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June 13, 2010

Re: Obama, Israel & American Jews: The Challenge -- A Symposium

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives, Political News and commentaries

Commentary asked 31 prominent American Jews to respond to this statement:

The open conflict between the Obama administration and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has created tensions between the United States and Israel of a kind not seen since the days of the administration of the first President Bush. And those tensions are placing unique pressure on American Jews, who voted for Barack Obama by a margin of nearly 4-to-1 in 2008 after being assured by Obama himself and by his supporters in the Jewish community that he was a friend and an ally of the State of Israel despite his long association with, among others, the unabashedly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

We argue that American Jews are facing an unprecedented political challenge, and at a crucial moment, with the need to address the existential threat to Israel--and by extension to the future of the Jewish people as a whole--from a potentially nuclear Iran. How will American Jews handle this challenge? Can Obama's Jewish supporters act in a way that will change the unmistakable direction of current American policy emanating from the White House? Will American Jews accept Barack Obama's view that the state of Israel bears some responsibility for the loss of American "blood and treasure" in the Middle East? Will they continue to extend their support to the Obama administration and to Barack Obama's political party?

Read their responses on the following pages in alphabetical order...

The net take-away? Peter Berkowitz, the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, put it best:

American Jews are predominantly progressive, and like President Obama, they largely subscribe to a progressive interpretation of world affairs. Unfortunately, the progressive assessment of Israel and of Middle East politics is based on a reckless illusion that thwarts worthy progressive goals and undermines vital American interests.
This, along with what the other 30 prominent American Jews have to say - juxtaposed with the fact that leftist-progressive Barack Obama is president and there is a leftist-progressive Democratic Congress, the net taka-way is ..... Israel is 'sooo...' big time screwed.

However, on the other hand - a new Abbas does indeed sound promising.

Posted by Richard at June 13, 2010 9:57 AM



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