Prove Me Wrong

"For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from some other place...."

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Ellen W. Horowitz

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"For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from some other place.... And who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained the royal position." (Megillat Esther 4:13-14)

Two years ago this April I wrote an article entitled "Time to Consider Coming Home", in which I foresaw the following scenario:

"A situation where everyone from George Bush and Condoleezza Rice to most Reform and Conservative (possibly even Orthodox) rabbis in America will be asking Israel to make concessions and compromises for the good of the last sacred cow - personal freedom and democracy. Many American Jews will expect their Jewish brethren in Israel to put their lives and land on the line by implementing the creation of a Palestinian State, in order to preserve the comfort zone for Diaspora Jewry."

I don't exactly qualify as a prophetess, but I am a Jewish mother who has deep feelings for her people and who has been experiencing and taking in the panoramic view of Jewish history for a while now. To bear witness to the increasing corruption, blindness and apathy plaguing both the Jewish state and Diaspora Jewry has been an agonizing journey.

When a Jewish mother says, "I told you so," she does it with a broken heart. It's not a matter of ego, because she knows she's not an expert. But a few months or years down the line, when those arrogant academics, pundits, diplomats and journalists start assessing the mistakes, just remember that a Jewish mother in Israel - who would rather be painting and raising goats on her land than typing lectures on a plastic keyboard - told you so.

In my writing these past four years, I've warned American Jewry about the impossibility and dangers involved in the dual loyalty stance, and I've implored my brethren to come home to Israel before they lose their very souls. I've raked American and European foreign leaders and their policies over the coals, and warned Israel about her attraction to globalized trends. Few leaders in Israel have gotten off the hook from my scathing criticism, and I've urged Israel to abruptly wean herself from foreign influence and American economic dependence, before we're choked by a rebellious umbilical cord. I've begged my nation to reassess their relationship with the United States, before we lose our sovereignty and ourselves.

But, like the proverbial Jewish mother, I see that I've been knocking my head against the wall.

Recent studies indicate that American Jewry's attachment to Israel is on the decline. And I keep reading and hearing about how Israel aspires to the realization of George W. Bush's "vision" as outlined in his Road Map, and I wonder: do we have to fulfill the president's visions? What about us? What about our hopes and dreams?

Have we been sold and have we sold out?

Not to fret, as Purim is just around the corner and anything can happen. Perhaps my assessment is wrong. Maybe American Jewry has an ounce of pride left, and they'll pull out all of the stops in order pressure the US government into taking a stance that guarantees their inheritance (I'm talking about the Land of Israel, not social security benefits). Maybe I was premature in calling everybody home. Perhaps there's a higher purpose to the American Jew's long drawn-out sojourn in the goldeneh medineh and, like Queen Esther, their royal moment has arrived.

In honor of Purim, maybe we should invert our approach and our thinking. Instead of categorically and automatically assuming and declaring that America is Israel's best friend, we should be addressing some pretty tough questions to America.

Hasn't Israel been a good friend to America? And yet, the US President is endorsing a Map that takes an enormous bite out of our heartland, breaks off a good piece of our coastline and then slices us in two with a contiguous Palestinian state (you've heard of the organization Doctors Without Borders? I'm starting a new group called Artists for Aesthetic Borders. No bite marks, holes or broken pieces allowed - just nice, clean, defined lines).

I understand that Secretary of State Rice is pleased with the Syrian troop movements in Lebanon. Does that mean Israel's northern border is the planned payoff for Syria's good behavior?

For argument's sake, let's say that Israel initiated this destructive plan free of all American pressure and constraints. It would appear to me that a good friend and ally would sit down with us and advise us of the dangers, not encourage our mistakes.

A Galut mentality dictates that American Jews be eternally grateful to the United States for graciously hosting them for all these years and for allowing them to prosper. Any criticism of America's foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel must be handled with the utmost care via AIPAC or some other diplomatic American-Israel advocacy group. But again, it's almost Purim, so let's turn things around a bit.

An American Jew should feel absolutely comfortable saying:

"Mr. President, we're loyal, patriotic citizens. We've given the very best to this nation in the fields of government, medicine, science and technology, education, law, the arts and finance. Don't endanger our brethren in Israel with your Road Map, as the Arab and Islamic nations, and certainly the Palestinians, have not expressed goodwill towards Israel, nor have they demonstrated a sincere readiness to promote peace in the region. They murder and continuously plot and devise schemes against Israel and the Jewish People. Under these precarious conditions, we ask that implementation of the Road Map and plans for unilateral disengagement be put on hold."

Now, if George W. Bush takes American Jewish concerns into account and, after honestly reassessing his double vision of a two-state solution, he cancels the decree, then I was wrong about the American leader and the status of American Jewry. I'll write an article of apology and send a copy to the president.

However, if he skirts the issue and tries to assuage Jewish feelings with some sweet talking, patriotic rhetoric about the end of tyranny, and an age of peace and freedom, then I was right - and American Jews will know exactly where they stand. In the president's view, American Jews are far less important than a barrel of slimy black crude. American Jews need to hold up the scale and place our heritage, assets and contributions on one end, and the House of Saud, with all their empty sands and oil on the other, and ask the president: Who and what matters more?

Israel holds the value of a worn-out gambling chip, which gets placed on the table every time America gets herself into a bloody rut. If America's Arab empowerment program backfires, you can be sure that pressure will be exerted on the regional sucker, Israel. George Bush is loathe to fail and he will have to prove that there is progress in at least one direction. And his concept of progress could very well translate into our regression and capitulation.

It is ironic that everybody is so enchanted with the Sharansky-Bush relationship. Back in the days when Natan was an imprisoned Anatoly Sharansky, American Jews knew how to throw memorable, intense protests on US soil. Jewish lives were at stake and that situation was unacceptable. The protests made the difference and saved lives. But the same courtesy and compassion isn't extended to Jonathan Pollard or to the 8,000 Jewish residents facing expulsion from their homes in Israel.

It appears that most American Jews don't care enough to make waves. At best, they can manage a sizable, but low-key, Israel-America solidarity rally, where they wrap themselves in stars-and-stripes while some local legislatures pay lip service to the splendid relationship that Israel and America shares.

But, then again, it's almost Purim and perhaps I'm wrong. Jewish America, prove me wrong. Make your protest on behalf of the land and people of Israel heard at the king's gate and, like Mordechai the Jew, express yourselves with a resounding "loud and bitter cry".


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