The difference between radical Muslims and liberal American Jews is that the former seek to become martyrs, while the latter aspire to become victims. In an ironic twist of fate, radical Muslims and liberal American Jews were made for each other.
This ideological symbiosis is sufficient to give pause to the presence of intelligent design. But like all things that seem to emanate from a higher power, there is a paradoxical twist. It is not themselves that liberal American Jews want to sacrifice on the altar of victimhood; it is their Israeli brethren.
Even before the election, Israeli Jews, unlike their sycophantic American brethren, saw through Obama. Israelis were the least supportive population anywhere in the Western world of the inexperienced politician turned presidential candidate.
To support Obama, liberal Jews had to engage in a set of incredible mental gymnastics. They had to ignore his twenty-year relationship with the anti-Semitic minister Reverend Jeremiah Wright. They had to ignore his strong personal relationship with the virulent anti-Zionist Rashid Khalidi. They had to ignore his statement to the Iowa caucuses that no one has suffered more than the Palestinian people. They had to ignore his support of his Kenyan cousin and genocidal strongman Raila Odinga, an advocate of Sharia. They had to ignore Obama’s own Muslim heritage. They had to ignore that anti-Israel policy experts such as Samantha Power (who now has her own special seat on the National Security Council), Susan Rice, and General James Jones had the real inside tract on advising Obama on the Middle East.
Since the election, Obama’s policies toward Israel have been treacherous, and the reaction of the liberal Jewish community can only be described as inconceivable. When Obama demanded a freeze on the settlements, including organic growth and building in East Jerusalem, the reformed rabbis could barely wait to support him. Even the Jewish Daily Forward editorialized on behalf of freezing settlements, as if the settlements were the obstacle to peace and prior exchanges of land for peace had actually resulted in the reign of peace rather than the rain of rockets.
Obama’s unwillingness to do what first world nation states traditionally do — honor the commitments and obligations of a prior administration — should have generated outrage from the Jewish community. After all, Obama summarily and capriciously dismissed the commitments the Bush administration made with regard to the settlements — commitments that were made, according to Elliot Abrams, to secure Israel’s painful withdrawal from Gaza and Northern Samaria.
If for no other reason than the inconceivable precedent that will impair all of our future international relations, liberal Jews, ever concerned about the fine points of law, should have been up in arms.
But their support for Obama was unflinching, their outrage, absent.
Obama’s Cairo speech linked Israel with the Holocaust, ignoring both 3,500 years of Jewish history and European history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The speech then went on an embarrassing rant of moral equivalence by comparing the self-imposed suffering of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.
Even so, liberal Jews did not wince.
The Obama administration’s embrace of the myth of the Israeli Defense Forces being responsible for civilian casualties in Gaza — a justification for the administration’s refusal to sell advanced helicopters to democratic Israel though they have been totally willing to sell them to the military dictatorship of Egypt — did not produce outrage. The administration’s refusal to sell advanced fighter aircraft to Israel has caused no concern among liberal Jews.
The establishment of George Mitchell in an unprecedented resident envoy post in Israel, staffed by a band of anti-Zionists, has produced not even so much as a whimper. After all, one thousand useful-idiot rabbis signed a petition authored by the infamous Brit Tzedek calling for such an envoy, although it is doubtful that even the idiot rabbis expected George Mitchell and his anti-Zionist henchmen would be staffing the operation.
Still, the Brit Tzedek signatories have not asked for their names to be withdrawn from the petition nor have they articulated any public regret.
The foreign policy theme of the Obama administration has been that George W. Bush and his neocon advisers have caused the world’s international political crises. Bush, who possesses a strong personal vision of foreign policy and an IQ higher than the ever vaunted John Kerry, is caricatured as a simpleton manipulated by a Jewish cabal. Let us hasten to remember that George W. Bush would not have waited to condemn the Iranian regime as it shot demonstrators in the street nor would he have stood on the side of Hugo Chavez in the Honduran coup. George W. Bush has a vision of America. Barack Obama only possesses a vision of himself. No one manipulated George Bush, and it is an anti-Semitic ploy to characterize Bush as a simpleton manipulated by Jews.
But liberal Jewish hatred of George W. Bush is so pronounced that, even at the expense of the libel of Jewish exploitation of Bush’s alleged incompetence, such images are totally compatible with liberal Jewish thinking. They are also its mainstay.
Obama’s anti-Israel stand will not find opposition in the Jewish community; it will find endorsement. Liberal American Jews embrace victimhood. The idea of a tough Israel willing to defend itself is counter to the psychological needs of the liberal American Jewish community, needs that might best be described as battered-wife syndrome. If Palestinians in Gaza launch missiles at Sderot, it is because Israel has done something wrong. “Oh, Palestinians only launch missiles and suicide bombers because they have no other way to protest. If only Israel gave them more land. If only Israel took up the road blocks. If only Israel apologized to them for causing them to blow up pizza parlors, discos, and shopping malls. If only Israel understood their culture.”
Most Jews can no more abandon their liberalism than can non-Jews. Take the liberals I have encountered in Berkeley who looked at the tragedy of 9/11 and said, “It’s our foreign policy.” They said it with all the delusional smugness that they were saying something profound and not something illustrative of a psychological deficiency or mental disease. They too needed to justify victimhood, and again with someone else actually being the victim.
Obama represents the wedge between Israelis and liberal American Jews. For the latter, Obama still garners high numbers in the polls; among the former, it is hard to find an Israeli Jew who does not understand the threat Obama presents to his very survival.
Liberal Jews are generally a secular people, but they are not a godless people, and in Barack Obama, they have certainly found their messiah.