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Home > OP-ED > Opinion

by Jay Wechsler
Date Sent to Zipple: December 17, 2000

opinion: During the 2000 election campaign, I often found myself plagued with the all too famous question. Which candidate, Bush or Gore, would be best for Israel? I shlepped this question with me throughout the campaign. After all, there were so many variables, and so much to consider.

Take Al Gore for instance. Gore has always been an open friend to Israel. Gore went over party lines and supported the Gulf War. Gore did much to court the Jewish vote, holding gala fundraisers at Jewish homes throughout his campaign. Enter Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew chosen by Gore as his running mate. Lieberman only adds to the question, as some Jews will see him as selling out future Jewish interests so he should not be viewed as too friendly to his own people. However, these days, being pro-Israel means being pro "peace process." I am vehemently against this "death process" that has taken the lives of hundreds of Jews over the past seven years. Make no mistake, I do believe that there should be a peace, but only with partners who do not stab you in the back when they don't get everything they want. I find Peres's quote (moments after terrorist bombings and shootings)"..they are paying the price of peace" to be disgraceful and an insult to the dead and maimed !

and their families. I also resent the left wing Meretz and 'peace now' parties who live in such nice cushy areas like Tel Aviv. How easy it is for them to say "give back the territories!!" I guarantee if Arafat wanted Tel Aviv (which he indeed does)those lefties wouldn't be singing the same tune. Due to my opposition to the current "peace" track, I would therefore be opposed to any U.S. president inclined to pressure Israel into making concessions it is not ready for (like Clinton). It is my belief, that a Democratic President would definitely be a pressure cooker on Israel, and I therefore do not believe a Gore Lieberman presidency to be in Israel's best interests. What about Bush - Cheney?

George W. Bush has much disdain for the Clinton administration. I would therefore conclude that his Israeli positions would be different form Clinton's. However, during interviews, Bush has mentioned that he would not change a thing in the current peace track. Displaying his usual evasive style, he mentioned that Israel should not be pressured into making concessions. Very fine, but Clinton and Albright also feel that way, but their actions provide otherwise.

What further troubles me is the typical "Exclusive Republican" country club - NO JEWS ALLOWED attitude. The Republicans have not been that friendly to Israel's interests before 1992. Only since Bush was defeated in 1992 have the Republican's attempted to portray themselves as best serving Israel's interests. One need not look back that far to remember George Bush's deplorable attitude towards Israel. It is inconcievable to me how Bush came up with the chutzpah to request Israel not defend itself from Iraqi Scud missiles during the Gulf War. In exchange for Israel not defending itself, he promised Israel $10 billion in loan guarantees. Another promise he later welched on. (remember" Read my lips - no new taxes?") When then Secretary of State James Baker was confronted during the '92 campaign how he could go back on his word, his response was "F___ the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway." I need not comment on his blatant anti-semitism and disregard for a whole pe! ople.

That was George Bush not George W. I kept telling myself during the campaign. It would not be fair of me to judge a child based on his father's actions. I believed this until the day after the election when the first person George W. hired to do anything was none other than - James Baker. Any notion I had that George W. was not his father, was shot down immediately. I honestly believe, that George W. is merely an extension of his father, a different version if you will. George W. surrounds himself with the same cast of despicable characters that his father courted.

Another problem is the oil interests served best by a Bush administration. It will surely come to pass that Bush will be faced with the challenge from Arab oil producers to step away from Israel in exchange for lower rates etc. How he reacts in such a situation is very worrisome to me and should be for all Jews everywhere.

I therefore do not believe George W. to be any better for Israel than Al Gore. So where do we go from here? What do we do?

Now that the election is over, all we can really do is hope. We must hope that things will work out and that Bush will not put pressure on Israel.

However, upon further reflection I have come to the following conclusion. It will not take an American President to mess up Israel. The Israeli government will do a fine enough job messing up the country, and this goes primarily for left wing. How can I make such an allegation? Very simply, the Israeli government will very shortly pass legislation that will make Israel less Jewish. For some strange reason, the anti - religious element in the Knesset relishes any opportunity it gets to make life hard on the religious. Maybe its their "I am so ashamed of myself for being Jewish" attitude that makes them act this way.

For years, ElAl, Israel's national airline has not flown on Shabbos, and Egged busses have not run in Jerusalem either. New legislation would make that a thing of the past. Additionally, there are those who want to cut funding to the Yeshivot and to families with many children, calling them a "burden" to Israeli society. The last time I heard such talk, was from a certain German chancellor around 1933. Other things like businesses being open in Jerusalem on shabbos as well as allowing the raising of pigs on Israeli soil are soon to pass.

Israel is not just any country, it is the home land of the Jewish people. A land given to us by an all merciful G-d, so that we can be a light among the nations. Not just like any other nation. We Jews are different, and if we forget this crucial idea, then there will be people like Hitler to remind us that we are different. No matter how much you looked and acted like a non - jew in Nazi Germany, even if you had the most distant relative who was Jewish, Hilter considered you a Jew, and your fate was clear.

Some of the players throughout the State of Israel's 50 years have once again tried to show the world that we are just like them, and they should accept us. The truth, is that non-jews would be much more accepting of the Jewish people if we did not try and hide our Judaism like it was a disease.

In conclusion I offer up a prayer that both wings in the Israeli government will be able to work out any divisive issues. I hope that any parties who only seek to divide the nation, come to their senses. As far as the anti religious sentiment, all I can pray for is that they learn to embrace Judaism instead of throwing it in the garbage. It is my hope that when this happens, both Jews, Arabs and all the world will view the Jewish people as truly a light among the nations and a righteous people worthwhile of support.


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