Sen. Barack Obama's views on the State of Israel have been the subject of much scrutiny in recent weeks. Obama has repeatedly stated that he and his advisors are staunchly pro-Israel, but these declarations have not satisfied Zionist groups, and the witch hunt continues. Many have pointed out his relationship with the pastor of his church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has criticized Israel in the past.
In the week preceding the primary in Ohio, which contains a sizable Jewish population, Obama met with dozens of Jewish leaders in Cleveland to address the concerns of the Zionists. The candidate went out of his way several times to reiterate his support for the notion of a "special relationship" between the U.S. and Israel, declaring that "the defense cooperation between the United States and Israel has been a model of success and I believe it can be deepened and strengthened." He said that Iran is the greatest threat to Israel and a major supporter of terror worldwide, and vowed to deal with it. And he spoke favorably of Israel "as a Jewish state".
But then he angered the Zionists by daring to express a small criticism of one of their political parties: "This is where I get to be honest and I hope I'm not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says that unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress. And, frankly, some of the commentary that I've seen which suggests guilt by association or the notion that unless we are never ever going to ask any difficult questions about how we move peace forward or secure Israel that is non-military or non-belligerent or doesn't talk about just crushing the opposition, that that somehow is being soft or anti-Israel, I think we're going to have problems moving forward."
The Jewish Press commented in an editorial, "So there we have it. A President Obama will decide for himself what is in Israels best interests and lean toward negotiations and incentives and against military action."
In the end, Hillary Clinton beat Obama in the Ohio and Texas primaries on Tuesday with the support of most Jewish voters, polls showed. Jews comprise only 1.3 percent of Ohios population but their proven practice of going to the polls in greater numbers than other demographic groups makes them an important voting block for candidates who are locked in tight races, according to Zogby polling company director Fritz Wencel.
Sen. Clinton has won the Jewish vote in every primary to date except for Connecticut, Massachusetts and California, where Jews backed Sen. Obama.
We are embarrassed by these belligerent Zionists who demand that a presidential candidate be unquestioningly loyal to the State of Israel, whatever policies it may choose to adopt. The President of the United States must be someone who acts in the interest of the United States, not in the interest of a foreign country.
The politics and policies of the Zionist state should play no part in governing the United States or in our elections. Rather, the focus should be on the needs of the American people. Jews in the United States are United States citizens and are as concerned with improving the lives of the American people as any other American citizens. Our politicians should be addressing the many problems we are facing here in the United States, not in the State of Israel.
As Jews, we must be ever mindful of the needs of our Jewish brethren, wherever they may live. But dragging the issues surrounding the Zionist state into American politics and constantly focusing on the Jews is counter-productive. It fuels anti-Semitism, furthers conflicts, and creates a potential danger to Jews worldwide.
Despite the impression given by the Zionists, we point out that most traditional Jews in America still view themselves as American Jews, not Israelis. Like any other voters, these Jewish voters will vote for politicians whose policies they believe are right for America.