What Jews Mean to America

Taking a long view of Jewish history, Meir Soloveichik observes that there is nothing especially surprising about the surge of anti-Semitism in the U.S. since October 7. What is surprising, he writes, are the “stalwart, public defenses of Jews” from public figures. Soloveichik believes such attitudes have deep roots in the American founding, and are summed up in Abraham Lincoln’s description of Americans as God’s “almost chosen people,” by which he meant that

America is not biblical Israel’s replacement; it does not seek to supersede or supplant the Jews. It does not envy Israel’s eternity but seeks to learn from it and be blessed by it; it is biblical Israel’s imitator, learning the lessons of Israel’s story. Whereas other nations saw in Jewish eternity a reminder of their own ultimate demise, America, as Lincoln argued, learned from the biblical story that it could hope that it would not “perish from the earth” if it remained true to its covenantal calling. The phrase “almost chosen people” warns and inspires America, implicitly embracing the faith that, despite centuries of exile, God’s covenant with the original “chosen people” remained.

Such attitudes, Soloveichik argues, bolster both American sympathy and antipathy toward Zionism:

It is not merely that many Americans of faith support Israel but that Israel’s story supports faith. Many religious Americans . . . find in Israel the vindication of traditional Western, and especially American, beliefs. Israel’s story is seen as the ultimate indication that “God exists; he drives history; he performs miracles in real time; God’s word in the Bible is true.”

It is only with this in mind that we can truly understand the intense hatred directed at Israel from the American left. . . . Progressives elementally understand that Israel, ancient and modern, is a profound source of inspiration in the way America sees itself as a covenantal people. Many progressives, meanwhile, are driven by the fierce belief that America has never been a nation dedicated to a great idea, . . . and its story is entirely a tale of evil and oppression. Woke progressives hate Israel because they hate America; they work, above all, to undermine the notion that America can consider itself a covenantal nation, and they therefore hate the embodiment of the original covenantal nation.

This is why the more the righteousness of Israel’s current cause is revealed, the more agitated and angry the anti-Semites become. Thus we have those who claw at posters of child hostages, destroying evidence of the evil of Israel’s enemies.

Read more at National Review

More about: Abraham Lincoln, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy