We have known each other so many years, meeting first through emails
that I sent out in support of Israel during that terrible time of senseless
terror brought on by the so-called “peace” accords of Oslo. You were a great
lover of Israel who fought to bring the truth about media lies to the forefront
from your position of power and integrity, earned through years of public
service in the American government. And from the virtual world, we began a real
friendship that brought us together so many times in your country and mine over
more than a decade.
I know you want what is best for America.
I also know you love Israel and care very much what happens to it. I, as you,
want what is best for both our countries.
How is it, then, we have come
to this bitter divide on the upcoming presidential election? From the beginning,
I saw Barack Obama as a dangerous enigma: a man who sat for 20 years
listening to the sermons of the anti-Semitic, anti-white racist Rev. Jeremiah
Wright; a man who surrounded himself with anti- Israel advisers. You saw it
differently: You were full of hope for a new beginning, for a fresh, new face on
the political horizons, a man who would be a historic first that broke racial
barriers and made all Americans feel proud that the country had turned a new,
quintessentially American page in its racially fraught history.
He was a
man who would fight for the underdog, the environment, women, and expand the
government’s largesse to the needy through universal healthcare and social
benefits. He would lead the country to a new greatness.
I viewed him as
inexperienced, a bigtalker do-nothing. A man who was unqualified for the
responsibilities of being leader of the free world. Most of all, I saw him as an
enemy of Israel.
The first four years of his presidency were stormy, a
tsunami of economic woes washing over the country, which went from a recession
to a near-depression.
Franklin Roosevelt, who also inherited economic
chaos, managed in the first 100 days of his presidency to pass 15 historic bills
that became known as the New Deal, including the FDIC; the Federal Emergency
Relief Act, which provided direct relief, training and work for unemployed
Americans; the National Recovery Act; and the Public Works Administration, among
Mr. Obama? He passed the $787 billion economic stimulus plan and
expanded welfare benefits to children, signed a law requiring equal pay for
women, implemented new ethics guidelines designed to significantly curtail the
influence of lobbyists on the executive branch, supported the UN declaration on
sexual orientation and gender identity, relaxed marijuana laws and lifted the
ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. He also ordered the
closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (although it’s still open). In the
years of his presidency that followed, he managed to pass a historic healthcare
law, which Americans desperately need. Unfortunately it is a controversial law
that drains Medicare of billions, forces Americans to buy health insurance, and,
many fear, will send health costs soaring.
These were important,
praiseworthy acts, but as you and I both understand, none of these came close to
dealing with the suffering of the average American whose life and prospects for
the future have been tragically undermined, with no help in sight. Twenty-three
million Americans are out of work! Twenty-three million.
DEAR FRIEND, our
differences on President Obama’s domestic policies are debatable. I would not
insist you are wrong to support him, although I have to say I see him as
painfully misguided and woefully unprepared to handle America’s economic crisis.
He has never even presided over a small business.
It is, however, our
differences over Mr.
Obama’s Mideast policies and his attitude toward
Israel that have opened the great and yawning divide between us. How we got
there, I outlined in my “Fool me twice, shame on me” column in the July 27
Magazine. In consequence of an unrelenting and ultimately disastrous path toward
a new “understanding” with the Muslim world, President Obama has come to be
viewed by myself and almost all my fellow Israelis as a less than willing ally,
as well as a most reluctant friend of the Jewish state, something that was
inevitable from the moment he bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia, and addressed
the Muslim world from a podium in Cairo, making reference to his heritage as a
Kenyan Muslim, quoting from the Koran and demanding Israel stop building in its
His open hostility toward our prime minister,
Binyamin Netanyahu, is common knowledge. He, and with him the Israeli people,
have been snubbed again and again, as the Obama administration demotes Israel
from its “special relationship” to just “one of America’s allies in the region.”
Given that the region is the Middle East, I can’t help but wonder who Obama
considers America’s strongest ally here. Turkey under the fanatic Recep Tayyip
Ergodan? Cairo under the Muslim Brotherhood? Or perhaps Syria? I know you can
counter this with the oft-stated arguments of the Jewish Left, who say that he
has increased aid to Israel and given it access to the most advanced military
equipment, including the latest fighter aircraft. Indeed, you’d be right to
point out that our own defense minister, Ehud Barak, said last year, “I can
hardly remember a better period of American support and backing, and Israeli
cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than what we
have right now.”
Really, my dear friend, what do you expect an Israeli
politician to say given that he might be dealing with a reelected President
Obama for the next four years? Yet contrast Barak’s words with the reality of
the deafening silence of the Obama administration’s response to any request to
draw a red line in Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, which that country has
expressly announced would be used to “wipe Israel off the map.” What will
increased US military aid do to help the six million Jews of Israel during – God
forbid! – a nuclear attack? I know I don’t have to remind you, dear friend, what
a tiny country Israel is, and how vulnerable its population is.
wandered around Jerusalem during the holidays, I was overwhelmed by the
reminders of how young we are, how many babies and young children and young
parents there are. Like a blossoming tree full of new leaves, we are
And so, dear friend, I must turn to you and ask you for your
help. Unlike most appeals from Israel to American Jews, this doesn’t involve
writing any checks, supporting any institutions. Israel is growing stronger
economically every day, thank God, using its genius and creativity to fill the
world with important and wonderful new medical and technological
It has become everything its friends and supporters dreamed it
could be. A place where every Jew was welcomed home whenever he decided he
needed to come here. American Jews have given their money most generously. But
very few of them have joined their lives to that of the Jewish state.
of more than three and a half million immigrants to Israel since 1882, only
110,000 have been from North America.
Compare that to the over two
million from Europe, and over a million alone from the former Soviet Union. With
rare and commendable exceptions, your sons and daughters have not donned IDF
uniforms and sat on the front lines making Israel possible. Your grandchildren
have not been the targets of murderous terrorist attacks.
But now the
clock is ticking, and you have something you can do to help Israel.
opinion, you can do it while significantly helping America’s interests at the
same time. You can vote out Obama and vote in a real ally of Israel, and a
stronger leader of the free world, one who will not be bowing to the king of
With all my love, Naomi