I was admittedly frustrated by Jewish support for soon-to-be President Obama during election time in 2008, but ultimately, I understood. I understand that American Jewry is true to the term itself; we are Jews who are American. We are American in the sense that we are patriots, and we identify with America's noble pursuit of freedom, liberty, and justice. We're only a generation or two removed from one of history's darkest examples of oppression and complete absence of justice, and thus we identify with the oppressed among us.
We want healthcare and equality for all. We want a system of education that does not discriminate and that cultivates a productive, thoughtful, forward-thinking generation of young people. No argument here. I sincerely hope that in the near future, American Jewry will only have to concern itself with these issues;I sincerely hope that we will live in a world marked by peace, in which domestic affairs in our respective countries are legitimate, primary concerns.
The issue at hand, however, is that we do not live in that world. We live in a world at war, and though your average American does not 'feel it' - the American Jew should feel it. Currently, the fundamentalist Iranian regime is building a nuclear arsenal and has simultaneously called for the complete obliteration of the State of Israel.
Perhaps you only vacation there, or you've visited once, shed a few tears at the Western Wall and moved on - or maybe, you have a meaningful relationship with the homeland - regardless, the destruction of the State of Israel would change the face of American Jewish life, permanently. It would also serve as an indication that the Jewish people failed to overcome the obstacle of hatred, and that the rest of the world failed to see it coming. Again.
You may shake your head and sigh at the thought, for it isn't a pleasant one; you may even find your mind wandering, wondering how you might feel if Israel were 'wiped off the map.'
Who are you?
You hear about the controversy in Jerusalem. You know that in 2008, President Obama verbally reaffirmed what we already knew - Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the State of Israel. Now, less than two years later, he has demanded that Jews not live in certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem, based solely on the fact that they are Jews.
These issues, along with the rest of the turmoil in the region, spark your interest in a news story and I'm certain that from time to time, it's dinner conversation. But you, the American Jew, have not made this region a political priority. You, the American Jew, support President Obama and cite his domestic policies as your reason. I'm not writing to debate the president's domestic policies, I'm writing to redefine them as secondary in importance. Diplomacy is failing in Iran, the rhetoric only gets more intense, and your president, the Great Pursuer of Freedom and Righteousness, is preoccupied with where Jews live in their own capital city.
Where are your letters? Why are you rejoicing about healthcare when your president is betraying the people who, like it or not, are the very core of who you are and where you come from?
President Obama has potential to do good in America, and I truly believe that in regards to many, many issues. He also has potential to be known as the president who dropped the ball with Iran and betrayed the Jews on so, so many levels.
My message to American Jewry is really only in the form of a question - who are you? Have you forgotten?