Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Am Yisroel Chai

National Security Adviser, Susan Rice seen here with PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Today is the first day of Av, the month when Jews commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples. It’s a reminder that the Jewish people have endured much worse than rockets and survived much stronger enemies than Hamas. You have been tested by tragedy and time, by history and hatred. But each time, am yisrael chai: the people of Israel live.
As if on cue to my critical comments yesterday about Europe - come similar comments by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice. The above words were among the opening remarks made yesterday in her address to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. If anyone has the slightest doubt about America’s commitment to Israel, they should read her remarks in their entirely. They are available at Cross Currents.

This is one reason (of many) that makes the United States different than all other countries - past and present. The term Esav Sonei L’Yaakov does not apply to vast majority of Americans and certainly not to the Obama administration.

This is why I think Jews all over the world should consider making either Israel or the US their home. Israel for obvious reasons. But if one is unable to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel) for any reason, there is no better place in the world for the Jewish people than the USA. What Ms. Rice revealed about current US attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people was more than encouraging. 

The contrast between America and Europe should not go unnoticed. With all the lip service about Europe no longer being hostile to the Jews and even welcoming to us, their true intentions can be seen in places like the UN. The US recognizes this and stands up for Israel every time the rest of the world dumps on her.  Here is how Ms. Rice put it: 
I saw this firsthand during my years at the United Nations, where America always has Israel’s back when its basic right of self-defense is challenged. Believe me, I remember all too well the fight against the deeply flawed Goldstone Report. So, last week, when the United Nations Human Rights Council again passed a one-sided resolution calling for a commission of inquiry that will have no positive impact and should never have been created– the United States stood with Israel and said “no.” We were the lone vote in the Human Rights Council. Even our closest friends on the Council abstained. It was 29-1. But the “1”, as usual, was America… 
We take that stand on principle. It’s important not just for Israel, but for the credibility of the United Nations itself…  So when countries single out Israel for unfair treatment at the UN, it isn’t just a problem for Israel. It’s a problem for all of us. 
Here is what she said about the increase of Antisemitism in the world: 
(T)oday, we also see anti-Semitism flaring up around the world, including in Europe. The pretext is the passions coming out of the current conflict, but we all know it has its roots in something ancient and ugly—and we should not shy away from calling it by its name. 
It’s one thing to use the right of free expression to criticize particular policies of a particular government. No nation is immune from criticism, fair and otherwise, including our own—take it from me as a former UN ambassador. But an anti-Jewish riot is not a policy critique. It’s not free expression when a protest turns into a mob that attacks a synagogue and a kosher grocery store. It’s one thing when the message is “end the fighting,” but when the message is “Death to the Jews,” it’s an outrage. 
And it’s dangerous when the mayor of a major city takes to Twitter to invoke Hitler and incite hostility against the Israeli Embassy, which he called “the despicable murderers’ consulate.” That’s just hate, and it’s got to stop. As the late Tom Lantos used to say, “the veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.” 
These words come from an administration that some perceive to be less supportive of the Jewish state than previous administrations.  This criticism is in my view grossly unfair and even false. While there may have been some policy differences between the US and Israel, those disagreements were in my view not intended to harm Israel, but to help her. So even when we disagree, let us not ascribe nefarious motives where they do not belong.

The President’s strong commitment to Israel is why he has supported Iron Dome… and continues to support it. More from Ms. Rice: 
As we pursue diplomacy, we are grateful that the amazing Iron Dome anti-rocket system – researched and funded jointly by Israel and America – stands watch over Israel’s cities
During my most recent visit to Israel in May, I saw first-hand the technology at Palmachim Air Force Base. I met the young Israelis who operate the system—dedicated men and women now working around the clock. In recent weeks, on average, over 100 rockets a day have been fired at Israel. Iron Dome has literally meant the difference between life and death. And I’m deeply proud that President Obama helped make it possible. And, I’m proud that – with his enthusiastic support—the United States will more than double our investment in Iron Dome. 
The President also instructed the Secretary of Defense to inform Congress last week that we support an additional $225 million to accelerate the production of Iron Dome components in Israel this year and maintain Israel’s stockpile of interceptor missiles. Now, Congress has a critical opportunity this week to fund the President’s supplemental request, so that Israel can remain secure.
Iron Dome makes it clear yet again: America has Israel’s back. We have always had a truly special relationship—ever since President Truman made America the first nation in the world to recognize the State of Israel in May 1948, just 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence. The seeds of friendship planted that day have grown into a mighty oak– strong, sturdy, and enduring. 
Our governments have never been in closer touch, including through the delegation of senior officials from the Departments of State, Treasury, and Defense, and the CIA that I led to Israel, on behalf of the President, in May. We are in constant contact, constant consultation, constant cooperation. And by the way, that’s why I was late getting here—I was on the phone in the basement with my Israeli counterpart. So it is constant, it is daily and it is highly constructive. 
Our commitment to protect Israel’s qualitative military edge remains absolute. Just ask Israel’s generals. Our security assistance to Israel is at a record high. 
This is an amazing speech and should quiet down the criticism (often virulent) of President Obama. As Ms. Rice said, no country (or individual) is immune to criticism, including the President. But anyone who says that the President is an Anti-Semite… or anti Israel… or committed enough...simply doesn’t care - is a complete fool. I have never been so proud to be an American. God Bless the United States of America.