What's good for the Jews?

In this pre-Christmas season, when many Jews in the U.S. feel left out of all the goings-on, how exciting it must have been to attend the Republican Jewish Coalition conference held last week in Washington, D.C. Candidates for the 2012 election against President Obama appeared and promised Israel their enduring love and affection. One after the other (except Ron Paul, who did not attend), they groveled and out-promised each other just how much they adored Israel, way more than their competitors.

Before 360 assembled self-styled poobahs and big check writers, wearing “Obama, Oy Vey” buttons, the candidates all but promised to give Israel Egypt, let alone more of Palestine. Jon Huntsman told the crowd that his best friend in China was Israel's ambassador there. Mitt Romney said his first trip abroad as president would be to, guess where, Israel. How those Mormons love to travel and to proselytize.

Rick Santorum said the U.S. should strike against Iran and save Israel the trouble, switching the roles of geopolitical principals and agents. Newt Gingrich, not to be out-rhetoricized, said he'd fire the current ambassador to Belgium for his recent comments about Israeli-Palestinian difficulties (as if a new president from another party would not automatically appoint his own ambassadors). Rick Perry prayerfully told folks he's already been to the Wailing Wall and Masada, suggesting, I suppose, that he has much to cry about and that he too has been slaughtered recently. Michele Bachmann told the crowd that she spent a year after college living on a kibbutz. And she is in favor of more settlements (Syria may be up for grabs soon). She reported that she has found a donor to pay for the U.S. ambassador's next home in Jerusalem, when she moves it from Tel Aviv. She signed off with “Shalom Aleichem,” this from a lady who cannot pronounce “chutzpah.”

America, the Judeo-Christian model, never had it so Jewish. As if being Jewish is the same as being Israeli. Believe it or not, Republicans, while all Jews in America have a special place in their hearts for Israel, we all do not equate our allegiance to U.S. well-being to anything goes for Israel. Really. As Jeremy Ben Ami, the head of J Street, an American support group for Israel, but not one that supports anything Israeli politics proposes, reminded that it is in Israel's interest to deal with its current problems with something less than abject supine encouragement of any "cockamamie" notion, such as those the candidates offered up this week in Washington.

Jon Stewart described the conference as a Republican “Toches” Kiss Off*, reminding all that the strongest form of criticism is humor. The Republicans have brought in their clowns, and observers see it for what it is — a sad joke posing as elevated politics.


Ronald Goldfarb is a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer, author and literary agent.


 

* Toches-lecker — Brown-noser, apple-polisher, ass-kisser