The Iranian nuclear threat is not about Barack Obama’s self-image, real or imagined.
Going through some old bookmarks I never wrote about, I found Israel’s Fair-Weather Fans, an August 7, 2014, NY Times Op-Ed by Shmuel Rosner. The column is a rebuttal to liberal Jewish American critics worrying about the alienation of liberal American Jews from Israel.
It seems relevant today, as some Democrats put Barack Obama’s alleged hurt feelings ahead of the legitimate security concerns of our friends, from Israel to the Gulf Arab states, over Iranian nuclear and regional ambitions:
Two prominent black Democrats in the House of Representatives are vowing to skip Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month, a move that a White House insider says was put in motion by the Obama administration.
John Lewis of Georgia and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina both said Friday that they disapproved when House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli leader to address a joint session of Congress on March 3 without consulting President Barack Obama first.
That disapproval apparently was orchestrated, or at least strongly encouraged, by the White House through comamunications with lawmakers connected to the Congressional Black Caucus.
‘I’m not saying the president called anyone personally,’ a current White House staffer told Daily Mail Online.
‘But yeah, the White House sent a message to some at the CBC that they should suddenly be very upset about the speech.’
From Rosner’s column:
The Israeli song “Ein Li Eretz Acheret” is a curious tune. “I have no other country,” go the lyrics, “even if my land is on fire.”
It’s hard to find a Jewish Israeli who doesn’t identify with it. Lefty Israelis interpret it as a protest song. It was sung at demonstrations against the 1982 Lebanon War and vigils following the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Israelis on the right interpret it as a patriotic song about attachment to the land; they sang it after terrorist attacks and during the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
I was reminded of the song in recent days as I read a string of articles by smart, savvy, knowledgeable, non-Israeli Jews, who say that the brutal war in Gaza has made them question their Zionism.
What unites these writers, of course, is that all of them do have another country. And that’s why, when push comes to shove, the Israeli government doesn’t — and shouldn’t — listen to them….
Clearly, these critics of Israel’s behavior believe that Israelis themselves would be safer if the country adopted their prescribed liberal policies. That might be true, but it makes no difference.
On matters of life and death, war and peace, Israelis are going to make their own decisions. If they lose the support of some liberal Jews over it, that would be regrettable, but so be it.
Israel will have to learn to survive without that support, and I’m certain it will.
Here’s one version of the song Rosner references, prepared in 2007 on the tail end of the bloody 2nd Intifada.
Keep the images in mind every time you hear fair-weather friends of Israel complain about Israel’s security barrier and military operations, which helped put an end to suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Israel endured, and still endures, withering criticism from its “friends” over the barrier and military operations.
Now imagine what would happen if Iran went nuclear.
This is not a game. It’s not politics. It’s not about Barack Obama’s self-image, real or imagined.
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