Watching America vote itself into regression yesterday, I was reminded of a quote from Winston Churchill, who said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
While the advocates of civilizational progress wait out America’s adolescent exploration, responsible citizens can only strive to mitigate the cost of such experimentation. For Israel, this means that come January 22nd when its own elections take place, Israelis must choose a government that bears a security ideology that is diametrically opposed to that of President Obama.
In truth, when it comes to the safety of the Jewish state, while US elections are very important, the election that matters most is Israel’s own. Yesterday’s result should prompt us to remember that Israel is a sovereign, independent state. Appeasement-inclined American compulsion in Israeli decision making, although potentially the source of great hardship, is limited to the degree to which Israelis will allow it.
As much as American Jews want to feel as though they are responsible for ensuring Israel’s future, last night’s election underscored the hard fact that the American Jewish community’s relationship with Israel is ultimately a spectator sport.
Herein however lies the pitfall. As Israeli election campaigns intensify, perhaps the most oft repeated accusation of the Left will be that Prime Minister Netanyahu has mishandled the country’s most important relationship, thereby jeopardizing Israel’s security.
Sure enough, earlier today, possible political contender Ehud Olmert fired the first salvo, saying, “After what Netanyahu has done in the past few months – it needs to be asked whether the prime minister has a friend in the White House? I’m not sure.”
Israel needs a leader that can dance to Obama’s tune – will be their argument, but nothing could be further from the truth. Israel needs a leader with a spine, who can stand up for Israeli security interests in the face of the inevitable unyielding American pressure.
I am confident that Israelis will show courage and have faith in their choices. There is a reason why the Israeli concession camp is pitiful, and it is because the Israeli people have already “tried everything else” and learned at tragic cost how to do “the right thing.”
As Churchill also said: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”