Home May 2010 Of Koch and Conscience

Of Koch and Conscience

By now, many readers have heard about the April 12 Yonkers Tribune editorial piece, “A Dangerous Silence,” by former New York Mayor Edward I. Koch.  In the article Koch said, “I weep today because my President, Barack Obama, in a few weeks has changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel from that of closest of allies to one in which there is an absence of trust on both sides…Our closest ally — the one with the special relationship with the U.S., has been demeaned and slandered, held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.  The plan I suspect is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israel’s needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch.”

Koch, who served as mayor of the Big Apple from 1978 to 1989, added that he believes “President Obama’s policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran – The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon.  If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be it.”  The former mayor said he was “shocked by the lack of outrage on the part of Israel’s most ardent supporters.”
Apparently, Koch was not the only one who was outraged by the perceived cooling of support from the U.S. to Israel. The America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) sent an open letter to Obama in concern over what it calls “deteriorating relations that appear to be developing” between the U.S. and Israel. AIFL affirmed Obama’s commitment to relations between the two countries, but it urged the U.S. president to reconsider his apparent intention of pressing Israel to abandon its longstanding Jerusalem policy, particularly regarding construction there, as a precondition to talks with the Palestinians.

Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress wants the President to stop his public feud with the State of Israel and start dealing with real issues like a nuclear Iran, reported the website, www.OneJerusalem.org. In a letter published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, Lauder stood up for Israel and the Jewish people.  Reportedly, this is the first time the World Jewish Congress has publicly challenged the conduct of American foreign policy toward Israel.

The concerns and questions raised in Lauder’s letter represent a respectful, but very troubling, expression of anxiety about the diplomatic confrontation the Obama Administration seems set on seeking with Israel.  The World Jewish Congress’ unprecedented decision to “go public” with its concerns about the Obama Administration indicates that growing friction between the Obama Administration and Israel continues to cause real anxiety in the Jewish community, according to the article.

This is in line with the McLaughlin and Associates poll, which showed that American Jewish voters emphatically endorsed the policy of keeping Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel. Rock-solid Obama enthusiasts strongly oppose the Obama administration’s policy of dividing Jerusalem.

In answering the survey question, “Should Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel or should the United States force Israel to give parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinians?”

64 percent support keeping Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel

13 percent support turning it over to the Palestinians

23 percent did not answer the question.

Where will all of this lead?  The U.S. is unlikely to abandon Israel, and Bibi Netanyahu is unlikely to put up with what he feels is a lack of commitment to a strong Israel on the part of the U.S, administration.

Meanwhile, American Jews can make their voices heard.  Write to the White House, your Senator, and your Congressman.  Let them know this is not the time to abandon America’s strongest ally – in the Middle East and perhaps the world.

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