March 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Leon Wieseltier, in a piece in TNR called "Oybama," on Barack and the Jews:

"With the exception of George H.W. Bush, I have heard every president in my lifetime lauded by American Jews as "the best friend Israel ever had," and I have heard every one of them, even Ronald Reagan, denounced as a pawn of the peace process. This Jewish need to believe in the friendship of the highest power in the land is a survival of the political mentality of medieval Jewry, with its preference for "vertical alliances" over any reliance upon the goodwill of the local population--a highly anomalous survival in the American case, in which horizontal alliances, at every level of politics, are a regular feature of Jewish existence. But the reassuring truth is that every president in my lifetime has pursued more or less the same policy toward Israel, according to which Israeli security is to be regarded (in Obama's fine word) as "sacrosanct," and a Palestinian state is to be created out of the occupied territories, and Israeli settlement of the territories is to be discouraged, and a concord of pro-American Arab states is to be encouraged, and so on--in sum, partition, a special relationship, peace, a regional alliance. There have been tonal differences, to be sure, and all these elements may finally not go together--but this is the tradition, and I do not imagine that Obama will deviate from it, or Clinton, or McCain. September 11 drew the United States into a new and deep and justified engagement with the Arab world, and American Jews will have to accustom themselves to this historical complication--but hold the kaddish, because in American presidential politics now there is not an enemy in sight."
This is so plainly obvious that I'm surprised it's not pointed out more often.

Posted by Stephen Silver at March 23, 2008 11:21 AM
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