THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Whether your feelings are those trust or distrust, adulation or vilification, you must admit that politically, Israel and the United States have never been more in each other’s favor. Previous American presidents were quick to assure Israel by telling them, “we have your back,” it goes unsaid, that with the current administration in Washington, the majority of Israelis cannot help but feel that “America has their heart.” One would therefore think that this year’s AIPAC conference that met Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week, should have been a piece of kugel. Think again. Yes, AIPAC can rightfully point to success story after success story, as it did at its recent gathering here in Dallas. It’s difficult not to shep naches, when you watch any number of elected American officials at various sites in Israel, proclaiming their support for Israel.  Fifty years ago, our President remarked: “We sure as hell can’t turn our backs on little Israel.” Here we are, fifty years later, watching many of our elected officials standing in line to smother Israel with hugs and kisses. I don’t feel that I would be overstating it if I said that as of now, political relations between Washington and Jerusalem are “as good as it gets.”

This past Sunday night, Shirah and I attended a wedding in Little Rock. We won the lottery when it came to the reception. We were seated with three other fabulous couples that I would have given anything, to bring back to Dallas, so they could join Tiferet. Among the topics we discussed, was that unwavering support on the part of American Jews was no longer a sure thing. The upcoming generation of American Jews, neither understands, appreciates nor realizes the importance of Israel, the way our generation does. For many of them, Israel is all too often seen as a country of Jews, rather than a Jewish country. For many of them, public criticism of Israel is their right. Broadcasting the foibles and flaws of Israel, is their way of showing their love and concern. They truly believe, that they were put on the face of this earth to “save Israel from itself.”

Should one ask them whether they would criticize their spouse in public, the way they criticize Israel in public; should someone ask them whether they are aware of countries in the world guilty of real atrocities, such as rape, murder, and mayhem taking place within their borders, and why they don’t speak out about such reprehensible behavior; should anyone ask them whether they have visited any Palestinian cities and have volunteered their time to help the very same people for which they take up the cudgel, more likely than not, they will dismiss you as a “racist,” much the same, as my generation typically called anyone who disagreed with them, a “fascist,” both meaningless terms, employed when meaningful response evades them. Aipac leadership is much aware of this;  Aipac leadership is very much concerned about this. Much to their dismay, whenever Aipac leadership looks at the upcoming generation of American Jews, Aipac leadership sees a “bad moon rising.”

Aipac leadership, together with most Jewish leadership in this country, is still reeling from the midterm election that recently took place. A recent article in the New York Times reports that “a group of freshman Democrats in the House, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashid Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has emerged as forthright critics of Israel and the United States’ policy tilt toward the Israeli government.” For the first time in a long time, tweets are circulating, that are both openly anti-Israel as well as anti-Semitic. Friends of Israel, they aren’t!

Time was, when it was politically incorrect to castigate Jews. That went out with Father Charles Edward Coughlin and his radio rants, along with the Dearborn Independent reprinting the anti-Semitic Protocols of Zion. Times however are changing. Now anti-Semitism, whether explicit or robed in Anti-Israel charges, is once again kosher, glatt kosher. And that’s ugly.

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. Despite its strong military advantage, despite the strong bonds that currently exist between American and Israeli, given the bad and the ugly that now have to be contended with, I cannot help but feel that Israel needs our strong support, now more than ever.

INVESTING IN ISRAEL FUTURES

Now that life has returned to normal for the vast majority of delegates to this year’s AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) convention, I take this opportunity to reflect on the future of AIPAC.  As a Jew and as a member of the Dallas Jewish community, I should be especially proud of AIPAC, especially since Lillian Pinkus, a landsman is now serving as president. As one who has participated in an AIPAC convention, as one who was in attendance at a recently held AIPAC event here in Dallas and as one who means no disrespect to AIPAC, I feel that it behooves AIPAC leadership to address the following issue:
If it’s true that for everything there is a season, then one does not have to be an economist, a politician or even a prophet to realize that somewhere down the line, Uncle Sam will rethink as well as reevaluate American Foreign Aid.
Given the brainwashing that is occurring on college campuses with Israel committing “unspeakable atrocities” against “poor Palestinians”, one must consider that today’s college students are tomorrow’s congressman.  It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that as important as AIPAC conferences are, AIPAC leadership might be well advised to channel its efforts to taking college students to Israel – especially those who are majoring in Political Science and Government. Birthright is doing a remarkable job. But Birthright is for college students who want to visit Israel; the trips AIPAC leadership should be planning are for college students AIPAC leadership wants to visit Israel.
Given the change in demographics in this country, it might very well be only a matter of time that Muslim Americans, patterning themselves after American Jews will lobby congressmen for foreign aid. Should this happen, then all of a sudden there will be ASPAC (American Syria Public Affairs Committee – given the scenario however implausible, that Syria will by then have been rehabilitated from the cesspool of terrorism we know it to currently be) or similar. At that point, Congress will have every right to say that we’re doomed from the start, because each side (American Jews and American Muslims) will accuse Congress of favoring the other side, regardless of what we do. And so, given this scenario, Congress might very well reach the conclusion that with the exception of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, the United States of America will henceforth no longer grant countries foreign aid.
However L’Dor Va Dorish we may be, we must realize that while support for Israel is sacrosanct to our generation, the next generation of Jews may neither see things nor feel the way we do, even when it comes to Israel. We were the generation weaned on the fictitious Ari Ben Canaan (played by Paul Newman in the epic movie Exodus).  Mention Exodus to the next generation, and at best, the second of the five books of the Torah will come to mind. If Exodus no longer conjures up Jews attempting at all costs to reach the shores of a yet to be born Jewish country because they have no other choice, then it would do well for AIPAC  leadership to work out some sort of game plan for the next generation. Military superiority and political astuteness aside, keeping Israel safe and secure is non-negotiable. Shouldn’t a well-informed and properly groomed upcoming generation of Jews who will be concerned about their roots as well as their Jewish homeland be non-negotiable as well?
A big Yasher Koach to AIPAC, given their astounding accomplishments.
Hallevai (if only) there is a big Yasher Koach down the line, in years to come to AIPAC  in that the next generation of American Jews will have taken up the torch and carried out the task that has been given over to them and expected of them.