Stop Manipulating the US-Israel Relationship

President Trump,

You are making support of Israel a partisan issue. You are insinuating that only one party can show loyalty to a particular country. That is naive, wrong and harmful. Stop it, now!

First of all, Jews are a people based on a shared religion. Who can say that any religion has a party affinity? That is preposterous! Isn’t the United States founded on religious freedoms? Since when is there a party for Jews, for Christians, for Muslims or Atheists? Religion and political party do not mix, not at our founding and not today. That is the brilliance and beauty of the separation of church and state.

Second, for a President of the United States who claims to love Israel and has significant achievements in his record to support that claim, dividing Israel into a partisan football is more dangerous than a nuclear Iran.

Israel and the United States share a deep rooted connection founded on common interests and shared values. Israel, by being the only democracy in the Middle East and a natural ally and partner, consolidates massive resources for the United States in the region. It is hard to fathom how much it would dent the United States economy if we needed to fund a US military enclave in the Middle East, outside of Israel. To make support for these values lopsided to only one side of the aisle is short-sighted and dangerous for all countries. The foreign-aid package creates billions of dollars of jobs in the United States. If that aid ceased, it would result in countless jobs lost and a massive hit to our collective economy.

Mr. President, surely your memory can dial back to just a few short decades ago when too many Republicans were fiercely against aid packages to Israel claiming it was fiscally irresponsible. While supporters of Israel were against those legislators, it was never made into partisan pie, like you are trying to do today. They knew then what we know now: it is far too dangerous to the long term stability and health of the State of Israel and United States interests to make support contingent on party affiliation.

Over the past 8 elections there have been 5 changes in party. Democrats and Republicans have always demonstrated bipartisan support for Israel. The Nation State of the Jewish people has seen a steady, bipartisan increase in foreign aid over Republican and Democrat presidents and Congress. Were support to be contingent on whether the occupant of the White House wears a donkey or an elephant on her/his lapel, might serve personal political ambitions, but hurts the current, and especially the future, of a strong US-Israel relationship.

Mr. Trump, much of your presidency has been accented with flippant statements, inflaming rhetoric and self-serving yet, baseless claims. I have spent much of my adult life celebrating my citizenship and working on bipartisan support for Israel. I will not sit idly by while you look to undermine these life efforts with your quick-triggered arsenal that might help your reelection campaign but are blind and deaf to the impact that will be felt years and decades after your term as commander in chief.

If you really are the President that loves Israel and the highest ranking representative of the party that feels the same, you should know that the United States – Israel relationship is bigger than any political affiliation. Please, stop this manipulative behavior now, before irrevocable harm happens to countries I love.

Respectfully,

Rabbi-David-Seth Kirshner

About the Author
David-Seth Kirshner is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, a Conservative synagogue in Closter, New Jersey. He is the past President of the NY Board of Rabbis, President of the NJ Board of Rabbis and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute. Rabbi Kirshner was appointed to the New Jersey/Israel commission and is a member of the Chancellor's Rabbinic Cabinet at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
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