, we yearn for death and Martyrdom”. 
Israelis elected Benyamin Netanyahu to the Prime Minister leadership position for the fourth time because the citizens of Israel chose security and reality.The reality of the need to protect Israeli citizens and the reality that tragedies like what occurred in Ma’alot, Kiryat Shmona, the Fogels in Itamar, etc., and the security of the De-Fence, the security of an extremely well-equipped, well-trained, dedicated IDF, IAF, INF, Mossad, Yamas, Shin Bet, etc. over appeasement and the fantasy that you can make peace with a cobra. This is also why PM Netanyahu sent the clear message to Congress and the citizens of the United States regarding the necessity of ensuring that Iran does not have the capability of constructing nuclear warheads that they have threatened to use against Israel and the United States and to distribute to their terrorist allies.
Am Yisroel Chai,
Charles L. Richman, PhD




Howard Rutman · Top Commenter · Works at Self-EmployedEvery Jew needs to hear Senator Rubios address on the senate floor
"Obama's Historic Lack of Knowledge and Mistakes made Visa Vi Israel" 
http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/senator-rubio-rips-obamas-historic-mistake-on-israel/?omhide=true&utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Declares+Intent+to+%27Abandon+Israel+at+the+UN%27&utm_campaign=20150321_m124974900_3%2F21+Breaking+News+Video%3A+Obama+Declares+Intent+to+%27Abandon+Israel+at+the+UN%27&utm_term=rubio-obama_png_3F1426958728






Stuart J. WeissI was elated and relieved. And yet, it is up to the Israeli people, and not me on the US right or US Obama lovers on the left who get to choose Israel's leaders.
The people of Israel have spoken. Embrace it . . . Or at least get over it. They'll be safer than they'd ever be under Obama's chosen.


Morton Friedman · Top Commenter · George Washington UniversityI too was disappointed, I was hoping that Bibi would receive 50 mandates, and not require any coalition.
As for a two-state solution, Sharon tried that. Gaza was a beginning, and he even made it Judenrein, forcibly using the IDF. Gaza was left with a thriving infrastructure, and an economy that was growing. The arabs destroyed that infrastructure, and sibce Judenrein was not 'adequate', they even made it Christianrein and promulgated internecine violence between arabs. Gaza is a de facto 'Palestinian' state, it cannot even have peaceful relations with a neighboring Islamic state by its own choice.
If there is any doubt. I am NOT an Israeli, but its health and security is essential to jews everywhere in the world. Wish I could say the same for the jews living in the USA.