You are on page 1of 3

The two chief rabbis of Israel—one Ashkenazi, the other Sephardi—plus both their theological underlings and detractors

can't stay out of the nation's politics. They also won't keep their clammy hands forgi!e the non"kosher metaphor# off its e$che%uer. &ut they should be able to stay out of the American relationship to the 'ewish state. In fact, they endanger it and at no time more than now. It's not e$actly about high matters of state. It's actually a piece of rabbinical shulpolitik. (ona )etzger, Israel's short"on"learning high priest of the *uropean tradition in 'udaism, took the occasion of Shabbat +agadol, the great sabbath before ,asso!er, to deli!er to ,resident -bama not e$actly a piece of political ad!ice, but a political threat. +ere's how +a'aretz reported it. ...)etzger told congregants in a Sabbath sermon that if /.S. ,resident &arack -bama seeks reelection, he must release 'onathan ,ollard, Israel 0adio reported on Sunday. In the sermon deli!ered at (eshurun Synagogue in 'erusalem on Saturday, )etzger said there was a feeling that many American 'ews that had supported -bama in the last election were disappointed in him, in no small part because of -bama's indifference to ,ollard... 'If -bama wishes to dictate Israeli policy, he must show that he has mutual interests with Israel,' Israel 0adio %uoted )etzger as saying. The rabbi reportedly added that these 'mutual interests' should be shown through releasing ,ollard. I ha!e written at least twice about the ,ollard case in the last year. The only interest that would be ser!ed by the president releasing ,ollard would be to pacify and only temporarily# a no$ious minority of blackcoated religious fanatics in Israel who cannot be brought to reason on other issues e$cept through cash. That is, they can be bought to reason. So this short"time relief might be useful for the present go!ernment of Israel. The line"up of friends and enemies in international politics is not especially auspicious for the 'ewish state. If it can get one matter on the domestic agenda laid to rest, it will be a plus. &ut, especially as 0abbi )etzger puts it, it is an insult and offense to the /nited States. The chief rabbi seems to think that there is nothing wrong with Israel spying on America. To be sure, ,rime )inister 1etanyahu has written the president that, if ,ollard were to be released, 2Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will ne!er be repeated.2 I would hope so. I would e$pect so. In any e!ent, the rabbi is wrong. If fi!e percent of American 'ews !ote against the president in 3453 because he fails to free ,ollard, that

some related. titled 2Tear :as <ills a .aul do not think Israel an ally or e!en a friend.artiers. and mostly from the American perspecti!e.aul and son 0and . a 'enin woman who died after a demonstration in the city. The military has now released a report of the death that says nothing like this. and certainly not our democratic allies in *urope. An apology to Isabel <ershner. because I belie!e that this 1ew (ork Times reporter has an a$e to grind against Israel. let not we 9ionists be too casual about the 0epublican friends of Israel.rotester. especially in this long moment of unprecedented Arab unrest and distress. In any case. I deeply belie!e that Israel is absolutely correct. the administration's obsession with the . -bama and )rs. on these matters. It is true that some and e!en many American 'ews will not !ote to re"elect the president.would be a lot. only in some gauche and shallow way.alestinian problem. we know e$actly nothing about how the lady died. &ut I wronged her on 'anuary 54. some not. most of them maybe all of them# already !oted against -bama in 3446. &oth papa 0on . &ut what else is new8 Similarly.emocrats. She seems a bit put out that the ministry of defense suggests that she get a report from the hospital. I get this in a written message through an intermediary whom I trust. As of this writing. Anyway.alestinian . And she does grind it. The :-. not Asia.2 The Israeli military apparantly obfuscated the story with a report that she had died from an o!erdose of cancer medecine or some other mistreatment at the hospital. (ou may recall the case of 'awaher Abu 0ahmah. Israel has serious disputes with the -bama administration. not South America. &ut. re!eals how inapt and inept the administration is. =alt and )earsheimer and +elen Thomas. It's a bit hard for me to apologize to Isabel <ershner. (es. Their blindness to this casts a long shadow o!er the human rights commitments of the administration. )ore or less like the liberal . Still.arty is a gathering of isolationists. The Tea . 7linton still ha!e their eyes glazed about Syria and the remarkably bloody Assad dictatorship. There's going to be a big . he is in some !ague way committed to )uslim states. not Africa. +is palpable disdain for Israel—and it is palpable—will be one reason. American 'ews are certainly unaccustomed to a president who is committed to no one outside the /nited States. There are others. and I wronged her in a specific way. or at least those Tea . and its old bag of remedies. I regret writing that she had leapt to conclusions about the accident and attributing this to her biases. shows signs of re#turning to isolationism. and I suppose so does <ershner. alas. <ershner had written a story on 'anuary 5.

Aormer Senator 'ohn Aboureszk. I almost forgot.>amboree in =ashington from )ay 35"3?. American Ariends Ser!ice 7ommittee yes. the Aellowship of 0econciliation. And. There are other headliners who will address the audience.A7 take a good look at this.# Alice =alker.A7. is its most deser!ing sponsor. certified by the /ni!ersity of 7hicago as ditto. Then there are dozens of organizations including some you'!e heard of. The two headlined main speakers are the authors of The Israel @obby. 江江江江 . and 'ohn )earsheimer.2 1aomi <lein. If you want to get a more te$tured sense of who and what are aspiring to replace AI. It's called 2)o!e -!er AI. 0alph 1ader for one. and the =omen's International @eague for . that's the Buakers#. Stephen =alt. the &e!erly +ills sorority.2 +elen Thomas.I1<. She has hated the 'ews and Israel so long that the hatred is written in her face. the decades"long senescent doyenne of the =hite +ouse press corps. Think of all those silly 'ews who !oted for him in Alorida in 3444. 7-. A 'ewish woman identified only as a 2+olocaust sur!i!or. certified by +ar!ard as a great scholar of international relations.eace and Areedom.*. A rabbi without a congregation.