Yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a remarkable address to the Israeli Knesset – remarkable because it demonstrated a true statesman and leader’s support for Israel, something our own president could never do.“Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you,” Harper said, as reported by Israel Hayom. I couldn’t help but reflect on and compare our own president’s address to the Turkish general assembly or his speech at Cairo University with prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the front rows – heck, during his visit to Israel he didn’t even address the Knesset, instead holding a rah-rah rally at a local university.
Harper said he believed the story of Israel is a great example to the world:
It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading ‘start-up’ nation.You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking society, one that so values life you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists to save one of your own.
The Canadian Prime Minister also pointed out an insidious trend that I fear American Jews are missing completely: the rise again of anti-semitism in the West under the guise of criticism of Israel, cloaked in moral relativism.
In the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of a much more sinister notion can be easily planted. And so we have witnessed in recent years the mutation of the old disease of anti-semitism and the emergence of a new strain.
In much of the western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
Liberal American Jews (of which there are many) are complicit. Witness Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ foot-dragging in sanctions against Iran. I find it difficult to understand how the Jewish community can be so supportive of Obama when he is clearly not supportive of the Jewish State of Israel. Don’t forget his “off mike” exchange with then-French President Sarkozy about Prime Minister Netanyahu.Harper’s passionate support for Israel so incensed two Israeli Arab Members of the Knesset that they shouted at him and walked out, after he decried the characterization of Israel as an apartheid state.
Consider the irony — Arab representatives in the Israeli Knesset shouting at a visiting Prime Minister, and walking out. If Israel was such an “apartheid state” would that be possible? How many Jews sit as members of parliamentary bodies in Arab, or Muslim nations?Here where I live in South Florida there’s a large Jewish community. Just recently a dear friend and my personal doctor, Glenn Myers, told me about an exchange he had with a fellow shul congregant who told him firmly, “Republicans hate President Obama because he is black.”
Glenn asked me how someone could be so blinded by the truth? The simple answer is we have a liberal media that shields the truth and an electorate that, for whatever reason, rejects the truth.
No one “dislikes” President Obama because of his skin color. President Obama is not held in high regard for many reasons, but one of them surely must be because he would never have the courage or conviction to deliver an address like Canadian Prime Minister Harper.
What will it take for American Jews to understand the truth? We always say “never again,” but we had better take heed of this new strain of anti-semitism – and be honest with ourselves about who truly is a friend of the Jewish State.