Reagan For A Change (Vol. 46, Issue 2)
All around me, I hear political experts, media personalities, and stand-up comedians bewail the “Jack of choice” offered to the American voters in this year's Presidential election. It is ironic. For me, I have never been presented with so clear and distinct a choice.
This is the third time I can vote. In 1972, I was offered a choice between a disaster whose positions were so alien from those of my people that he couldn’t even eat a kosher frankfurter in Boro Park without prompting a scandal. (McGovern, in a highly celebrated gaffe, downed his glatt hot dog with a cool, fresh glass of Cholov Yisroel.) The Republicans, meanwhile, presented a candidate with solid pro-Israel credentials. But who could ever feel comfortable voting for Richard Nixon?
1976 was worse. Gerald Ford had just made American history by destroying an historic bond with Israel and prompting a formal review of our nation’s Mid-east policy; the infamous “reassessment” was a brutal pressure tactic which helped Heinz Kissinger force Israel to retreat from the vital Sinai regions holding the Abu Rodeis oil fields. Israel could not survive easily four more years of Ford and Kissinger. So I voted for Carter.
I do not regret voting for Carter. There was no choice. It was I and fellow Jews thinking along these same lines who made Carter our country’s 39th President. Had he been contained to a mere 60% of the New York Jewish vote, he would have lost New York State — and the shift of these electoral votes would have given Gerald Ford a lease on the White House for four more years.
No, I do not regret voting for Carter in 1976. It was a risk that had to be taken. I entrusted him with my mandate. He failed me and my people. This time, I vote for Reagan.
I do not know what four years of Reagan will bring. But I am optimistic. I dreadfully fear what four more years of Carter will bring. Let us look at the fellow’s sordid record:
Since Carter was elected, not a day has passed without new and fearful tensions emerging as obstacles to American-Israeli friendship. He has bad-mouthed Israel in the media. He has blamed Israel repeatedly for any and every Middle East difficulty. He has praised hard-line Arab states — and they are all hard-line when compared with Israel — for “Moderation” and “Calm Judgment.” Saudi Arabia — a nation which shamelessly called for a Jihad against the Jews — is on Carter’s list of “moderates,” Jordan — a state built for Arabs on the territory of Eretz Yisrael and ruled by a man who has no bond to the land or its people, a man who never stood for election, a man who never offered self-determination to his nation’s residents — is “moderate.” And of course Anwar Sadat is “moderate.”
This is the Sadat who supported Hitler in the 1940's. Who posthumously praised Hitler in 1953, long after the Nazi War Crimes had been exposed. Who invoked the name of Muhammad in calling for the expulsion of the Jews from the Middle East in the 1960’s. Who declared war against the Jews on the holiest day in our calendar. Who went to Washington, D.C. in 1975 to bewail the crimes of international Zionism (such as the time the Zionists gave orders not to sell Sadat any transistor radios . . .). Sadat is a moderate — for having agreed to take the Sinai, its oil fields, its air bases, and its strategic passes from Israel. In return, he has built a tunnel connecting Egypt to the Sinai, just wide enough to allow Egyptian tanks to pass through. He has broken off talks with Israel. He has been obtaining American, French, and Chinese military weapons.
We Jews have yet to pay the full price for the folly of Camp David and the catapulting of Anwar Sadat into the hearts of Americans as a modern-day saint. Let us not forget who brutally pressured Israel into Camp David.
Carter pressured the Israelis with pressure that high Israeli government officials could only call “brutal.” He imposed on the Jewish State terms which threaten her future existence. And he has manipulated America’s media, utilizing all the resources of the Presidency, projecting onto the American scene the image of Sadat as peacemakey and of Begin as “obstacle to peace.”
So often has he called the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria “illegal” and “obstacles to peace” that the American public has ‘begun’ to parrot his words. His leadership role in opposing Jewish rights to East Jerusalem has induced the nations of South America and Europe to follow the lines of American policy and to withdraw their embassies from Jerusalem. Worse, he has begun to foster doubts within the minds of the American people, Israel’s last allies in a sea of Jew-hatred throughout the world.
I do not blame Carter for his brother, the grubyan whose Jew-hatred is legend, I do not blame Carter for his sister who was prepared to speak at a “Jews for Jesus” conference aimed at converting Jews. I do blame Carter for his political appointments, in which he elevated low-level nuisances to positions of influence and power.
He entrusted Andrew Young with America’s United Nations mission, allowing him to sit in the chair once proudly occupied by Senator Moynihan. Young called Cuba a “stabilizing force in Africa,” Khomeini a “saint,” and the people of Sweden and Queens “racists.” He responded to the imprisonment of Anatoly Scharansky by noting that there are “more political prisoners in the U.S. than in Russia.” Young applauded PLO diplomats and met with them secretly.
Carter should have fired Young long before his meeting with the Arafat Gang. But he did not. He waited till it was too late — and, when he finally acted, he did so in a crass way, allowing the Jews to shoulder the blame for the removal of Young. Carter needed a scapegoat so that he could avoid incurring Black wrath. He found the Jews and remained silent for two weeks as black leaders blamed us for his sins.
With the firing of Young, Carter brought us Donald McHenry, no less a public nuisance and enemy of Israel — but infinitely more shrewd than Young had been.
Carter gave us Cyrus Vance, who called East Jerusalem “occupied land belonging to the Arabs” and who consulted with Jesse Jackson before the latter's visit to Arab cities in Judea and Samaria.
Carter gave us Harold Saunders, who went to Judea and Samaria to assure Arab leaders that they would one day he free from the “yoke” of Israel “occupation.” Carter gave us an ambassador to Vienna who also met with the PLO.
Carter violated the terms of the 1975 Israeli withdrawal agreement, when he forced down the throats of the Senate a new weapons pact with Saudi Arabia, linking the sale to a differen sale of arms to Israel and threatening that, if the Arab arms agreement would be blocked, then Israel would not get the weapons she was promised by Ford and Kissinger in 1975. Not surprisingly, Mark Siegel — Carter’s liaison to the Jewish community — resigned his job and left the White House in protest.
Carter’s State Department made the unprecedented gesture of allowing high-level PLO leaders into this country, something hitherto unheard of. Carter sent Muhammad Ali, a rambling, anti-Semitic has-been, to the continent of Africa as an American envoy. He succeeded in making fools of our country. Carter personally interceded on behalf of Jesse Jackson, another aspiring public nuisance and friend of the Arafat Gang, seeking to get Menachem Begin to meet with him. Begin stood up proudly and refused. .
In November, 1977 Carter sought to bring the Soviet Union back into the Middle East equation to the shock of Israelis and sober analysts everywhere. At a town meeting, Carter publicly called for the creation of a Palestinian state. And then, of course, there was America’s infamous vote against Israel’s right to Jerusalem — cast defiantly only days before New York’s Jewish voters would go to the polls to choose between Carter and Kennedy.
Carter may have sold out other allies like Taiwan and projected an image of weakness from continent to continent, but his treatment of the State of Israel has been most vile.
In sharp contrast, Ronald Reagan has a strong record of pro-Israel sentiment. He has called settlements in Judea and Samaria “legal” and has made statements clearly supportive of the Jewish claim to East Jerusalem. (Nor is it irrelevant that he has an outstanding record on other issues as well, in contradistinction to Carter’s tendency to mismanage everything that comes his way; the economy, the national defense, etc.)
This year, for once, I have a clear-cut choice — Ronald Reagan.