Conservatives Reject Call To Leave Israel Out of Campaign
Call for Bipartisan Unity from ADL and AJC Falls on Deaf Ears
By J.J. Goldberg the Forward
Published October 27, 2011, issue of November 04, 2011.
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Here’s how crazy things have gotten: An emergency call went out recently from the heart of the Jewish Establishment — from the very epicenter of macherdom, the twin citadels of Jewish defense, the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee themselves, in a rare moment of joint action — for American Jews to unite around Israel and defend its alliance with the United States.
And what’s been the response so far? To put it politely: Drop dead.
The machers’ summons is called the “National Pledge for Unity on Israel,” and it’s posted on the two organizations’ websites. They declare that with all the “new dangers and challenges” facing Israel in a “fast changing Middle East,” it’s more important than ever for America to “project to the world” that our support for Israel is wall-to-wall and rock solid. Right now, as we enter what’s shaping up as an ugly election season, the Jewish community should take care not to let Israel become a political football. Let’s have “American voices raised together in unshakeable support for our friend and ally.” If you agree, they say, click here, add your name and take the pledge.
■Proposed Unity Pledge Spurs More Debate
■Jewish Leaders Warn Against Using Israel As 'Wedge' Issue
■AJC Blasts Anti-Obama Ad Campaign
So where’s the problem? The problem, writes Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin, is that while “the cause of unity is noble” and much of the pledge’s text is “unexceptionable,” in the end the pledge “doesn’t pass the smell test” — parts of it seem “aimed more at silencing any effort to hold the Obama administration accountable.”
Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition is more direct: “An open and vigorous debate on the questions confronting our country is the cornerstone of the American electoral process,” he writes. “This effort to stifle debate on U.S. policy toward Israel runs counter to this American tradition. Accordingly, the RJC will not be silenced on this or any issue.”
And, as is so often the case, no one puts it more succinctly than Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel. “Here’s the Emergency Committee for Israel’s answer to Directors Abe Foxman and David Harris: You must be kidding.”
Ah, you say, but that’s just a handful of voices on the Republican right. Let’s hear from the majority. What does the public say?
Funny — the ADL and AJC are wondering the same thing. As of six days after the pledge’s October 19 launch, according to one staffer, “maybe two dozen” people had signed on. “It’s not what you’d call a tidal wave.”
Read more: http://forward.com/articles/144966/#ixzz1cDIXNBlF