For what seems like years, we in Britain have been debating about our membership of the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced that the UK will soon be holding a referendum to decide whether the UK should remain in or pull out.
A little bit of background for non-Brits: Many complain that Britain has lost its sovereignty and the country loses more than it gains. Legislation from the EUGC in Brussels doesn’t always suit Britain. European human rights laws have twice prevented the British Government from deporting terrorists to foreign nations (the U.S.A. and Jordan). Thousands of Europeans, mainly from Eastern Europe, are immigrating to the U.K., which Britain can’t limit as part of the Union. Furthermore, Britain pays out thousands of pounds to support failing European economies every day. However, Britons can travel freely in Europe. The free trade between nations is highly beneficial and there are more benefits, but I digress.
So Dave went to Europe to see if Angela Merkel (the German Chancellor, who thinks the future of Britain and Europe is a poker game) would let Britain off some of the requirements. But she said “no” to most everything. So as promised, the British public will choose whether to stay in a “reformed European Union” or “become Great again”.
There are strong arguments on both sides. Political leaders are going head-to-head in the campaign. But what about Israel?
How should British Jews vote? We all know it’s important. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and a big friend of Israel, is voting Out. Zak Goldsmith, a Jew and quite possibly the next Mayor of London, is voting Out. Will voting out benefit Israel?
The EU has made some bad moves regarding the conflict. Removing Hamas from a terrorist blacklist (or not removing it, but saying member states can fund it); declaring cities such as Modi’in as illegal settlements; everything that went on with labelling… the list continues.
Should Britain remain in the Union, to influence these decision? Or should Jews vote out, to distance ourselves from an organisation that doesn’t give unequivocal support to Europe?
I’ll let you in on a secret with my opinion. TBH, IDC. That is, “to be honest, I don’t care”.
Rewind. I care deeply about the Jewish State. I care deeply about the future of Britain. But there are soooooooo many more important factors in play here. Israel won’t really affect my vote in May.
The in-out referendum is just one, fairly weak example, of this widespread issue amongst world Jewry, in all Zionist circles. The problem is much more evident in the US Presidential Primaries and Elections.
I mean, an article analysing which of the Republican candidates are the best friend of Israel? Fine. It’s a factor to consider and a proper analysis is the proper way to go. But radical statements such as, “All Jews should vote Republican” on the basis that the Democratic Party isn’t as pro-Israel? If only that were the only problem to contend with. Here are some of the other issues at stake:
- Will you vote for a man who will make all Muslims carry ID and restrict their entry to the US?
- Will you vote for a man who believes that an out-dated phrase, taken out of context from a 200 year old bill, is more important than innocent lives? (When the second amendment was written, there was a real risk of the British coming back to America).
- Will you vote for a man who claims to be coming from outside of the establishment, but has been a congressman for 25 years?
- Will you vote for a woman, simply because the US has never had a woman in the Oval Office?
- Will you vote for someone who will fight to prevent “convenience” abortions, yet protect the right to an abortion in cases such as rape?
- Or will you vote for someone who will defend a woman’s right to an abortion from the over-interference of government?
- Will you vote for someone who believes in federal funds for contraception and compulsory sex-ed, helping to prevent teenage pregnancies and STDs?
- Or will you vote for someone who will stay true to Federalism, the compromise created by the Founding Fathers to divide power between the State and National Governments?
- Will you vote for someone who has a plan for sustainable healthcare funding?
- Will you vote for someone who has a good track record of representing their constituents?
- Will you vote for someone who refuses the support of superPACs or someone who takes their money?
- Will you vote for someone who has previously been negligent in office?
- Will you vote for someone who has a realistic approach to combating terrorism?
- Will you vote for someone who wants to close Guantanamo Bay or expand it?
Or will you disregard all of these factors and not vote for someone on the basis that they haven’t promised to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? (Let’s be honest, the reason it’s still in Tel Aviv is because they like being on the beach).
Will you refuse to vote for someone because they received advisory emails which anti-Israel? Even though they have expert knowledge in Middle Eastern affairs? Oh what the hell, screw ambiguity. I’m talking about Hillary in this one. (Remember, it was largely thanks to Bill Clinton that we came the closest to peace we’ve ever been in Israel’s history – and if it wasn’t for Yigal Amir, he might have succeeded, with the help of Arafat and Rabin).
I do get it though; religion is important to many. Myself included. But if you want to look at it from a Jewish perspective, Israel is just one aspect. A really important aspect. And sure, it’s a Mitzvah to live in Israel and we have got to look out for each other and the Jewish state. Sure, Israel should influence our decisions. Hell, if I go to a hustings event, I’m invariably “that Jew” who gets up and asks the Israel question. (There’s always one…). What’s the Jewish view on welfare? On healthcare? On abortion? On democracy? On gun control? On immigration?
I’m not American so I’m not telling anyone how to vote. I’m not saying any one candidate is better than any other. If you want my opinion, get me a rainbow bagel and I’ll consider sharing. I don’t like it when commentators such as Boteach start telling me what Jews in my country should do or not do, so I’m not doing that. This is instead a general message to Jews about voting. We love Israel. But don’t get blinded by it. Because to be honest, whether the Mayor of London is more or less pro-Israel is really unimportant. It’s not going to make the buses more frequent.