Our logo

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice

September 2005 > Watchpost > Friends

Our logo

Issue #3

News & Op/Ed
- New Orleans
- Gaza Dossier
- - Price for Peace
- - Update
- - Security
- - Refugee
- - Katif

- Thinking
- Roberts
- Frist
- Rice
- Perspectives
- War

In Their Own Words

Exponent  Watchpost
- Common Ground
- Israel's Friends
- Indictment

- Community Calendar
- Maccabi
- Emblem
- Crown Heights
- Bias
- Yeshiva
- Angle
- Ear
- Director

Living Judaism

Networking Central

The Kosher Table


Free Subscription

Contact the Editor
Copyright 2005 
Advertisement Policy

Previous Issues
- August 2005
- July 2005

Alan TuttlePart II: The Question of Israel's Friends


          As attention is turned from the Gaza withdrawal and next steps are considered, it is important to revisit the question that received a lot of attention in the Jewish community during the last Presidential election, namely 'Who is Israel's 'best friend?'' The Bush campaign and the RJC tried to make the case that the Bush administration was the friendliest of all time, an idea that was evidently accepted by more Jewish voters than in previous years. But cracks have begun to develop in this view, and as pressure will continue to mount on Israel in the coming months, it is important that all resources are rallied. The nature of friendship needs to be examined more closely.

 It is important to question an assumption frequently proclaimed in the Exponent:  that the Bush administration is Israel’s best friend ever. Yes, at times Bush has tacitly backed Sharon’s military actions against Fatah and Hamas, and eventually supported the idea of the Wall (after it seemed to prove effective). And arguably these moves on Israel’s part have resulted in a significant decrease in Israeli casualties from Palestinian attacks. But Israel having a ‘best friend’ (Bush et al) who is at least equally good friends with some of her worst enemies - Saudi Arabia’s government, for starters - should make her very nervous. The Bush administration’s most recent flip-flopping (sorry to resurrect that painful term) is an indication that their views are vulnerable to the wishes of the Saudis, and that supporters of Israel need to reach out to some other friends. It is time for progressive and conservative Zionists alike to work to strengthen ties with traditional Democratic coalition members and to reaffirm shared values, which are the basis of real long-term friendship.

In so doing, the illusion that international and domestic policy can run independently must once again being challenged. To fall for the idea that one can support politicians who are insensitive to economic justice, individual rights, and protection of the environment because of their temporarily ‘friendly’ foreign policy is a mistake. The value of economic justice challenges the Big Business/Big Oil alliance maintained by this administration and the oligarchies of the Middle East; the same goes for the value of individual rights. And the health of the environment will be continually threatened until the dependence on oil is abated, along with the dependence on those same regressive governments.