The fruits of victory
by Jonathan Rosenblum
November 10, 2004
We have now irrefutable proof of Hashem’s wisdom when He decreed that the Jewish people will always be the "smallest of the nations": If there were a few million more Jews in America, John Kerry would be the next president.
In 2000, President Bush was viewed as likely to continue the anti-Israeli policies of his father, and the Democratic ticket included a Jew for the first time. Since then, President Bush has completely changed the framework of Middle East peacemaking by placing the onus on the Palestinians to show that they are ready for and capable of peace. Israeli leaders consider him the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House.
Nevertheless, Bush’s percentage of the Jewish vote barely changed from 2000. Any slight shift in Bush’s direction is largely a function of the mobilized Orthodox community.
While American Jews remain rooted in place, there was a seismic shift in the voting patterns of Arab Americans, who went from overwhelmingly pro-Bush to voting 90% for Kerry.
American Jews no longer vote like Puerto Ricans; they vote like Arab Americans. American Jews could not allow themselves to be distracted by the four straight years of terror in Israel triggered by the intense American peacemaking of the Clinton years, when there are so many important issues at home, like ensuring that the federal government does nothing, no matter how indirect, to make a quality Jewish education more affordable to Jewish parents.
In order to salve their consciences about Israel, 69% of American Jews (in one poll) convinced themselves that Kerry would be better for Israel. This despite the fact that Kerry’s top foreign policy advisor, and presumptive secretary of state, Richard Holbrooke listed Israel, along with Syria and Saudi Arabia, as a state that would come under more American pressure in a Kerry administration. Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz told a campaign rally in the last week that he was tired of Israel being treated as if it were the 51st state.
Rapprochement with Europe was the centerpiece of Kerry’s foreign policy prescriptions. Yes, the same Europe that recently unveiled its new/old peace plan for the Middle East: a complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines. Even Tony Blair, America’s closest ally in Europe, is busy promoting the myth that a "solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to world peace, though it is unclear how returning Israel to its pre-1967 Auschwitz borders would bring the jihadist -producing Moslem world one inch closer to parity with the modern world.
The most delicious aspect of the Bush victory was imagining the discomfiture – like Rumpelstiltskin -- of all those who have portrayed Bush as a greater threat to the world than Saddam Hussein, and who even in defeat could not stop pouring out their contempt on anyone with the temerity to vote for such a dimwit and dangerous religious fanatic. The day after the election two New York Times columnists accused Bush of fomenting jihad. The Times repeatedly styled the election as a battle between the "empirical-based" community, as opposed to Bush supporters, who, it is seems, are oblivious to facts.
How pleasant, as well, to imagine the Europeans gnashing their teeth, along with all those Americans living abroad suffering from Stockholm syndrome, who told the Times that only a Kerry victory could prove to their neighbors that "not all Americans are idiots." The 14,000 Guardian readers who helpfully wrote to benighted voters in Ohio instructing them how to vote deserve an assist in tilting that crucial state to Bush. Surprise that the average American is not impressed by readers of an British paper that publishes humorous pieces concluding, "Lee Harvey Oswald where are you now that we need you?"
The disdain of Europeans, who would still be happily divvying up with Saddam Hussein billions of dollars skimmed from the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food program, and are carrying on business as usual with the nuclear bent ayatollahs in Iran, who won’t spend on defense, but squawk piteously when faced with the loss of American military bases, and who are powerless to prevent a Moslem takeover of their continent by the end of the century, should be taken as a compliment by every American.
Yet, to my surprise, when the Bush victory came, I was not nearly so euphoric as I expected. For one thing, no one knows what the next four years will bring. Second, gloating is an unattractive emotion and is too closely related to the loathing for the opposite side that characterized this election. Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown writes of a New York dinner party where media heavyweights discussed what they could do to stop Bush. Among those with whom I went to college and law school, admitting that one voted for Bush is like confessing to being a child murderer.
And finally, my sense of betrayal by my fellow American Jews is misplaced. In the early 1940’s a group of Reform clergymen formed the anti-Zionist American Council of Judaism. That move subjected them to severe censure from the American Mizrachi movement, which called for the Reform "rabbis" to be placed in cherem and their "semicha" revoked. A young yeshiva student named Moshe Sherer wrote a piece in an Agudah journal wondering whether the "semicha" of the "porkchop-eating gentlemen from Park Avenue" had until then been good.
Rereading that piece last week, I realized that instead of worrying about the way American Jews voted, I should be concerned with their relationship with Hashem. No one can know for certain the consequence of this vote or that. But we do know that without a return to Hashem there is no future for American Jewry.
Related Topics: American Jewry & Continuity
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