We’ve Got Your Back, Mr. President

"We've Got Your Back, Mr. President" by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Hillary Clinton just said that despite Bibi Netanyahu’s diplomatic defense of “natural” settlement growth, NO EXPANSION will be tolerated by the Obama Administration. Holy moley, it’s music to my ears. I’ve read the article ten times over.

The Administration needs to know that American Jews support the President and don’t support Netanyahu’s right-wing views. BTShalom has launched a campaign to just that effect: “We’ve Got Your Back, Mr. President” (full pledge text below the fold).

So though I’ve said it elsewhere, I’m going to reiterate it here: I’ve got Obama’s back. The (however modest) dedicated political pressure of American Jewish doves will give the President the room to use all methods at his disposal, including various pressures on Israel. In a better world, Bibi would not be leading a right-wing coalition dedicated to Greater Israel and punishing Palestinians, and such concerted support would not be needed.

But we’ve waiting for an American government with the balls to take decisive, fair-handed steps towards getting concessions out of both sides. The public opinion polls of both Jews and Americans at large support it.

Yet the right-wing pro-Israel lobby will cry foul and do their best to prevent any Israeli concessions unless Palestinians become the Care Bears first. They accept the status quo of deprived Palestinian rights and safety without question. They accept the deaths of Israel’s soldiers in ongoing flare ups rooted in a lack of diplomatic relations. They care nothing for the lives of innocents in their desire to crush a wish for independence — such crushing has never succeeded.

We want the Palestinians to have a state, to join Israel as a nation as promised in 1948 by the UN. We want Israel to regain a place of rightful respect on the world stage, to move on with perfecting its social needs. We want the chance for negotiations with Syria and Lebanon to succeed also, for Iran’s misuse of the conflict to be curbed.

This isn’t a blanket support of whatever Obama does. It’s clear, principled support for American even-handed engagement in bringing both sides (however reluctantly) to the negotiating table and monitoring progress towards a fair agreement. Sign the online petition, join the Facebook cause, and learn more.

We’ve Got Your Back, Mr. President

Dear President Obama,

Please know that I share your sense of urgency to bring peace to the Middle East.

Therefore, I pledge:

  • to back your committed and persistent leadership in support of a negotiated two-state solution
  • to work within my communities to build the political will that will enable you to take decisive and bold steps — and to urge Congress to support you in this endeavor
  • to make it known that an American President who dedicates himself to establishing a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace acts in the best interests of Israelis, Palestinians, the United States and our allies
  • to support you in staying the course through difficult times and to celebrate your successes

In Hebrew, the words for wind and for spirit are one and the same — ruach. As you work for peace, I promise that the ruach of the American Jewish people and our friends in the pro-Israel community will be at your back.

14 Responses to “We’ve Got Your Back, Mr. President”

  1. Thank you for your leadership KFJ — and for supporting peace with justice. This is a good step!

    Mary Romer · May 28th, 2009 at 12:00 am
  2. Did you guys see the Doha debate on the “get tough with Israel” resolution? I don’t have the link but Google does.

    Michael W. · May 28th, 2009 at 9:01 am
  3. Hey, this article got quoted by Christian Science Monitor: www.csmonitor.com/2009/0528/p99s01-duts.html


    Kung Fu Jew · May 28th, 2009 at 5:26 pm
  4. Il Duce’ Obama should maybe call for the repeal of the Fair Housing Act here as a symbolic gesture in support of Arab demands for NO Jews allowed.

    falconflight · May 28th, 2009 at 8:06 pm
  5. “Yet the right-wing pro-Israel lobby will cry foul and do their best to prevent any Israeli concessions unless Palestinians become the Care Bears first.”

    I’d hardly call myself “right-wing” but I think it’s generally accepted as fair in the world that countries don’t give things to people who spend their days promoting terrorism. While the image of a society of carebears (what’s your sign?) is pretty terrifying when I visualize it, peaceful relations seem pretty important if we’re to be neighbors and eliminate the “bumper zone” so to speak…just a thought.

    beershevaboheme6 · May 29th, 2009 at 12:51 pm
  6. go ahead. support a state for a Holocaust denier like Abu Mazen that would make Israel unsustainable. you can’t logically support a Palestinian state unless they agree to a Jewish one. you hope for vapor! I will protect your back when Obama attempts to back stab you. some of us aren’t easily fooled.

    Noah David Simon · May 29th, 2009 at 1:02 pm
  7. i disagree with bibi, and support a two state solution. I am however very uncomfortable with an open clash between the US admin and the Gov of Israel, and I hardly want to encourage the Obama administration to pursue one. I think the issue of natural growth in the settlements (INCLUDING, note well, settlements close to the green line which are 100% certain to be annexed to Israel in any conceivable peace treaty) is ground on which much of middle Israel, and certainly almost all of Bibis coalition, is united. It is NOT the issue to break the coalition, or to win israelis not already committed to the peace camp over to Obama’s POV.

    As such I cannot
    watch Obamas back (presumably against Jews who support Bibis position, or who oppose pressure on the GoI in principle). I want peace, but not at the cost of furthering the rift in Am Israel (aside from the fact that I dont think furthering that rift will enhance the stability of said peace)

    justayid · May 29th, 2009 at 1:32 pm
  8. Since when do you speak for American Jews as a whole? Furthermore who says all American Jews don’t agree with the right-wing in Israeli Politics?

    Daniel · May 29th, 2009 at 3:55 pm
  9. The “pro Israel lobby,” are everyday, freedom loving people, who do not equivocate good and evil, do not turn a blind eye to some of the most vicious vitriol a society (you guess which one) has ever invented, nurtured, and propagated from the Protocols of Zion, to Jews stealing Arab babies for their blood, to using Mickey Mouse/Sesame Street characters to foment the screed that Jews are descendents of “apes and pigs,” and on and on and on. You keep loving the culture of death, it somehow fits your internal needs.

    Fort Worth Texas

    falconflight · May 29th, 2009 at 10:08 pm
  10. Boheme, my point was to say that Israel’s security demands are reasonable as an outcome of negotiations, but Israel’s history of demanding that a poorly-equipped and fragmented Palestinian people manage to restrain all terrorism BEFORE negotiations being is to mock the very purpose of negotiations.

    Kung Fu Jew · May 30th, 2009 at 3:53 am
  11. but Israel’s history of demanding that a poorly-equipped and fragmented Palestinian people manage to restrain all terrorism BEFORE negotiations being is to mock the very purpose of negotiations.

    This is true during the time-periods when the Israeli government is uninterested in negotiations (like currently.)

    But, it simply isn’t ALWAYS the case–see 1993-1996, and July 2000-January 2001.

    Jonathan1 · May 30th, 2009 at 10:45 pm
  12. Jonathan, did I say it was always without exception?

    Kung Fu Jew · May 31st, 2009 at 11:30 am
  13. Not everybody realizes it.

    Jonathan1 · May 31st, 2009 at 12:54 pm
  14. Settlement growth is the issue that enflares Palestian fury and helplessness, and is simultaneously the easiest Israeli concession to make. Natural growth? So you can’t buy a house next to your mom? The country is only a six hour drive from top to bottom! How far from your parents can you be? We can see through this natural growth excuse:

    The right-wing coalition is against all territorial compromise. Period. That is not an opinion the majority of Israelis hold. To halt settlement growth is an easy accommodation to make in exchange for what Israel needs — an end to incitement in the territories.

    Criminy. That Bibi has made this issue appear to be a huge effort is his biggest achievement.

    Kung Fu Jew · May 31st, 2009 at 11:14 pm

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik