Viewpoint: Moral clarity in a time of crisis

BY ERIC SINGER

Published June 16, 2002

Two weeks ago, a viewpoint was written in the Daily, "The dangers of Christian Zionism" (06/03/02) criticizing the strong support Christian conservatives have given to Israel and Israel's war on terrorism. However, this strong support should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the conservative revolution of the '90s, as many ideological conservatives have supported Israel for years due to their clear vision of morality. After all, Israel is a democratic nation that stands for many of the same freedoms and principals that the United States stands for while the Palestinian Authority is a suppressive regime headed by a terrorist.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey's (R-Texas) strong support for Israel is totally based on principal, as no person in their right mind can accuse Armey of catering to the Jewish American constituency that gives him very little support. Armey correctly understands that Israel is a sovereign democratic nation that has the right to defend itself from terrorism. U.S. policy should not infringe on Israel's right to reclaim the West Bank and Gaza in order to protect its citizens from the terror that is harvested in these two areas.

Jewish American voters need to remind themselves of the Republican leadership's unequivocal support for Israel when they go to the ballot boxes in 2002. The Democratic Party cannot be a sufficient protector of Israel as many of the constituencies of the Democratic Party are ultra-liberals, who are extremely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Jewish Americans need to begin supporting conservative Republicans like Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in order for their pro-Israeli positions to become U.S. policy. If any substantial amount of Jewish Americans supported President Bush in the 2000 elections, Bush would not waiver so much on his Middle East policy as it is difficult for a president to be extremely pro-Israel without receiving the support of Jewish Americans.

One can only hope that in the near futureBush changes his policy on the Middle East, as many innocent Israelis continue to be victims of terror. The Palestinian claim to the land of the West Bank and Gaza is unfounded as Israel gained theses two territories through war. The notion of giving land for peace is ridiculous, as no people should be rewarded for terrorism. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist and Israel should never agree to any type of peace settlement that requires dealing with Arafat. Ariel Sharon's most important job as prime minister of Israel is protecting his people and if he thinks reclaiming the West Bank and Gaza will eliminate terrorism in his nation, U.S. policy should not stop him. President Bush can no longer waiver in his Mid-East policy. Bush needs to label Arafat as a terrorist and proceed from there.

President Bush needs to retreat to his conservative roots and fully support Israel's war on terrorism as other members of his party have. Bush cannot continue to act moderate in order to keep his poll numbers up. Moderates like Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice need to take a back seat in the administrations foreign policy and hawks like Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz need to take charge. Mid-East turmoil should not stop the United States from invading Iraq and pursuing other military operations in the war on terror. President Bush should not be afraid to act like a true conservative since he was elected as one. Republicans put Bush on the ballot because he was a conservative, not a moderate like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Although President Bush has not been staunchly pro-Israel in his foreign policy, it needs to be noted that mainstream American conservatism is pro-Israel. Radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are unabashed in their support for Israel and Republican Congressional leaders continually voice their support for Israel's cause. The fact that Israel is a Western Democracy with elected leaders is enough for conservatives to stand solidly with Israel, even though most American Jews do not vote for conservative politicians. It is time for Jewish Americans to move across the aisle and support the political party that will protect Israel. Hopefully, Jewish Americans will remember that it was President Clinton who brought Arafat to this country and legitimized him as a leader. Armey and DeLay will continue to be Israel's two greatest allies in American politics and it is time that Jewish Americans take this into consideration when they vote.

Singer is an LSA sophomore.