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American Jews and Israel

Would it be too much to back those at home who back the Jewish homeland?

By and 5.15.02

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If a Jew is threatened by somebody, he becomes a professional wimp. Fighting is not his business. So the first thing he does is start an organization, have a fund-raiser, and send in some money. Even if he is mugged, he will tell the mugger to pull up a chair, sit down, have a cup of tea, maybe a Danish, and "Let's talk things over." But, put Jews together into an army like in Israel, and you will have one of the toughest fighting forces in the world.

Nobody sounds more fearless than our American Jew celebrating the military might of Israel. American Jews not only accept that the Israelis will fight on behalf of all the Jews everywhere, they expect it and demand it and will give their last dollar to pay for it.

Why don't American Jews ask themselves a simple question: Would there be a State of Israel today if the Israelis had adopted the same philosophy as the Jewish leadership in America?

Jews everywhere, except in Israel, act as if they're destined by G-d for periodic destruction. It is as if Jews believe they are here by the whim and will of their enemies; as if the thought that domestic Jews could fight back defies natural law. Can you imagine any other minority talking about the possibility of its destruction without in some way preparing to put a stop to it?

American Jews live a contradiction. On the one hand, they want the Israelis to fight their battles for them. But, on the other hand, in the United States they don't support the major political party that supports Israel.

Jews are Democrats by genetics. If a person was Jewish it always meant that he or she would, by knee-jerk fashion, vote for the candidates offered up by the Democratic Party. Similarly, the Democratic Party traditionally takes Jewish support for granted. The Jewish vote has been a Democratic vote going back to Franklin Roosevelt's time. President Roosevelt really did very little for the Jews except take bows as their great protector. In reality, this was not the case. From the beginning to the end of the war, he did little to help them. Just before the war, he denied refuge in America to the Jews aboard the ship St. Louis, sending them back to certain death in Europe. Near the end of World War II, his excuse for not ordering the bombing of the railroads leading into the concentration camps, despite pleas from what was left of World Jewry, was his reasoning that if he ordered the bombing, it would seem as if this was a "Jewish war." However, the people being herded into the concentration camps by railroad quickly understood they were there because they were Jewish.

While it is true that Harry Truman recognized Israel as a state in 1948, aside from that, notwithstanding the power and the economic might of American Jews, Democratic presidents have not done that much for Israel. Even with the money our government consistently sends to Israel to enable the country to purchase arms for its own defense, there is a kicker: one-third of the arms must be purchased in the U.S. -- in order to help our economy.

Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato, who was as staunch a supporter of Israel that has ever existed on the public stage anywhere in this country, was voted out of office by New York's Jewish voters.

Today, from the White House to the halls of Congress, it is quite clear it is the Republican Party that is the main domestic supporter of Israel. Democrats have been abysmal at worst and at best, wishy-washy in backing Israel in its recent struggles.

Isn't it about time that American Jews stand behind the political forces in America that stand behind Israel?

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About the Author

Jackie Mason is a comedian.

About the Author

Raoul Felder is a lawyer.