Well this is pretty startling.
Two major Jewish groups are trying to round up others in support of something called the “National Pledge for Unity on Israel,” which seeks to prevent candidates from criticizing each other’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
From the Pledge:
We salute the long line of American leaders who have moved beyond their often bitter policy differences over issues of the day to stand shoulder to shoulder together on the side of a strong and enduring U.S.-Israel relationship.
The Jewish community has had a strong interest in ensuring that American support for Israel is one of the critical strategic issues that unites rather than divides parties and officials. U.S. – Israel friendship should never be used as a political wedge issue.
The intent of the Pledge, produced by the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Community, is to immunize President Obama against criticism from Republicans charges his policies have been hostile toward Israel.
Abraham Foxman, who runs the hallowed, was crystal clear in a statement revealing that the intent of the “pledge” was to censor the debate:
We want the discourse on U.S. support for Israel to avoid the sometimes polarizing debates and political attacks that have emerged in recent weeks, as candidates have challenged their opponents’ pro-Israel bone fides or questioned the current administration’s foreign policy approach vis-à-vis Israel. The last thing America and Israel need right now is the distractions of having Israel bandied about as a tool for waging political attacks.
Wow. As a Jewish American who strongly supports Israel, I’m speechless. Well, yes, I’m typing away here. But honestly, I’m having trouble speaking.
Really, really, really – Jewish leaders are seeking to suppress speech? Is this possible? Israel should not be subject to political debate? Is this the Soviet Union?
Gosh, let me check the Constitution and the Federalist Papers for a minute . . . checking . . . checking . . . yes, the foundation of U.S. democracy is indeed political debate.
Obama has given Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the finger in so many ways – even walking out of a meeting with him – while cozying up to sworn Israeli enemies like Iran.
He has ratcheted up the pressure on Israelis in the negotiations, intensified U.S. criticism of the settlements, made the 1967 borders the starting point of negotiations rather than a goal, brought the Palestinian “right of return” into the negotiations, and suggested that Hamas could become a legitimate negotiating partner.
In short, there’s a lot to criticize.
It’s no secret that Jews overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008. That’s fine. What’s reprehensible is any attempt to protect a favored candidate by trying to preempt debate and criticism.
H/T to Douglas Feith who wrote about this in the Wall Street Journal today.