NEW YORK — It has been said that “Jews are the people of ‘The Book.'” From what we observe today, “The Book” is not a survival manual and may end up being the Koran.
There are three things certain in life: death, taxes and anti-Semitism. Well, death is death, taxes are down, and anti-Semitism is up. Like some demon seed that lay dormant, sleeping, covered over or ignored, it has now sprouted once again. The hated symbols are scrawled across the gravestones in Jewish cemeteries and on the walls of the ancient capitals of Europe and the Near and Middle East. Jews are blamed for every thing from the destruction of the World Trade Center to the war in Iraq, and are called “baby-killers” in relation to the Palestinian problem, even while the world’s media print the photographs of the arms of small slaughtered Jewish children hanging from the side of a bus that Palestinian terrorists had decided to destroy.
American Jews are peculiarly disconnected from these happenings, and apparently are determined to make their lack of interest in unfolding world events evident by supporting the Democratic candidate for President. An ostrich buries its head in the sand, and in so doing leaves another part of its anatomy vulnerable. American Jews should take heed and perhaps consider emulating the eagle, rather than the ostrich.
In a recent poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, American Jews who were likely voters favored Kerry by 75 to 22 percent. The problem — like it or not — that American Jews do not choose to deal with is that to some degree the life and well-being of any Jew, anywhere in the world, is connected to the fate of Israel. This is true even for the Jews that go to country clubs, ride polo ponies, or name their daughters Tiffany. When the Nazis came into power, with equanimity they murdered Jews who had blond hair and blue eyes, and had been loyal German soldiers for the Kaiser, along with the ones with yarmulkas and long beards.
The Jewish knee-jerk reaction to vote Democratic is unrelated to any particular advantage the party offers American Jews in the modern world — their allegiance is basically historical beginning with President Roosevelt and then becoming embedded in their psyches, intractable to events and even reality. They believed that somehow Roosevelt was their savior, abolishing discrimination against them, securing their survival by successfully waging the Second World War thereby incurring a debt to the Democratic Party in perpetuity.
In point of fact, Roosevelt was a canny politician who believed he had the Jews in his pocket, what with their having voted for him in each of three elections by 83 to 90 percent. Therefore he had to do little for them. He ordered the Saint Louis and its 909 Jewish passengers sent back to their fate of ending up in Hitler’s ovens. Not remembered is the fact that America did not declare war on Germany — even after Pearl Harbor. It was Germany that declared war on us.
Roosevelt, notwithstanding Churchill’s plea, would not order the bombing of the Nazis’ transportation web to slow the delivery of Jews to the concentration camps — even after Churchill’s prophecy to him that history would condemn both of them for his refusal.
Churchill instructed his Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, “Get everything out the Air Force you can, and invoke me if necessary…There is no doubt that this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world…” But only the American Air Force had the capacity to conduct the bombing and Roosevelt refused to give the order.
Roosevelt was not an anti-Semite, but, like many fancy Protestants of the day, was indifferent to the plight of minorities. This was also apparent in his attitude toward African Americans — who since Roosevelt have been joined at the hip to the Democratic Party. In one of the earliest secret tape recordings made in the Oval Office, we hear a group of distinguished African American leaders plead with Roosevelt to integrate the Armed Forces and allow them to fight side-by-side with white Americans, rather than, as in the Navy, be relegated to cooks, longshoremen, and basically servants for officers. Roosevelt’s offensive concession: he would let them play in orchestras because, all the euphemisms aside, they got rhythm.
Roosevelt’s successors were not much better for Jews, in the context in which they served in office. From Jimmy Carter who engineered a sellout of Israel at Camp David to Hillary Clinton who hugged Mrs. Arafat and called Dick Morris an “F—ing Jew bastard,” to John Kerry who called Arafat “a statesman” and, in his unending acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, did not manage to mention Israel even once.
On the other hand, Nixon, Reagan, and the present President have been the guardians of Israel’s survival. President Bush, however, has been extraordinary in this regard. American Jews who do not like Bush are quick to point out that the Religious Right and President Bush are supportive of Israel only because it fits into their beliefs that there must be a state of Israel in existence when the Messiah comes. The unworthy thought crosses our minds that if your house were on fire and your neighbor puts out the fire, and he does it because he does not want a burned-out wreck of a house next to his own, rather that out of any love for your family, does it really make a difference? Either motive leaves you and your family with your home. And also, as far as Israel is concerned, when the Messiah comes, we will have plenty of time to ask him if this is a return visit or not.
In the Greenberg poll, when the Jews being polled were asked, “Which area [out of a given list] would be MOST important to you in deciding how to vote for a candidate for President?” only 15 percent mentioned Israel. Unfortunately there are six million reasons why they are wrong.