Here's a great cartoon from Steve Kelly at the New Orleans Times-Picayune (download and enlarge for best viewing). The cartoon shows Obama saying of Imam Rauf, "I support the right of religious groups to build on their property..." In the next panel, Obama adds, "Sometimes," holding his "Freeze Settlements" edict while standing next to Israel's Netanyahu.
It's curious how many Jews will defend the imam's right and religious freedom to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero but these same Jews won't defend Israel if Israel decided to build a new synagogue and Jewish cultural center two blocks from the Temple Mount or the Machpela (our patriarchs' and matriarchs' tomb) in Hebron.
The cartoon highlights the extraordinary majority support that Israel -- even West Bank Israel -- has in the American heartland, a support verified by poll after poll. Where do Americans in the heartland get their information about Israel? From the media. Not your media, Times readers and Peter Beinart readers, not your media but their media, the American heartland media which doesn't get embarassed by Israel the way so many Jewish leftists and assimilationists do.
You might have heard rumors that Obama is in trouble, even among Democrats, for his bullying of Israel. Check out this cartoon from the overwhelmingly Democrat city of New Orleans.
Bourbon Street couldn't care less about J Street.
The American people are remarkable for their sense of fair play and rooting for the underdog, and they see the unfairness and double standards (as in this cartoon) imposed upon Israel from the president on down. Yes, Israel is the underdog in the United Nations, in the White House, in the State Department, in the Times editorials, up against overwhelming odds, money and political influence in the Arab world, in the Islamic world, in the academic world, and among those Jewish leftists so easily "embarrassed" by Israel.
Good ol' Americans aren't embarrassed by Israel, by its government, by its settlements, by its apartment houses in Jerusalem -- they admire Israel precisely for all of those.
Jews interested in assimilating into America -- and there's no better country to assimilate into --- might want to facilitate that quest by fighting against the double standards and delegitimization of Israel, by fighting for fairness and the Zionist underdogs the way that most Americans do. There's nothing more parochial, more inward, more self-referential, more Brandeis University Jews-against-Oren, more New York Review of Books kind of squeamish Jewish than being uncomfortable about Israel. Nothing is more conventional. Nothing is more predictable.
Now's the time to be less Jewish and more American. Be Bourbon Street, not J Street. Pick up the Times-Picayune, not just The New York Times. Expand your horizons and defend the Jewish State the way most Americans do.
The U.S. flag and the Israeli flag say the exact same thing -- "Don't Tread On Me."
Run that up the flagpole and see who salutes.
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