Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God Bless America

When the President made his momentous comments few days ago about Israel needing to return to the pre 67 lines - it raised a firestorm of protest among Israel’s supporters. Nonetheless I said at the time that I did not think that what he said was such a big deal and that there were actually some positive things in his speech. I still feel that way.

That said I am very gratified for the strong reaction against it by many of his mainstream political opponents. For example the one in this link. A typical comment I heard was that the President just threw Israel under the bus.

Even members of his own party - while defending him - seemed to be doing so in a rather lukewarm way – questioning why he would bring it up now at a time where there is virtually no chance of forging a peace deal with Palestinians- given their reconciliation with a terrorist Hamas determined to destroy the Jewish State.

Another plus was the media reaction. They are usually fawning with praise over whatever the President says about Israel. They have the typical liberal attitude that it’s all Israel’s fault that there is no progress on peace. But here they seem to have taken a much more restrained if not critical view of the President’s statements.

This is not to say that there was no criticism at all surrounding this event. There was some partisan criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reaction to it by lecturing the President during a photo op. Some Democrats felt he demeaned the President by giving him a history lesson in public like that. I believe even members of the the Prime Minister’s own Israeli delegation felt that way.

But I never expected what followed.

Yesterday, Mr. Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress. It was packed. He received over 24 standing ovations (see photo). After the address there was a news conference where he was joined by leaders of both parties. They were virtually tripping all over themselves with praise for the speech. To the best of my knowledge there was not one negative comment made by a single member of congress. It was almost as though congress wanted to purposely repudiate the President by their reaction to the Prime Minister.

I would therefore like to thank the President of the United States for that. Had he not made his earlier comments, I wonder if Prime Minister Netanyahu would have gotten the reception he did. I’m sure he would have been well received. Congress as a whole is very pro Israel. But... over 24 standing ovations? …and the post address news conference where members of congress (both parties) were all over him with lavish praise? Not likely.

Nor is it likely that their motives were political. The less than 2% of the vote that is Jewish is hardly worth bothering about. And even if it there are disproportional amounts of money donated by the Jewish people to political campaigns - it is still a relatively small percentage of the whole. Besides most Jews are liberal Democrats and their money goes to Democrats anyway.

I believe that the vast majority of congressional support for Israel is genuine and that it comes from both sides of the aisle.

As for the President – he has shown that he is truly a friend in ways he could not possibly have imagined. And he probably didn't imagine them when he made those comments in his speech last week.

I am the last one to claim to know the mind of God. But the United States of America is the most powerful nation in the world. I have to believe that there are theological reasons for that as much as there are natural ones. America is blessed. The Torah tells us multiple times that God blesses those who bless the Jewish people. Ken Yirbu.

Nations of the world (I include Muslim nations too): If you want to know how to treat the Jewish people, come to America. See how it’s done here. See how the American people’s elected representatives treat the Prime Minister of Israel. Know that your anti Israel attitudes are based on a long history of hatred of Jews that has been transmitted generationally.

If you too want to be blessed – end your anti Israel biases. Stop blaming every ill in the world on them. You never know. Some day God may bless you too.