Op-Ed: U.S. Jewry's Dangerous Illusion
Gil RonenGil Ronen is a journalist for Arutz Sheva English, was formerly the Knesset correspondent for IDF Radio. He is the founder of The Familists (www.familism.org), a lobby for strengthening the Jewish family in Israel. In 1987, he founded Or Adom, an activist group against police brutality, which led to the establishment of the Department for Investigation of Police Officers in the Ministry of Justice.
The Muslim world is seething. Parts of it are irrational and suicidal, and they seem to be running the show. A large, rich Shi'ite country is ruled by a religious caste that is convinced that Allah wants it to blow up Israel and its inhabitants. The United States, where Jews wield extensive clout, is in a position to easily check this threat. The Democratic party, in which US Jews wield even more extensive clout, is in power. Yet the leader of that party, President Barack Hussein Obama, is openly hostile to Israel, and clearly dragging his feet on Iran, setting deadline after deadline for action and then ignoring his own promises to get tough with the mullahs.
If U.S. Jews throw us under the bus, they get dragged under it too.
Meanwhile, the Iranian centrifuges churn on.
US Jews had no real reason to doubt that Obama was anti-Jewish before he became president. But even if there were excuses for their blindness then, there certainly are none now, when Obama does everything possible to humiliate Israel's prime minister – stopping short only of spitting in his face and encouraging Sasha and Malia to sick Bo the dog at him (maybe he is saving that for next year?).
And yet, polls show US Jewish support for Obama still at 60%. What can the Jews be thinking? Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's father, Professor Ben-Tzion Netanyahu, got it right in his speech at his recent 100th birthday bash: US Jews think that they can survive even if Israel is destroyed. That is why they are not supporting Israel.
The thing US Jews do not understand is that their fate is tied to ours. We are linked by Jewish identity and fate. If U.S. Jews throw us under the bus, they get dragged under it too.
We will not go down without taking the enemy down with us. Never again.
This is an opinion piece, and therefore nothing factual must be gleaned from it. It is being written by a news editor who served in the IDF as a journalist, and has no first-hand knowledge regarding Israel's non-conventional armaments. Bearing that double disclaimer in mind, allow me to say that Israel's nuclear weapons are not unlike the famous gun on the wall in the first act of a Chekhov play: chances are, eventually, at least some of them will go 'boom!'. This could happen fifty years or more from now, or possibly sooner.
Israeli Jews may not be quite as sophisticated as our American Jewish brothers and sisters. Our average salary is doubtless lower. But that is not the only difference between us. Non-religious and traditional Israeli Jews, as well as Zionist religious Jews, are brought up on two powerful traditions: one is the IDF ethos, and the second is the memory of the Holocaust. Israelis – even the ones who seem to believe in nothing at all – have this double consciousness hammered into them from a very young age: the IDF is sacred, and the alternative to having an army is the Holocaust.
Over and over again, year after year, we are made to remember these two things, through special remembrance days, ceremonies, sirens and moments of silence. There is no escaping the memorial days: all Israeli radio and television stations cease broadcasting entertainment during these days. Even going to the beach is frowned upon.
We will not go down without a fight. We will not go down without taking the enemy down with us. Never again.
American Jews should understand this.
This last Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Hebrew daily Yediot Acharonot published a photograph of Mossad (Israel’s CIA) head Meir Dagan, next to two old photographs taken by Nazi soldiers as they prepared to murder the Jews in a Polish hamlet called Lukov. The photographs show Nazi soldiers standing next to a bearded Jew in a tallit prayer shawl, who is crouching on the ground with his hands raised. In the second picture, his kippah head covering is missing, and his hands have formed fists. He was murdered after the photos were taken.
The man's name was Ber Erlich Sloshny, and he was Meir Dagan's maternal grandfather. The second photo hangs in Dagan's office. Whenever he receives a visitor from a foreign country – be he a prime minister or president, a defense minister or an intelligence chief – Dagan shows him the photograph and explains that the photo is what guides him in life. That he has sworn to himself not to let something like the Holocaust happen again.
If Israel is backed into a corner, it will know what to do. Some call this the Samson option, after the biblical hero who chose to die along with the Philistines who had chained and blinded him. It is a mistake to think we will go down quietly, or that we will somehow fade away.
If and when – G-d forbid – Israel goes down, it will go down along with many, many others. And American Jews should not think that they will be able to avoid the backlash. If we go down, U.S. Jewry will go down too. America is not short of anti-Semites, and U.S. Jewry will not be able to escape them.
Even if they do not care about Israeli Jews, their flesh and blood, and care only about their own survival – that interest is best served by making sure Israel survives. That means kicking Mr. Obama out of the White House, and doing everything possible to weaken him between now and election time. Mark my words, this is not a drill: never – and that means never, ever – again.