Robbie Michaelson
Neither Right Nor Left - Just Passionate

From the Outside looking In

We currently find ourselves in North America and it is proving to be a eye-opening experience. There exists a gigantic disconnect between many American Jews with what is going on in the State of Israel and in the world in general. It is more than shocking; it is like our American cousins have learned nothing from history and don’t even seem to care.

We just left Washington, DC, where the monuments to freedom and a positive nationalism stand in stark contrast to the actions and policies of America’s chosen leaders. When an outsider comes to America, especially from tiny Israel, one cannot help but be impressed with how big and powerful America really is. And then you turn the television on and see a major American network granting an interview to today’s symbol of tyranny and oppression, Hassan Rouhani of Iran. One wonders would ABC have also interviewed Hitler had they been able to score an “exclusive interview”?  If you look at the make-up of ABC news there are plenty of American Jews in positions of influence but none voiced opposition to giving Rouhani a platform.

At the same time, and in the same city, New York, Malaysia’s blatantly anti-semitic leader, that 94 year old Jew-hater Mahathir Mohamed, was invited to appear at Columbia University to spew his hatred for Jews. Apparently the people who run Columbia can’t tell the difference between “freedom of speech” and the promotion of “hate speech”. And once again, in the most Jewish City in America Mohamed was able to slander Jews and question the holocaust with impunity.

In Washington we had dinner with distant family that we actually met for the first time. They are both successful high-profile attorneys and both have never been to Israel. The conversation soon drifted to politics and the Middle East and we were shocked to hear that they would vote for anybody but Trump and that they didn’t understand why we would at this moment in history question the so-called “two state solution”?

What our American Jewish family hadn’t reckoned on is that we both have the knowledge and life in Israel experience to tell them in a sometimes not so friendly tone that being progressive might be a virtue but it is not necessarily a value; that the potential presidencies of a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, or any of the other current Democratic presidential candidates, pose a threat to the security of the State of Israel. And that furthermore, such a scenario would definitely not be in their own narrow Jewish interests and might ultimately threaten their own well-being.

Many of the Jews in America haven’t got a clue about what is really going on in the Middle East. They don’t know much about the post-election goings on in Israel. They know nothing about the situation on our borders and most of them have bought into the pipe dreams that appeasing Iran to avoid war and “giving” the Palestinians a state of their own are a panacea for many of the area’s problems. Call it blissful ignorance or just plain disinterest but American Jewry does not equate the support for the State of Israel as being a very high priority. They would rather fight for globalisation, open borders and political correctness; all under the guise of progressivism.

Going to synagogue or temple on the high holidays is no substitute for understanding and supporting the values for which Israel was reborn. If America’s Jews continue to put their so-called Jewish values ahead of strongly supporting Israel then they will ultimately lose their identity and maybe even their lives. And that is because, at the end of the day, American Jewry’s long-term survival is intertwined with that of the State of Israel – whether they know it or not!

About the Author
First came to Israel as a volunteer after the Six Day War. Made Aliyah in 1972, served in the IDF, stayed in Israel for 4 years. Returned again to live permanently in Israel in 2017. Am widely traveled & strong supporter of Zionism. Have an M.A. in International Relations from McGill University.