Posted by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
There is a great deal of ferver among the pro-Israel camp in reaction to Mitt’s verbal commitment to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv. However, will Romney as a President move the American Embassy to Israel’s capital Jerusalem?
Don’t hold your breath.
A long line of presidential hopefuls from both parties have promised that when they are president they will move the embassy.
And a long line of presidents, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have wavered and delayed the move to Jerusalem sighting the needs of “American interests.”
For example, the Associated Press reported in 2001:
The Bush administration said ... that while the president remains committed to starting a process to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital, the mission will stay put. During his campaign, Bush promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, an act that would lend support to Israeli claims to the city as its undivided capital.
W. who is hailed as a great friend of Israel backed down. He didn’t want to upset the Saudis most likely, and other Arab nations.
Clinton didn’t move it, and Obama has delayed a decision so often that it seems unrealistic that he will act now.
So why are Jewish Republicans, and the strong pro-Israel camp so impressed? I presume that they are trying to woo American Jews to back Romney and score some points against Obama.
As a strong backer of Israel, I am also realistic. As long as America is dependent on Arab oil to fuel the economy, no American president can make the risk of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. There is no doubt it would be risky.
The Saudis have always been against any American move that would show support of Israel’s claim that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Other Arab nations galvanized by the Arab Spring would also revolt against such a move. The recent Islamist victories do not favor any change vis a vis Israel and Jerusalem.
This is not rejection of Romney, but our votes and our support for him or any candidate cannot be pinned to an issue as highly political and charged as relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem. As we know from both history and current events, all issues that involve Israel and oil are truly a concern of the the US President and not of a presidential candidate.
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July 23, 2012 | 8:35 am
Posted by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
We mourn the 12 victims and 58 wounded in the senseless slaughter in Aurora. We also mourn the suicide bombing that murdered five Israelis and two Bulgarians, and wounded dozens of Israelis in Bulgaria.
These two horrific events are tied together chronologically and also on a communal level. These tragedies potentially could provide us with a catalyst to change the harsh polarization that is affecting both the American and Israeli society.
Today, deep political divides have polarized communities in America and Israel. Opposing sides lash out in anger and vitriol, fragmenting our societies.
These tragedies occurred at precisely the time of greatest sadness for the Jewish people. During these three weeks Jews worldwide remember their persecution from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE to the Holocaust and today’s terrorism.
The Jewish Sages tell us that these Three Weeks of sadness were precipitated by national strife. Baseless hatred and disunity destroyed Jerusalem and caused the expulsion of Jews from the Holy Land. It set the stage for the next 2000 years of numerous persecutions.
The tragedies in Bulgaria and Aurora did not occur because of the current state of strife. Rather, attempting to help us all cope with the emotional impact of these tragedies can help us bridge the gaps that divide us.
A nationwide realization that people on all sides of these divides have been deeply affected by these events can help us see our common humanity. This understanding can help us begin the process of healing the disturbances caused by our divisions.
Let us transform strife into unity. Let us conquer fear with compassion. Let us soften this period of loss with acts of kindness and caring. Let us add to the healing over the tragedies and ensure that the loss of life results in some positive growth in society.
May God comfort the families and friends of victims, heal the dozens of wounded, and bring us all peace and unity.