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Israel Isn’t The Only Issue In This Election
Tue, 10/02/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week
Edith Everett
Edith Everett

When I read or hear comments expressing suspicion of President Obama’s motives regarding the security of Israel, sometimes by people I respect and admire, I’m incredulous. The phrase “brainwashed” comes to mind. An individual who is brainwashed clings to his/her beliefs irrespective of any contrary evidence. It’s a “my country, my leader, my people, right or wrong” view of the world. Blindly embracing these beliefs is usually perceived as loyalty. For these people it doesn’t matter that Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and billionaire businessman Chaim Saban, to name just a few devoted Israelis and friends of Israel, have publicly and unequivocally declared their admiration and support for the president. It doesn’t matter that President Obama’s record vis-à-vis the records of all is far superior; no amount of evidence can penetrate this anti-Obama wall.

These same critics fault the president for disrespecting Benjamin Netanyahu, but never acknowledge that the Israeli prime minister’s behavior toward the president has sometimes gone well beyond diplomatic bounds. Most recently, the prime minister felt free to publicly dictate to President Obama what American foreign policy should be regarding Iran, an issue that normally would be discussed behind closed doors. This is not how one treats one’s best, and maybe only, friend.

Unfortunately, any criticism of Bibi by our community is viewed by some as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Do the Palestinians really need to depend on Jewish detractors of the prime minister in order to build their case against Israel? It seems to me they have no shortage of serious issues.

As for the U.S. announcing “red lines” that Iran must not cross to avoid American military force, it makes no sense to do so. While it would be helpful to Bibi politically back home, it would be strategically and politically foolish for the president.

On pressing some of these critics as to why they bear this deep ill will, they point to a couple of things: President Obama hasn’t visited Israel (President Bush went only in his seventh year in office) and he also pressed for a cessation of settlement building (check prior presidents on that issue).

Even granting there have been some other missteps early on, these individuals focus exclusively on the occasional poor judgment by the president, but can’t acknowledge the much longer list of positive statements and significant concrete actions on behalf of Israel. When confronted with this information, they just hit the delete key. All the good deeds disappear. The source of this rigid mindset is perplexing.

I’m deeply disappointed by some of my coreligionists on the subject of the forthcoming presidential election. It goes beyond their attitude toward President Obama. Any American Jew who subscribes to the policies of the Democratic Party and can say they are “on the fence” simply because they aren’t sure which candidate would be better for Israel, in my opinion, should do some serious soul searching. That they are willing to sacrifice the future of the millions of fellow Americans who will be impacted by the outcome of the election, in one way or another, is disturbing. Some of the same thinking prevailed before the Bush election. The belief that President Bush would be good for Israel proved not to be the case. Not only did he do nothing to promote peace, but also his policies, domestic and foreign, have wrought havoc to the United States and the world. Many people before that election questioned how much damage could he do in four years; as long as he was good for Israel he was acceptable. Now they know. He plunged us into the Iraq war leaving thousands of American dead and tens of thousands in hospitals, their lives ruined.

We now see an Iran flexing its muscles, knowing that the United States is war-weary and short on resources. I don’t think I need to comment on our troubled economy or how we got here.

As a person devoted to Israel and deeply

concerned about its security, when it comes to elections, concern for Israel’s future is high on my list. But as

an American citizen, it can’t be the only thing.

Anyone who genuinely believes that Mitt Romney would be the better president of the United States should vote for him. As for the level of his concern for Israel, its safety and future, who knows what he thinks or how he would act once in office?

Of one thing I am certain: there won’t be a strong Israel without a strong America.

Edith Everett, a member of the board of directors of The Jewish Week, is a Jewish communal activist and philanthropist.

2012 election, Israel

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On October 23 of this year the following article appeared on the op-ed page of the NYTimes. I know that at this point most of the commentators here will pull the shutters down around their minds and mutter 'anti-semites". But there appeared an article titled "Who Threw Israel Under the Bus?" by Efraim Halevy, who was director of the Mossad from 1998 to 2002 and the national security adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, from October 2002 to June 2003. He submits that it was only under Republican administrations that Israel was "thrown under the bus". If you google 'EfraIim Halevy' you will find a link to the article.
As for the economy, the reality is that when the private sector shuts down the government HAS to step in. Obama inherited the bail out started by the Bush Administration but due to the visceral hatred of the Republicans, who would have rather destroyed the economy than negotiate with Obama the recovery has only been able to limp along.
Note: When Oboma was elected, there was a spike in gun purchases in America. There are elements in this country who are still traumatized by the successful slave revolt against the French in the early 1800s

Sorry naysayers, Ms. Everett wrote an excellent column.This election should not be a decision only based on Israel. As Americans, we need to look at all of the issues and decide accordingly. If Israel is higher on your list of concerns, so be it. Israel is high on my list of concerns, but there are other major concerns. I am not particularly in love with Obama, but I do think he has been a decent President when it comes to Israel. No one knows if Romney will be much better, or even a bit better toward Israel, and how this might be so. As a point of comparison, I believe Bush was also decent for Israel. I do believe that both rigid overly right leaning Republican policies, and rigid overly left leaning Democratic policies will not be good for America's economic future. "Liberal Jews" are just as mind-set disoriented as are "Conservative Jews". Finally, don't for one second believe that the economy was doing well when democrats took control of Congress in Jan. 2007; after all, the tip of the ice berg was already in view. Come back to the middle, as Ms. Everett has done. She is 100% correct: without a strong America, there won't exist a strong Israel.

Ms. Everett would help us all out if she would only share with us the basis of her insight the exact "...much longer list of positive statements and significant concrete actions on behalf of Israel.", she attributes to the president. Its obvious that Ms. Everett believes in the old adage, don'tg confuse me with the facts. She should stop with her the Democratic Party right or wrong.the president .

Second that - I feel bad for all liberal left wing Jews who are blind to what is happening with the Democrat Party. At the convention, there were more negatives for including Jerusalem in their platform. I guess liberal Jews truly do not care about Israel and their fellow Jews. These are the Jews that stayed in Egypt after the Jews were freed from Paraoh.
Ms. Everett, Israel should be number one on all Jewish minds. Without Israel, where would you go if you were being persecuted? If Iran - G-d Forbid- does produce a nuclear bomb,do you think the situation in the middle east will improve. Obama has done nothing and will do nothing about Iran getting a bomb. He is all talk and no action. But liberal Jews are brainwashed by him even though he hangs out with radicals such as rev Wright.
It is truly amazing that Liberal Jews do not get it - I truly question Jewish intelligence. Romney is more qualified and stronger.

I feel badly for Ms. Everett. First, her insinuation that voting for Romney against Obama is bad for the US is, well, based on what? The fact that Obama and the Democrats have destroyed the economy. Remember, the economy was doing well until the Dems, including Sen Obama, took over control of the Congress in Jan 2007. And who can, with a straight face, say that Obama's handling of the economy has been anything but a complete failure? As for Israel, while Bush was not as supportive of Likud as I think he should have been, Obama has been anti-Jewish Israel and, if you care to look, during Obama's term we have now seen Israel surrounded by islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood, who Obama and Hillary now openly support. Both candidates have their problems, but for the US economy and for US foreign policy, Romney is a vast improvement, and by the way, he will also stop the US campaign against Netahyahu and a Jewish Israel