Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has strongly criticized Democrats in Congress for not speaking out against the Obama administration’s anti-Israel tilt.
Koch, who himself served as a Democrat congressman from 1969 to 1977, wrote in his April 20 weekly commentary: “The silence continues to be deafening with no Democrat in Congress to my knowledge crying out against President Obama for continuing to try to diminish the U.S.’ closeness to Israel. The President is apparently attempting to placate the Sunni Muslim countries…The President fails to realize, however, that sacrificing the U.S.-Israel relationship is both unnecessary and dangerous…Only through steadfast U.S. support of Israel will the Arab countries realize that the Jewish state is here to stay. That, in turn, will lead to peace.”
Koch was particularly critical of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York. Koch wrote previously that when he challenged the Democrats’ silence on Israel, Schumer contacted him privately to say that he was “working behind the scenes” to alter U.S. policy. Now, in his April 20 commentary, Koch wrote:
“There are those, when asked what they are doing to challenge and defeat the President’s actions with regard to these grave matters, who have answered, ‘I am working behind the scenes.’ Those corridors must be heavily crowded and those hidden efforts do not appear to have produced results. I repeat, the silence is deafening.”
Koch said that two recent congressional letters concerning Israel, which inexplicably were sent to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton rather than directly to President Obama himself, were “toothless” and ineffectual. “The letters consist of a platitudinous statement of why the U.S. and Israel are allies, but do not criticize the President or convey to him that Congress will oppose his efforts to change the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Koch wrote.
Koch added: “Even more shocking is that some key Senators were unwilling even to sign the toothless letter. One can only speculate why the following Senators declined to sign – John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee; Dick Durbin (D-IL), Democratic Party Whip; Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader, and others. Was it due to agreement with the President’s plan? Was it fear of the President? I suspect agreement.”
Recent remarks by U.S. officials suggesting that Israeli policies could endanger the lives of American soldiers are nothing less than a “blood libel,” a prominent Baltimore rabbi has warned.
Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Tfiloh in Baltimore, said in a sermon marking Israeli Independence Day (April 18):
“Israel is not only now being blamed for hindering peace with the Palestinians, talk has started to boil to the surface that Israel is to be blamed for the death of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a libel–this is a blood libel! We’ve heard these accusations before, but they always came from the extreme fringes; from the Pat Buchanans and others of his ilk. Now the talk is becoming more mainstream…
“In a statement later denied, Vice President Biden was quoted as telling Prime Minister Netanyahu, ‘What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.’ U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus sends a statement to the Pentagon with a stark warning: ‘America’s relationship with Israel is important but not as important as the lives of American soldiers’…
“A recent editorial in USA Today included these frightening words: ‘If Americans whose own family member’s lives are at risk every day in Iraq and Afghanistan come to believe that Israel’s action needlessly increase that risk, support would be jeopardized’…
“The only thing that could change the [pro-Israel] feelings of Americans would be if our country’s service men and women were dying because of Israel. And a mood is emanating from Washington that could lead people to believe just that! What else is one to make of Mr. Obama’s statement this week that the Middle East conflict was “‘costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.’ What a horrible thing to say! The truth is, the Middle East conflict is affecting the blood and treasure of Israeli boys — not Americans. No American blood has been shed for Israel but plenty of Jewish blood has been! A real friend would not say this is Israel’s fault.”
Read the complete text of Rabbi Wohlberg HERE:
By Benyamin Korn
The Obama administration’s tilt against Israel, its tacit acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran, and its weak approach to combatting Islamic terrorism all pose a direct challenge to Jewish Americans.
Governor Sarah Palin has described the “Obama doctrine” in United States foreign policy as “coddling our enemies while alienating allies.” Ms. Palin has emerged as the leading public voice in opposition to President Obama’s dangerous new direction.
For these reasons, my colleagues and I are launching a national organization of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, supported by the new web site, JewsforSarah.com – A Home Page for Jewish Independents.
JASP is comprised of academic, religious, and community leaders who are dedicated to promoting consideration of Gov. Palin’s policy positions in the wider American Jewish community. We are entirely unconnected to any other political campaign or fundraising organization.
We find Ms. Palin’s positions on Israel, Iran, national security, fiscal responsibility, energy, and social policy – as well as her record on these issues as governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice President of the United States – to be serious, substantive and politically mainstream. Though not at present a candidate for any office, Gov. Palin’s track record in public office has been exemplary, and has withstood the test of the most demanding scrutiny of investigative news media.
In her time, Margaret Thatcher was first dismissed as unintelligent, unsophisticated, the wrong gender, and incapable of taking her place among the world’s statesmen. In the end, she proved her detractors all wrong and restored Britain’s economic, political, and national security institutions to their former greatness. Today and for posterity, she is reckoned among the handful of pivotal world leaders of the late twentieth century.
Likewise, Ronald Reagan was initially looked upon with scorn, both by American Jews and even by many conservatives. Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz recently wrote that his early support of Reagan’s 1980 presidential candidacy was greeted by his friends with derisive remarks about “this B-movie star.” In the end, conservatives came to respect and then revere Reagan.
In the 1980 election, 60 percent of American Jews deserted President Jimmy Carter, with most of them voting for Reagan. Podhoretz sees a parallel to Sarah Palin. So do we.
In recent days, prominent Jewish leaders and other Jewish political figures have publicly challenged President Obama’s foreign policy in terms that were unimaginable only a few weeks ago. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a life-long Democrat, has excoriated the president for “demeaning and slandering” Israel. “There is a foul whiff of Munich and appeasement in the air,” Koch writes.
Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman has raised the prospect of a Jewish march on Washington to protest Obama’s tilt against Israel. World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder has taken out full-page ads in major American newspapers to criticize Obama for pressuring Israel to retreat to the “indefensible borders” of 1967.
Democratic U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has characterized the president’s refusal to include militant Islam in his list of terror promoters as “offensive” and said it “contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to ‘know your enemy.’ “
President Obama’s disgraceful personal treatment of Israel’s prime minister on his official visits to Washington, and the ugly personal tone that the president himself has injected into U.S.-Israel relations, has angered even many of his supporters and driven Obama’s personal popularity to an all-time low among the Israeli public.
The suddenness of the president’s change in his policies toward Israel, after having campaigned vociferously in 2008 as a friend of the Jewish State, has caught many in the American Jewish community off-guard. No longer.
We believe it is time for American Jews to declare independence from President Barack Obama. And we believe that Gov. Sarah Palin’s heartfelt and unflinching support for America-Israel friendship reflects the true spirit of the American people, among whom love and respect for the Jewish State has never faltered.
April 18, 2010 – 5th of Iyar, 5770
Israel Independence Day – Yom Ha’Atzma’ut
Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“I would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”
With those words, Norman Podhoretz has fired a shot-heard-round-the-blogosphere at those conservative intellectuals who have looked askance at Gov. Sarah Palin.
Writing on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal on March 29, Podhoretz not only broke with many fellow-conservatives regarding Palin, but also gave a huge boost to Palin’s supporters within the American Jewish community.
In his essay, Podhoretz compared the response of some conservative intellectuals to the rise of Sarah Palin to the response of some conservatives to the 1980 presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan.
“It’s hard to imagine now, but 31 years ago, when I first announced that I was supporting Reagan in his bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, I was routinely asked by friends on the right how I could possibly associate myself with this ‘airhead,’ this B movie star, who was not only stupid but incompetent,” Podhoretz wrote.
While conservative intellectuals acknowledged that Reagan’s views were much closer to their own than those of President Jimmy Carter, they cringed at what they saw as “the embarrassing primitivism with which he expressed them.”
Podhoretz quoted Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol as pointing out that Gov. Palin’s views, too, “are much closer to those of her conservative opponents” than to isolationist or “moderate” Republicans.
Podhoretz noted that on foreign policy, for example, Gov. Palin may have had less direct experience than her vice presidential rival, Senator Joseph Biden, but Biden “was wrong on almost every major [foreign policy] issue that arose in the 30 years he spent in the Senate.” And “what she does know–and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan–is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama…has yet to learn.”
What then, accounts for some conservative intellectuals’ dislike of Gov. Palin? “Class bias,” according to Podhoretz. They are personally uncomfortable with the “Tea Party rabble.” They do not really feel any sense of personal kinship with the ordinary conservatives “who see [Gov. Palin] as one of them, only better able and better positioned to stand up against the contempt and condescension of the liberal elites…”
After more than a year of watching the Obama White House “in action,” Podhoretz wrote, “I hereby declare that I would rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party, and I would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama. .”
As editor of Commentary magazine for more than three decades and the author of numerous critically acclaimed books and essays, Podhoretz, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,
is widely regarded one of the leading Jewish intellectuals of our era.
Under Podhoretz’s leadership, Commentary emerged as of the most influential intellectual journals in the United States. His publication of Jeane Kirkpatrick’s landmark essay “Dictatorships and Double Standards” in 1979 led directly to the choice of Kirkpatrick to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Reagan.
Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations. Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”
Today the president said he’ll “consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.” As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide. And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.
As an Alaskan, I’m especially disheartened by the new ban on drilling in parts of the 49th state and the cancellation of lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. These areas contain rich oil and gas reserves whose development is key to our country’s energy security. As I told Secretary Salazar last April, “Arctic exploration and development is a slow, demanding process. Delays or major restrictions in accessing these resources for environmentally responsible development are not in the national interest or the interests of the State of Alaska.”
I’ve got to call it like I see it: The administration’s sudden interest in offshore drilling is little more than political posturing designed to gain support for job-killing energy legislation soon to come down the pike. I’m confident that GOP senators will not take the bait.
Next week I’m headed to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where I look forward to discussing what “Drill, baby, drill” really means.
(March 31, 2010)
Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin is an independent group of academic, religious and political leaders, dedicated to promoting consideration of Gov. Sarah Palin’s political positions in the wider American Jewish community.
We find Ms. Palin’s policy positions on Israel, Iran, national security, fiscal responsibility, energy, and social policy – as well as her record on these issues as governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice President of the United States – to be serious, substantive and politically mainstream.
Though not at present a candidate for any political office, Gov. Palin’s track record in public office has been exemplary, and has withstood the test of the most demanding scrutiny of investigative news media. Gov. Palin’s ongoing contribution to the public discourse in America is welcome.