April 28, 2010
The easing of the current Washington-Jerusalem face-off — may it come speedily — could lead to numerous possible combinations of winners and losers. President Obama could squeeze Prime Minister Netanyahu until his government falls. Netanyahu could drag his feet until 2012 and hope Obama isn’t reelected. They might even agree on a peace formula that satisfies the Palestinian Authority, keeps Hamas quiet and makes everyone a winner. You never know.
There is one certain loser, though: the American Jewish community. However things turn out in the Middle East, we are going to end up looking silly.
As a well-organized community with a big footprint on the national stage, we have developed a habit of staking out firm positions on abiding principles of fair play that have an unfortunate tendency to change while we’re not looking. Israel, like most countries, makes policy on the fly, bobbing and weaving daily in response to pressures from Washington, rockets from Gaza or domestic coalition politics. And yet, whatever word comes forth from Jerusalem, we adopt it as holy writ. You’d think somebody would be embarrassed by now, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Here are some of the abiding principles spoken of late in the name of American Jewry:
Item: Israel’s security is a vital American national interest, except when Israel’s security troubles have no connection whatsoever to American interests. When Israel is secure, America’s position in the region is strengthened. When Israel is beset, America’s position in the region is curiously unaffected.
Item: The so-called moderates of Fatah have no intention of reaching an agreement with Israel; their aim, just like that of their Hamas brethren, is to destroy Israel. Besides, if Israel does make a deal with Fatah, Hamas will promptly seize power because Hamas hates Fatah’s moderation.
Item: Israel offered the Palestinians everything they wanted, including a piece of East Jerusalem, proving that the Jewish state will make painful sacrifices for peace, but the Palestinians turned it down, proving that they don’t want peace.
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