Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dear Aunt Ellen...

Oy, it seems that we don't need SNL, Comedy Central and a left wing media to make the Republican Party look like total idiots. They do it all by themselves. Take a stiff drink before you see this Jewish Republican fiasco

Meanwhile, It seems McCain as chairman of the International Republican Institute awarded $448,873 and several other grants to Khalidi's endeavors. And our Zionist buddy New Republic's Martin Peretz has nothing bad to say about Khalidi. So Jewish Republicans can keep digging for dirt on Obama until they bury themselves with it . A little honesty, wisdom and foresight could have gone a long way in this election.

My niece wrote to me last week...

Hi Aunt Ellen!

I hope all is well with everyone! I just wanted to say hi and I was wondering what your thoughts and opinions are on the election coming up!

I am very conflicted as to who to vote for as I do not feel 100% comfortable with either candidate. But I do want to know what the overall opinion is over in Israel!

Let me know...

Lots of love to everyone!!!

Hi Jamie,

I was really enjoying my fly-on-the-wall status until you wrote to me. It was almost fun observing America's bizarre campaign extravaganza from afar. I was so relieved that I wouldn't have to bother tearing myself into pieces over elections that I don't vote in. But it seems I’ve got very a thoughtful and responsible niece who is seriously grappling with a tough, tough issue. So I guess I’ll have to dabble a bit with America’s leadership crisis and the difficult and disappointing choices being offered.
But you might be sorry you asked…

The simple answer to your question is that it appears – from local opinion polls in Israel - that the majority (approx. two thirds) of Israelis are very concerned about the prospects of an Obama victory. I think it’s because he is an unknown and there are questions with regards to his associations and leanings, and concerns as to his possible stance on negotiations with Israel’s enemies. It seems the majority of Israelis deem McCain as the “safer” choice.

I confess that I’m neither well-informed about the broad spectrum of issues nor familiar with the platforms, so I can only give you my opinion as a very Jewish woman living in a Jewish state. I generally don’t like it when Americans interfere in Israeli elections and our internal affairs, so I tend to steer clear of America’s domestic politics. I vote for Israel, and always have – even when I lived in America. Your aunt likes to play fair, so a long time ago I decided that if my criteria for choosing a candidate in U.S. presidential elections was exclusively Israel-focused, then I should really be living in Israel. I like to feel whole and consistent, so the dual loyalty game is not my cup of tea, but it was a lot easier to play that game once-upon-a-time when American and Israeli interests were more in sync.

I would say that the Republicans ran a lousy campaign, and did not rise to Obama’s challenge with a cogent and intelligent response and presentation. Instead, they trashed an intelligent and articulate candidate, wrapped him in a turban and labeled him a Muslim with Marxist leanings who palls around with terrorists. I think it was a very stupid, negative, and unfair strategy that may have backfired (we will see in a couple of days).

Certain Israelis have been incessantly smearing Obama, too. And I keep asking myself the following question: Rather than besmirch him, why haven’t Israeli and Diaspora leaders and activists spent the last several months preparing an effective response and strategically positioning themselves for a possible change in U.S. leadership and policy. We Jews need to roll with the punches and come up on top regardless of the changes in a U.S. Administration.

There are legitimate reasons for Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to be very concerned, but I don’t believe in the doomsday scenarios and fear-mongering rhetoric coming from the Jewish Republican camp like, “an Obama presidency is fatal for Israel and lethal for the Jews”; or from fundamentalist Christian pundits like Ann Coulter who state that, “The survival of Israel is inextricably linked to the survival of the Republican Party and its evangelical base”. I reject the talk of another Holocaust, because if abandoned and backed against a wall, Israel will act.

Ironically, an Obama victory may force Israel to stand on her feet. We need to walk, but somebody has got to take away our crutches first. A McCain win may be more comfortable, but that means we will continue to lean heavily on America – and the longer we lean, the more beholden we become – and atrophy sets in. Every time America “saves” us, we lose more of our sovereignty, assume pawn status, and pay the price at the “peace table”. An Obama victory could buy Israel 6 to 8 months of time while America is in transition and the Democrats set up house – and we would have to scramble to get our act together.

Obama may have a silver tongue, but Benjamin Netanyahu has a golden one, and he has the potential to hold his ground and out-talk any international leader. Maybe if America swings Left, Israel will swing Right and respond with a good, strong leader who can act. [note: your aunt is an eternal optimist, and a little naïve –so don’t count on my theory.]

In the big picture, the world is facing great and not-so-great changes with or without McCain and Obama – as they are not really in control. But there is also a smaller and very important picture. And your individual vote really does matter.

People speak about voting your conscience, but for a Jew that’s no simple task. You have to search your head and heart. Your country of citizenship, political allegiances, worldview and life style can change - just look at your aunt. But you'll always be a Jew with special obligations and commitments to your people, and your land. And Israel is your land. And the Jewish nation is like one body and we're all responsible for each other and to Jewish continuity.

So I guess my advice to you is to vote like a Jew - not like the Jewish crowd, but as an individual who carries the entire world on her shoulders. Search you heart, and then vote with your head.

Good Luck! (you didn’t really think I would tell you who to vote for…)

Aunt Ellen

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