Friday, October 31, 2008

Looking Out for the Jews?

I saw a query from Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo that got me thinking:
Why are right-wing freaks now the self-appointed defenders of Jews, defending us from the candidates the overwhelming proportion of us Jews plan to vote for?

Over recent days, we've heard Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin and even Joe the Plumber talking about Sen. Obama being bad for Israel. What is it that these people (Joe the Plumber?) know that we Jews, we who think about Israel on an almost daily basis, we who have friends or family either in Israel or from Israel, we who have visited Israel and eagerly look forward to visiting again, what do these people think that they know that we Jews don't know?

One thing that I've said repeatedly, is that we Jews need to recognize that friends of Israel are not necessarily friends of the Jews. People like Gov. Palin who need Israel (perhaps even a "Greater Israel") for her "end of days" and rapture may be "friends" of Israel, but only to the extent that Israel is necessary for the fulfilment of their own religious ends. Go listen to some of Rev. Hagee's sermons for a better understanding of this (remember Rev. Hagee, who Sen. McCain pursued for an endorsement for months...?). I wish that those "friends" of Israel would take a bit more time learning about Jews here in America and learning about issues that are important to us (oh, like, maybe separation of church and state, for example...) rather than simply presuming that they are "friends" of Jews solely because they are "friends" of Israel. I think that we Jews have a little bit more understanding of the issues that involve Israel (not the least of which are the existential threats to Israel) than those on the religious right who, as Marshall suggests, seem to feel the need to be our "defenders".

Speaking for myself, I don't really need the "friendship" of someone who only wants to be my friend because I am, myself, the friend of a country that person believes necessary to their own religious salvation. And I don't particularly want to hear those people tell me that Sen. McCain will be better for Israel when I know that he will neither be better for Israel (wars is the Middle East, easpecially ones that empower and embolden Iran are not good for Israel) nor good for the Jews.

Perhaps if Israel is such an important issue for those on the right, they will look to us Jews for advice and, when they see that we support Sen. Obama by a large margin, maybe they'll change their minds and switch from red to blue. And maybe Elvis will come endorse Ralph Nader tomorrow.

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