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March 29, 2015 3:41 pm

Liberal Jews Throw Israel Under the Bus for Obama

avatar by Arik Elman

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President Barack Obama. Photo: White House.

Of all the self-serving, sanctimonious, hypocritical reactions to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warning on Election Day about the rising Arab vote, one stands out and demands attention. No, not that of Obama and his mouthpiece Josh Earnest, who sought as usual to denigrate Israel. No, the real winner was the backstabbing statement issued by the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement. Making all enemies of Israel and the Jewish people happy, Assembly leaders William Gershon and Julie Schonfeld condemned the elected leader of the Jewish State as “undemocratic” and “divisive”. They even went so far as to demand that “Jews around the world” denounce Benjamin Netanyahu for the racist bigot he is.

This gross betrayal of our brethren in this time of need is, unfortunately, fairly typical of a certain element in the American liberal Jewish leadership, which seems unable to shake off its internal political biases and its adulation of Obama. How on Earth can Gershon and Schonfeld explain why their hasty indictment of Mr. Netanayhu repeats verbatim the talking points of Obama’s flunkies AND J Street?

Under Netanyahu’s consecutive governments, the Israeli Arabs’ standard of living has risen, Arab poverty and criminality have declined, and the Arab birthrate has lowered – sure signs that more and more Arabs are progressing into the ranks of the Israeli middle class. That happened not because Netanyahu is somehow enamored with Arabs, but because the rising tide of economic growth, security, and relative stability raises all boats. Could Gershon and Schonfeld say the same about African Americans in the US? Did they benefit from six years of Obama?

Factually, the Prime Minister’s warning on Election Day was fully correct. Arabs went out to vote in record numbers, they were supported by a massive get-out-the-vote operation, and they indeed voted for a parties that are openly hostile to Zionism and the idea of a Jewish state. Facts cannot be racist. The number of the votes cast for the three parties which constitute the United Arab List increased 27% in comparison to the last elections in 2013.

And for an average Israeli Jew – even those who didn’t vote for Netanyahu – the Prime Minister’s words didn’t carry any “racial” bias, but a simple and easily understood warning of more Ahmad Tibis and Hanin Zoabis in the next Knesset. The problem with Israeli Arabs is not that they vote – it is HOW they vote. For the last twenty years, the Israeli Arab minority tends increasingly to return to the parliament a motley crew of unreformed Communists, Islamists, Palestinian nationalists, terrorist supporters, and Assad-worshipers. This is what causes suspicion and alienation between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and this is why the Israeli voters did not reject Netanyahu’s warning, but interpreted it as a legitimate call for action.

It is hard to imagine that the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly isn’t aware of those facts. It is much easier to imagine that its leaders have chosen to throw Israel’s good name under the bus, because that is what was expected of them by the White House.

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  • What rock did Arik Elman crawl out from under?

    Look, many Conservative rabbis agreed with the RA statement, many disagreed with it. Some even deplored it. Be that as it may, it is hitting below the belt to assert that criticizing a politician equates disloyalty to Israel.

    Has the Algemeiner ever criticized an Israeli government decision?

    Tell, me. During its first three decades, Israel was governed by various Labor coalitions. The precursors to today’s Likud party, then in opposition, were constantly and sharply critical of Ben Gurion, Eshkol, Meir and Rabin, as were Likud’s American branches, namely Herut and Betar. Perhaps one might suggest that these groups were disloyal? Did Menachem Begin “throw Israel under a bus,” because he had a different vision than Ben Gurion?

    Politicians, political parties … and rabbinical groups, are all subject to criticism, but this opinion piece was way over the top.

  • Mark

    sorry , i am a Turkish Jew and live in America and I agree with liberal Jews, BIBI the dombo war monger deosnt speak for me

    • Sandy

      And, too, I assume you hold in high esteem the leader of Turkey!
      ‘dombo?’ I do not know that word. I do know Natanyahu has degrees from Harvard and MIT. Has a distinguished record in
      military,(yes, not a war monger~ to defend his country against invaders) and an ad hominem attack is not worthy of this effort to reply~ BUT,to denigrate an Democratically elected leader of his country,is not kind or ‘truthful.’

  • Jacqueline Franch

    I’ll bet Harvey Weinstein agrees with the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly. Give me Donald Trump any day. He hasn’t drunk the Obama kool-aid

  • Excellent point. But I fear the Obama factor is only a apart of the animosity certain “liberal” Jewish leaders harbor against Israel and its choice of leadership. Over the last thrity years the roles have reversed. American Jewry used to be rich, numerous powerful and influential. Now Israeli jewry is just as rich, more powerful in real terms, more numerous, and able to wield their own influence via non-Jewish interlocutors. jewish youth wishing to show their mettle volunteer for combat service in the IDF. Some Diaspora Jews cannot tolerate this reversal and would rather see Sovereign Israel cut down to size, to the former level when they were calling the shots.