The Southern Wall

Joseph Aaron

Okay, since I’m a big believer in unity, I have a suggestion about how to handle this whole wall on the southern border thing.

An idea that could potentially make everyone happy, bring all sides together, makes sense. Which, of course, means there’s absolutely no chance our leaders in Washington will agree to it.

But even so, as a patriotic American and a lover of Israel, I hereby present my thought.  Israel offers to have the experts and builders of its security wall study the issue of how best to secure our border and come up with a plan for what would be most effective. And offers to not only do the study and present its recommendations at absolutely no charge, as a thank you for all America has done for the Jewish state over the last 70 years, but agrees to do the actual work, whatever it turns out to be, at cost, meaning the American people would pay only for the materials involved, not the labor.

While the security wall in Israel bears absolutely no relation at all, is completely different from the situation on our border, is comparing apples and oranges, it seems a lot of folks in Washington have a lot of admiration for what Israel did. And Israel is an innovator in technology, an expert in security, is good at coming up with plans and building things, even if most public works projects in Israel come in way over budget and take about ten years longer than projected.

That aside, all sides in Washington would trust Israel. Israel, eager to show off its savvy, would be smart enough to propose what really needs to be done on the border, whether it be drones or sensors or a wall in some places or whatever. They don’t call it the startup nation for nothing. Israel handling it would remove the partisan bitterness that seems to make any kind of sensible plan impossible to agree on in Washington and Israel offering to come up with a plan for free would be a demonstration of good will that would be appreciated by all sides since both Democrats and Republicans are big supporters of Israel, as are the American people, including Trump’s base and the Democrats’ base.

Israel doing the work at cost would keep the price tag way down and get the job done right. Since there is no profit motive involved, Israel would have an incentive to get the job finished on time, and because it would be a chance to demonstrate its skills to the world, it would be sure to do a good job.

Problem solved. Trump happy, Pelosi happy, Jews happy, Evangelicals happy, Mexico happy, Bibi happy, border secure, issue resolved. See, it ain’t so tough to figure this out. Hey, maybe I should run for president.

After all, pretty much every other Democrat in the country is planning to. Which leads me to a couple of other big thoughts since I seem to be in the mood for that, having solved the border wall issue and all.

There are at least three Jewish candidates very likely to run for president in 2020. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Starbucks head honcho Howard Schultz and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Three Jews as serious candidates for president of the United States. I know I say it a lot but I feel I can’t say it enough. What a great country this is for Jews. Too bad so many Jews whine so much about so much.

Speaking of Schultz, I sure as hell hope if he does run, he runs to win the Democratic nomination as the other two Jews plan to, and not as an independent as he has said he is inclined to do. All him doing that would do is help Trump get reelected, may G-d save us from such calamity. Now I know some right wing Jews would be thrilled to have Trump win another four years, as would Jewish Prince Jared and Jewish Princess Ivanka. When the time comes, I am quite confident G-d will punish all Jews who felt that way.

If I may just digress for a moment, I can understand right wing Jews liking that the Donald moved the embassy to Jerusalem and liking that he killed the Iran deal (ignoring, of course, that he has handed Iran a military base in Syria, Israel’s next door neighbor). What I do not understand, cannot understand, is how so many right wing Jews, so many prominent super religious leaders can simply overlook what a horrendous human being he is, how they look past all his very many sins, all the behaviors that go against everything the Torah teaches about being a mensch. He lies as easily as he drinks Diet Cokes, he has had illicit affairs with who knows how many women, he calls people vile names, he makes fun of people, he lies (did I mention that already?) he is the ultra-anti-mensch.

Character matters, behavior matters, it always has in Judaism. Indeed, we are taught that derech eretz kudmah l’Torah – that being a mensch, behaving honorably takes priority even over the Torah itself. First, be a good, decent human being. You can say many things about Trump but no one would say he is a decent human being. That should matter to Jews, especially to those who claim to be oh so religious ones.

Anyway, back to 2020. It both cracks me up and makes me sick how some Republicans, including Jewish ones, are trying to make out like the Democratic Party is becoming anti-Israel, something which is absolutely demonstrably not at all in the slightest true.

Every single one of the Democrats running or contemplating running for president, and there are a lot them (and remember, I haven’t yet decided if I am going to) are staunchly pro-Israel. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

The only one you could raise some questions about, ironically enough, is the Jew Bernie Sanders who has at times been critical of Israel. But even he is not in any way not pro-Israel. Just because you sometimes criticize Israel doesn’t mean you aren’t pro-Israel. Indeed, Sanders has specifically said, he is “100 percent” supportive of Israel as a country.

Please remember that Sanders spent months on a kibbutz in his 20s and harbors affection for Israel. He has repeatedly said that it is ridiculous to attack the country and not note the real threats posed to it by radical neighbors. He’s been consistent in decrying what he sees as a double standard applied to Israel. He has firmly rejected the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.  He has also of late been much more open about how much his Judaism means to him and is expected to be even more so if he does decide to run again. He recently got very emotional talking about families who perished during the Holocaust, and about how being raised Jewish shaped his life.

Yes, he has criticized the Israeli government for its settlement policies and for neglecting opportunities for peace, but one hopes the Jewish world has not gotten so insane it sees that as not being pro-Israel.

Which brings us to the newest insanity of some claiming that the Democratic party in general is moving away from Israel. Again, not true, if truth matters anymore in the age of Lying Don (hey, giving someone a nickname is fun, I see why he does it).

Here’s how the lie goes. Democrats are becoming more disenchanted with Israel for various reasons, including a lack of progress and new ideas on the Palestinian issue, the hostile relationship between Netanyahu and President Obama, and Netanyahu’s close embrace of Trump. Some further claim that the Boycott Israel movement is making headway among Democrats. Take a recent buzzfeed story which stated “Some of the Democratic Party’s brightest new stars believe Israel is a rogue state that should be treated like apartheid South Africa.” It then named precisely two, that’s two, Democrats who feel that way: Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who both back the BDS movement targeting Israel.

Two other Democrats, who you may actually have heard of, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, recently appeared at the annual conference of the right-leaning Israeli-American Council and assured the crowd that they would not budge an inch in their support of Israel. And. in fact, in reference to Tlaib and Omar, Pelosi simply dismissed them, saying don’t pay “attention to a few people who may want to go their own way.”

And please remember that to whatever tiny amount Democrats are not as supportive of Israel as in the past, I think of the old saying about reaping what you sow. It has always been the policy of every Israeli government that Israel should be a bipartisan issue in the United States, something about which Democrats and Republicans both were supportive.

But Bibi, Israel’s eternal prime minister, has done so much to erode that. Remember it was he who, behind the back of President Obama, colluded with House Republicans for Bibi to stand in front of Congress and give a speech blasting the policy of the American administration. Something totally unprecedented, formerly unimaginable and totally outrageous. It was fine for Bibi to oppose the Iran deal and to ask AIPAC and politicians in this country to fight against it, but for him to personally come to this country and stand before our Congress and attack our president is not a way to maintain bipartisanship and Democratic support.

And then more recently we had Bibi’s puppet, ambassador Ron Dermer, in the wake of the massacre in Pittsburgh, travel to that city and instead of just doing what an ambassador should do, namely express the support of the Jewish state for that Jewish community in its time of shock and grief, he also made a political statement praising Trump for his reaction to Pittsburgh even as many Jews saw Trump as inciting what happened in Pittsburgh. Again a guy who should be non-partisan and make sure Israel is always a bipartisan issue, sticking his nose in American politics on the side of one party.

Two other quick points for those who still care about facts. While yes there are now three Muslims in Congress, there are now 34 Jews, several of whom chair major committees and all but two of whom are Democrats. And while yes, the Democrats are a progressive party, which means they tend to favor the underdog and so to some in the party while Israel used to be the underdog now the Palestinians are.

I see that this way. Isn’t it great that Israel is no longer an underdog, that Israel has an incredibly powerful military, a strong economy, a vibrant culture, is one of the most innovative countries on earth, a leader in high tech scientific and medical discoveries.

No, you can’t say Israel is an underdog, as much as neurotic Jews delude themselves into thinking that way, feel most comfortable seeing Israel as picked upon, hated by all, vulnerable and on the edge of destruction.

No, you can’t say Israel is any longer the underdog. To which I say two words: thank G-d.

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