Jewish voters are not ignorant, will vote to support Israel
in 2004


To the Daily:

In Jason Z. Pesick’s recent column (Jewish Voting
Patterns: Tradition!, 03/18/04
), he not only fails to take a
cross-section of opinion from the 6,000 members of the campus
Jewish community, but also makes uninformed and misleading
allegations about the Jewish community’s knowledge of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will be an issue, although not
the deciding factor, in the 2004 election.

Pesick may be right that many American Jews do not have a
“sophisticated understanding of the (Israeli-Palestinian)
situation,” but here is what the American Jews do know: As of
1945, the Nazis had murdered over 6 million Jews. Three years
later, with hundreds of thousands of Jews in displaced persons
camps across Europe, the United Nations (with aid from the United
States) gave the Jews Israel as a homeland to ensure there will
never be another Jewish refugee. In another, thankfully futile,
attempt to destroy the Jews, Arab countries neighboring Israel
attacked her the day after her independence to destroy her
existence. They did the same in 1956, 1967, 1969 and 1973. In each
of Israel’s defensive wars, it prevailed and the safety of
the Jewish homeland was preserved. In each of these wars, the
United States stood by Israel and supported it.

The Israeli-Palestinian situation today is similar, although
instead of Jordanian tanks and Egyptian fighter jets, the Israelis
are defending themselves from homicide bombers aiming not for the
Israeli Defense Forces, but rather innocent people in clubs,
cafés and buses.

The American Jewish community knows this: Israelis, Jews and
Muslims are being slaughtered and the United States has been the
only country providing steadfast support for Israel in this time of
terror. American Jews know that Israel is the only democracy in the
Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims, men and women, can
vote in open elections. American Jews know that without U.S.
support for Israel, the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars would have crushed
the dream of “next year in Jerusalem” that Jews have
clung onto for thousands of years. Regardless of whether American
Jews have a “sophisticated understanding” of the
conflict, they will vote for the candidate who displays the most
promise for perpetuating the solid U.S.-Israel relationship. This
will be an important issue, but will not be the deciding factor for
most because American Jews are Americans and care just as much
about the economy and education as they do their religious ties to
a Jewish homeland in Israel. Will American Jews vote for Bush or
Kerry? Will Bush carry the 45 percent his campaign projects or will
Kerry carry 70 percent like past Democrats? The November election,
not Pesick’s accusations that the Jewish community is
unsophisticated, will answer those questions.

Jason, I cordially invite you to join the American Movement for
Israel at its formal debate on this very topic on Tuesday March 23,
at 7 p.m. in the Pond Room of the Union. Perhaps then you will be
qualified to make presumptions about how American Jews, especially
on this campus, will vote.

Jonathan Goldberg

LSA sophomore

Co-chair, American Movement for Israel

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