Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2004 / 13 Mar_Cheshvan, 5765
Request to my fellow Jewish Dems: Keep your eyes on Bush's record
When I was in grade school, my ophthalmologist asked me if my vision was blurry. I didn't know, because I was used to seeing the world one way a way that worked pretty well for me. I resented the doctor and nurses who wanted to alter my way of seeing. Most of all I feared being made to look uncool or what I thought was uncool by having to get glasses.
Years ago in a college political science class, I read a study that found Jews, more than any other American cultural group, tended, when voting, to weigh a candidate's record more heavily than party allegiance or other, more superficial, factors like a candidate's style or appearance.
This election year I have been reminded of both these formative experiences. I can only hope that by Election Day, my coreligionists particularly those who care deeply about Israel will recognize George W. Bush as the best friend we have ever had in the White House.
I am a Democrat, and I did not initially support President Bush. But I have decided to keep an open mind and consider what this President's policies have been toward the Jewish state.
For starters, the big point: to his everlasting credit, even before September 11, this president did not pressure Israel to make concessions to a terrorist Palestinian leadership. In taking this position, he is respecting Israel's right, as a sovereign nation, to deal with its own enemies in its own way.
To those of you who would protest, "But George Bush has abandoned the peace process!" I would ask you to consider that a peace process that rewards terrorism, that greets concessions with suicide bombings, is less than worthless. At Camp David in 2000, Arafat outright rejected President Clinton's and Ehud Barak's offer of a Palestinian state which would have shared Jerusalem, as its capital, with the Jewish state. Can anyone at this point fail to grasp that current Palestinian leadership simply does not want peace, except at the price of Israel's destruction? It is painful, but if Israel is ever to have hope of reaching a genuine peace with its neighbors, we must face this reality.
Peace will be possible only when Palestinian leadership understands that terrorism will not be appeased, and stops brainwashing its children to hate. In the words of the Dalai Lama, "Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace." President Bush is a faithful friend to Israel, and to the world, because he understands this truth. He has not forced Israel to make endless concessions in a one-sided "peace" process, because he understands that current Palestinian leadership is not acting in good faith.
President Bush has presided at a time when world opinion has been almost unanimous in one-sided condemnation of Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Under his leadership, the United States vetoed a United Nations resolution in July in which representatives of virtually every country on earth ganged up to condemn Israel for building a security fence to protect its citizens. This president does not let the fear of lost popularity erode his convictions, and while I do not agree with his stances on all issues, I recognize that in this instance, this character trait has enabled him to stand firmly against groupthink in the United Nations that unfairly condemns Israel.
He is a friend of Israel because even before September 11, he refused to host Yasir Arafat in the White House, recognizing the true nature of the man, and the utter futility, if not evil, of elevating this notorious terrorist to the stature of statesman.
Finally, George Bush is a friend of Israel because he has been openly supportive of Israel's security fence, and tacitly supportive of targeted assassinations of Palestinian terrorists strategies that are saving Israeli lives every day, and in the long run will no doubt save Palestinian lives as well.
I hope that when evaluating this president's record, my fellow American Jewish Democrats will keep an open mind, and recognize that seeing the world a little differently from the way we once did even appearing uncool to those who don't know better are small prices to pay for the blessing of clear vision.
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Heather Robinson is a New York-based journalist. Comment by clicking here.
© 2004, Heather Robinson