When it came to protecting the right of the Libyan Ambassador to
the UN living immediately next door to me in Englewood, my Democratic
Congressman, Steve Rothman, found his voice, issuing a three page press
release about a deal he had brokered with the State Department 27 years
ago for the Libyans to bizarrely remain in a New Jersey suburb. But when
I asked Rothman, who is Jewish, to give me a comment on Obama’s
degrading treatment of Israel’s elected officials and the
Administration’s opposition to Jews building in all parts of Jerusalem,
his Chief of Staff sent me an email that said the Congressman was “away
for the holidays so we won’t be able to provide you with a statement.”
like these on the part of influential Jewish members of the American
establishment explain why Obama has been allowed to get away with his
appalling treatment of Israel. Yes, it is we Jews who allow it, afraid
to take a stand against a President who is rapidly emerging as the new
Don’t think Obama isn’t listening.
When it came to endorsing a recent Congressional vote to label the
Turks’ slaughter of over one million Armenians during the first World
War a genocide, Obama quickly broke a campaign pledge, and a moral duty,
to do just that and publicly distanced himself from the term genocide
in order not to offend the Turkish government. And when it came to
hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House, the President of the world’s
sole superpower quickly bowed to Chinese bullying, not only refusing to
greet the great humanitarian publicly but sending him out through the
service entrance of the White House where the Dalai Lama was
photographed surrounded by giant bags of garbage. But when it comes to
treating America’s most reliable ally like a pariah nation, Obama has no
fear of the American Jewish community because he’s convinced there will
be no price to pay. The Jews are too timid to react.
How sad that we Jews have become so politically pathetic. Although
there were grave suspicions about Obama’s position on Israel before the
campaign, greatly compounded by his having sat through 20 years of
vitriol toward Israel from his own pastor, American Jewry gave Obama the
benefit of the doubt. Nearly eighty percent of American Jews voted for
him against a proven friend of Israel in John McCain. But fool me once,
shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Amid the Jewish propensity to
blindly pull the Democrat lever in every vote without even thinking, if
Obama gets anything more than twenty percent of the Jewish vote in 2012
it will be a manifestation of a community which simply doesn’t know how
to stand up for its itself and has contempt for its own interests.
And spare me the lectures on dual loyalty. If there is one thing the
American people have learned it’s that the Israeli people are their
canaries in the coalmine. Attacks that Israelis experience first just
presage what Americans will later face. Why? Because the Islamic nations
hate Israel for the same reason they hate America. Israel is a bastion
of freedom in a region of tyranny. The Mullahs are religious, the Arab
dictators mostly secular. But what they share in common is an absolute
desire to rule absolutely. They hate Israel and America for its
freedoms. They know that elections will knock them out of power and,
like Saddam, they would face trial for crimes against humanity.
Ahmedenijad hates his own people even more than he hates Israel,
brutalizing and slaughtering them in the streets whenever they stand up
for themselves. The last thing the House of Saud wants is democracy,
preferring to plunder their country’s oil wealth and concentrate it in
the hands of princes of the blood all of whom live like kings. The same
hatred of liberty is harbored by all the other Arab potentates who have
oppressed their people for decades, from Mubarak who has been in power
for three decades, to Kaddafi and the Assads who have stolen power for
The same is true of Israel’s policies of human rights. Israel is the
only country in the Middle East where gays can march openly. Any attempt
to do so in Riyadh would end with the marchers all being decapitated.
Of course, we don’t have to worry about that in Iran since Ahmedenijad
assured us in his lecture at Columbia that Iran has no homosexuals.
And this applies even more importantly in the area of women’s rights.
Israel is the Middle East’s greatest champion of women’s rights, with
women enjoying all the freedoms of men. But the Islamic countries do
everything in their power to oppress women, afraid of the possible
corruption women would bring if they showed an ankle or drove a car.
Rather than pressuring Jews not to build condos in Jerusalem, Obama
ought to pressure the Arabs to liberalize and democratize. He ought to
use his considerable eloquence to state the obvious truth. That until
such time as the Arabs allow their citizens to be free, there will never
be peace in the Middle East. Israel is the solution rather than the
problem. The more Arab countries emulate its market economy and liberal
democracy, the more our oppressed Islamic brothers and sisters will
prosper. They will not need scapegoats, like Jews, to vent their
understandable frustration at their wretched, impoverished lives, all
brought about by clerics and dictators whose steal their money and their
According to many estimates, Muammar Kaddafi is the richest man in
the world, with a net worth of over $70 billion. That a thief and a
murderer of that magnitude is allowed to own a tax-free mansion next
door to me where we, honest and hard working Americans, pay for his
police protection and trash removal, is a travesty of truth and justice.
When American Jews stand up to the lie that Israeli intransigence is
the reason there is war in the Middle East, they end up helping their
Arab brethren as well. Because the last things the five hundred million
Arabs who live under state censorship and political oppression need is
their rulers and clerics finding a convenient scapegoat upon whom to
place the blame for their people’s suffering.
And every time Obama falsely puts the blame on Israel for the Middle
East’s tensions, he puts another nail in the coffin of future Middle
East freedom and Arab democracy and liberty.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is founder of This World: The Values Network.
His most recent book is ‘The Blessing of Enough: Rejecting Material
Greed, Embracing Spiritual Hunger. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.