Michael J. Salamon


It’s a dawning realization – I can now be labeled as a neocon! I always fancied myself liberal. I have forever espoused liberal causes, I continue to impulsively take the side of the underdog, enjoy reading texts written by liberal authors and commentators and my own religious beliefs remain my own, allowing others to have their varied and unique approaches without bias or prejudice from me. I believe in live and let live. I and am a fan of the Skeptic column in Scientific American and constantly quote from Steven Pinsker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature and Amy Chua’s Day of Empire, all of which point out that it is a liberal approach of tolerance and the celebration of diversity that has allowed societies to grow and thrive in an environment of inclusiveness. But I have become a conservative in a few limited but significant ways in a process that has evolved over the last six years.
I can hear the argument that PM Netanyahu should not have accepted the invitation to speak to the US Congress just two weeks before his election and in the heat of Iran negotiations. But, this particular kerfuffle has given the US administration, perhaps the most liberal administration of the US in five decades, an excuse for key spokespeople the freedom to publicly use words like “destructive” and “foolish “or even calling Netanyahu a “chicken s _ _t”. When I think of destructive I see ISIS killing innocents and destroying 2000 year old museum pieces and Hamas randomly firing rockets funded and supplied by Iran, into population centers, and terrorists killing people because they do not like the politics they enjoy as part of a democratic society. When I think of foolish I see people deliberately wearing summer clothing in the wintertime or driving to a mall an hour away to save a few pennies on their purchase. I never recall using the phrase chicken s_ _t – I can only imagine it being used when hating someone. None of these words should be linked with a Prime Minister or the country he represents.
I am not alone in my shifting political stance. According to recent surveys a large number of liberally affiliated people are moving toward a more conservative stance. And it’s not just Jews. The question one must ask is why? Why the shift and why so much partisanism?
When the liberal agenda goes so far left as to paint a planned, coordinated and executed terror attack focused against Jewish shoppers in a kosher supermarket as a random one or an admistration that cannot see a nation bent on world terror as continuing to strive for dominance even while negotiating with them then we are not dealing in liberalism we are dealing in fantasy. It might be a beautiful fantasy, something I would so love to see – we can all somehow come together, hold hands, sing Kumbaya and the terrorists will join in, put down their Kalashnikovs, their swords and their nuclear bombs. And we will live in peace and harmony forever.
If only it could be! Fantasy is not reality. Liberal is not analogous with fantasy. We can be liberal but also practical and self-protective. Unfortunately, that has become less likely over the last six years.
When dealing with a child who is having a temper tantrum it is often best to tell the child that you will wait for them to calm down and when they do deal with whatever triggered their outburst. You cannot do the same with a terror group, a terror sponsoring country or an antisocial lone wolf. The child needs the parent’s attention and will learn from the exchange. The terror supporters believe they have nothing to learn, only to teach the world, and are willing to do so even if it means their own lives.
I read the New York Times and Haaretz. I do so for a variety of reasons. I do not always agree with Thomas Friedman or Peter Beinart. But, I too often question the philosophy of expanding the settlements. I question the wisdom of being too rigid and unyielding in negotiations. Nonetheless, I have questions not just for one side. It is unsettling to me that the American administration can be supremely and openly critical of Israel but nothing is said of the fact that the Palestinians have, for example, walked away from negotiations that presented very reasonable offers at least four times.
In a world where anti-Semitism in all its varied presentations are rapidly resurfacing I feel that I have no choice but to harden my views and be a bit more self-protective. This US administration is only contributing to the rising chaos by putting its liberal agenda ahead of the current reality.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Salamon ,a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is an APA Presidential Citation Awardee for his 'transformative work in raising awareness of the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse". He is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York and Netanya, the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Urim Publications), "Every Pot Has a Cover" (University Press of America) and "Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims."
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