Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will America Lose Its Soul If It Abandons Israel?

Dennis Prager asks the question:

Most observers, right or left, pro-Israel or anti-Israel, would agree that Israeli-American relations are the worst they have been in memory. Among the many indications is that only 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think Pres. Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken during the last week of March on behalf of the Jerusalem Post. Given how much Israelis love and admire (and emigrate to) America, this level of mistrust is remarkable.

Commentators on the left blame Israel, of course. For them, this is a no-brainer; blaming Israel is as natural as breathing. Furthermore, Israel is headed by a conservative prime minister and America is led by the most left-wing president in its history.

Meanwhile, commentators on the right are virtually unanimous in supporting Israel. This is not simply an anti-Obama, pro-Netanyahu reflex, however. There are many reasons for it.

Prager lists a few reasons, such as our close strategic alliance and one, Israel supporting us in the UN that I think means absolutely nothing to a nation with a Security Council veto. But then he gets to the heart of things:

There is a fifth reason tens of millions of Americans, including many conservative commentators, support Israel and worry about America as American support for Israel wanes. To the Left in America and around the world, this reason is dangerous nonsense. But for a vast number of America’s Christians, for many Jews, and even many non-religious conservatives, it is deeper than any military or political reason. The reason is based on a verse in Genesis in which God, referring to the Jewish people, says to Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”

One need not be a Jew or Christian or even believe in God to appreciate that this verse is as accurate a prediction as humanity has ever been given by the ancient world. The Jewish people have suffered longer and more horribly than any other living people. But they are still around. Its historic enemies are all gone. Those that cursed the Jews were indeed cursed.

And those who blessed the Jews were indeed blessed. The most blessed country for over 200 years has been the United States. It has also been the most blessed place Jews have ever lived in. Is this a coincidence? Many of us think not.{..}

The converse is what worries tens of millions of Americans — the day America abandons Israel, America will begin its descent.

Israel shares America’s values such as liberty, an independent judiciary, a free press, freedom of religion, free speech, and women’s equality. The Arab and Muslim worlds have none of these. Those facts — and America’s Judeo-Christian roots — make support of Israel, no matter what the Arab and Muslim “street” feels about America — a moral linchpin of American foreign policy.

This administration’s desire to have America liked in the Arab and Muslim worlds necessarily means altering that linchpin. You cannot protect Israel and strive to be liked in the Arab and Muslim worlds at the same time. And you cannot weaken that protection without weakening America’s moral values, which form the basis of America’s greatness.

Is Dennis Prager correct?

Certainly,unlike Europe America has always blessed its Jews, and that relationship goes back to its earliest days and indeed went both ways. If not for the efforts of Haym Salomon, whose efforts during the American Revolution to raise funds to support Washington and his nascent colonial army extended even to bankrupting his personal fortune, it's unlikely that America would have survived long enough to win its independence. Certainly George Washington as President set the tone for America's relationship with its Jewish citizens in his famous reply to the Jews of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, promising his fellow citizens "of the Stock of Abraham" that the new American republic would give "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution not assistance."

It is also true that every nation that has turned on the Jews, no matter how powerful - Egypt,Babylon, The Seleucids, Rome, Hitler and a host of others - have seen their empires disappear, their power dissipated and destroyed.

But unlike Dennis Prager, I'm not at all worried about America abandoning Israel just because of the ascendancy of a disciple of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his assorted cohorts to the White House.

Aside from the religious reasons Prager mentions ( and I would probably have quoted the appropriate verses in Isaiah rather than Genesis) Americans are pro Israel by better than a two to one ratio because of what Israel is as well as its proven alliance with the US every time we needed them to come through for us.

We see in them a mirror of our earlier selves, a pioneer nation standing on its own two feet with values we recognize that created a homeland for themselves in a wilderness, who made the desert bloom and the barren hillsides flourish. We admire their stubborn willingness to defend what is theirs.

In spite of well funded efforts to demonize Israel, most Americans see them as an outpost of American values, an ally surrounded by our common enemies in th eWar on Jihad.

Barack Hussein Obama can strain those ties, but I doubt he will be able to break them unless the fundamental nature of the American people changes. And I don't see that spite of the busy efforts of the Left, including many severely confused Jews themselves.

Try as he might, I doubt Obama will convince the American people en masse that the Muslim world and their values are friendly to us and that Israel and the Jews are our enemies. The weight and path of history and of our traditions are simply against it.

Someone once asked me which side I would stand on in the event of a war between America and Israel. I simply told him that for that to happen, either America or Israel would have had to have changed so much that the choice would be self-evident to me.

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Anonymous said...

What makeyou think that if America turned on Israel, Jews in this country would be given a choice? Its a rhetorical question. By the time the US turned on Israel, they would be marching the Jews of America into gas chambers again. That is the truth that none fo us want to accept.

Freedom Fighter said...

Since I don't expect America to turn on Israel to that point (much less start sending Jews to the gas chambers..the American people are not Europeans and would not permit it), the question is obviously moot.

Anonymous said...

Problem is that sociologists said decades ago that the only thing that the disparate people of America have in their ethnic backgrounds, is anti-semitism. Not really a moot questin, if we want to make sure it doesn't ever happen. Vigilance is not just about freedom. Just food for thought.