After adding Fort Hood to his schedule and sending Rahm Emanuel to stand in for him at the UJC/Jewish Federations conference tomorrow, Barack Obama has added a stop-by to a UJC reception this afternoon to his schedule, the White House announced.
Well, the timing could not be better. Might some in attendance query Obama on how his settlement-freeze gambit worked out? Perhaps there’s a bold soul willing to ask the president why America is now in the business of extracting concessions from the Israeli prime minister in exchange for a meeting. Or there might be a few in attendance who’d like to know why we can’t take no for an answer from the Supreme Leader on an Iranian enrichment deal and what the president intends to do about it.
The mainstream Jewish community bought Obama’s campaign pitch hook, line, and sinker. He was in his heart a Zionist (a camp counselor was so very influential in his thinking, we were told). He was for a day committed to an undivided Jerusalem. And he was not going to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. All that and more convinced 78 percent of American Jews to cast their ballots for a figure who had little record on Israel and much in his background to give them pause (e.g., Reverend Wright). But now Obama has a record. He has spoken clearly that the problem with the Bush administration was its excessive closeness to Israel. He’s gone about fixing that one.
And what will the American Jewish “leaders” say now? It’s a critical time in the relationship between Israel and the U.S. and a moment in which an existential threat to Israel is plain for all to see — that is, all who want to see. They would do well to use their wine and cheese time to make their views known and to advise the president that, like all leaders, he deserves to be judged on his actions, which in this case should leave American Jews quite troubled. His record is one of hostility toward Israel, poor judgment, and abject failure when it comes to the Middle East. The candid evaluation of American Jewish “leaders” is long overdue.