Most people who read my blog know my attitude with respect to Israel and making peace with the Palestinians. In brief my view is that if one could make a legitimate peace with them, I would be in favor of major land compromises. If that would stop the bloodshed and the two peoples could live side by side in peace - I would favor it.
The reason I am opposed to making any concessions in land now is because I do not believe that Palestinian terror would end, no matter what promises were made by negotiators – even if they meant it. There are simply too many Palestinians who have no interest in compromise. That is fueled by an ingrained hatred of the Jewish people learned in earliest childhood and reinforced culturally throughout their lives. The hard line attitude of Islamists like Hamas precludes any possibility of trusting that kind of peace agreement.
In order for me to support any kind of peace negotiations, I would have to be convinced that they no longer teach Jew hatred, that they instead teach tolerance and even love of their Jewish neighbors. I would have to be completely convinced that all hostilities would end with a peace treaty. The fact is that the exact opposite is happening.
That said, I must say that I am a big fan of Newt Gingrich. That may shock a lot of people. My views on the Middle East look downright leftist compared to his. But that is precisely why I like him. And if he is the ultimate nominee of the Republican Party, I will heartily endorse him. Just because I am a realist doesn’t mean that I don’t have an ideal position as to what I think should be. And Newt reflects those views.
I've always liked Gingrich. I've always thought he would make a great President. But never in my wildest dreams did I think he would get any real traction. Especially when his own political staff quit on him early in his campaign. All political pundits – even among his friends predicted his demise early. I thought they were right. But they ... we ...were wrong. He is now the front runner! And it looks like it might stay that way.
He is definitely the smartest politician ‘in the room’ (including the President). I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. His latest comments on Palestinians - that they made up their 'nationality' and never existed as a people until after Israel became a state – are exactly right! The fallout of this statement among Arabs is debatable. I don't know if the impact will be positive or negative. But there is no doubt that it is the truth. And that is refreshing to hear.
Newt’s attitude about Israel is sorely needed to counter the negative approach President Obama has projected during his Presidency. Not that he is anti Israel. He is not. But he is definitely not a warm supporter either. His animosity to Prime Minister Netanyahu is clear. His denouncement of Israel’s settlements policy as an impediment to peace… has been cited by him and his surrogates time and again.
These are not the statements of a friend. He has not shown the slightest bit of warmth toward the Jewish state – not having visited her even once during his Presidency. This after visiting Arab countries almost immediately upon taking office. Yes, his support of Israel is (to use his phrase) ‘unbreakable’. Indeed under his administration there has been more co-operation between our two countries than under previous ones. But sometimes one’s public face on an issue can do more harm than any private level of support. That’s because Israel’s enemies capitalize on that to hurl even more trash at her.
To hear a serious candidate say what Gingrich has about Israel now in the face of all conventional wisdom on the subject is - as I said - refreshing. And he did not back off during the debate last night. It is a truth seldom heard even amongst Israel's closest friends on Capital Hill or the White House. If he does end up being the nominee, I can't wait for a debate between Gingrich and the President on this and on all other issues.
That said, I still don't think Gingrich can win. Too much baggage. Members of his own party are having trouble endorsing him. There will also be relentless references to his sexual indiscretions… and to his bullying and erratic style of governance when he was Speaker of the House.
The liberal media and his political opponents will be relentless. And of not little significance are the TV comics who are going to make mince meat out of him... Saturday Night Live leading the way with ugly and scathing characterizations. He will become a laughing stock to young and impressionable 'hip' voters that are so easily led by the political satire of liberal comedians.
A word about his immoral past. Yes, character matters. We ought to be voting for people who have it. Obama does. He has lived family values throughout his marriage. By all accounts he is a model husband and father. Gingrich has not lived those values. And his ethics have been called into question resulting in an official reprimand by the House of Representatives.
So yes, those things bother me. But we are not voting for Gadol Hador. We are not even voting for Chief Rabbi. We are voting for a President. This country needs someone who can take us forward on both the economy and foreign policy. All things considered - Gingrich is the right man at the right time for this job. He also claims to have done Teshuva and is now a changed man. I take him at his word. Barring anything unforeseen, I will vote for him if he's the nominee. And I will endorse him. But I don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning.
On the other hand you never know. Stranger things have happened. Remember Nixon? His chances of winning were even less than Gingrich’s. Anything is possible.
The voting public that elected Obama is disillusioned with him. But if Gingrich is his opponent they may vote for Obama anyway.
We'll see how all this pans out. It's early