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Next Year in Jerusalem

At the climax of the Yom Kippur services, and the conclusion of the Jewish High Holy Days, some two weeks from now, millions of Jews around the world will cry out, "Next Year in Jerusalem", expressing their hope for a final redemption.

There is a similar faith at the heart of the DNC's amended platform which states, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations."

Like the Jews praying for Jerusalem, the DNC's platform supports a Jerusalem as Israel's capital that is not a material Jerusalem, but a spiritual Jerusalem, a place that will come into being only when the messiah of the peace process has come and the terrorists have put down their guns and after twenty or two thousand or twenty thousand years have agreed to some final status agreement that falls short of making full territorial claims on the capital of Jerusalem.

The DNC's platform is a properly devout expression of faith, not in G-d and not in the rights of Israelis, but in the peace process. After twenty years of peace and terror, next year the peace process will finally culminate in a final status agreement. And that expression of the DNC's faith in the goodwill of terrorists is hardly reassuring to Israelis or American Jews.

Expressing support for Jerusalem to one day be recognized as the capital of Israel (without even the usual mention of a united city) after the final status agreement has been reached, defeats the whole purpose of the Jerusalem insertion.

The initial purpose of inserting support for Jerusalem into the platform was to reassure Israelis that the city was non-negotiable and that negotiating with the PLO would not cause Israel to lose its capital city. The current incarnation of the Jerusalem insertion, even after being put in, conveys the opposite message, that the city is negotiable, but if Israel successfully negotiates to keep Jerusalem, then it will remain the capital of Israel.

The 1992 Democratic platform said simply, "Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths." The 1996, 2000 and 2004 platforms utilized nearly the same language. Only in 2008, with the elevation of Obama, did the platform add a caveat about final status negotiations which rendered the pledge meaningless. It also eliminated any mention of a united or undivided Jerusalem.

Once in office, Obama began a major crisis with Israel over a housing project in Jerusalem. In 2012, Jerusalem was purged entirely from the platform and then after some protests restored in its meaningless 2008 form so as not to unduly concern Jewish voters by removing something that was not so much a statement of support as an empty wish that one day Jerusalem might be recognized as Israel's capital.

The platforms, like most campaign promises, don't represent any true or enduring commitments. The 1996 Republican platform held that "A Republican administration will ensure that the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem by May 1999." The 2000 Republican platform declared, "Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem." Four years later the platform said, "Republicans continue to support moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem."

Still the platform is a bellwether of sorts. In 1988, the year that Jesse Jackson threw his weight around, the Democratic platform barely qualified as pro-Israel and eliminated any mention of Jerusalem. Its elimination a second time in 2012 represents a similar ascension of forces overtly hostile to Israel and unwilling to sign their name to even vague meaningless reassurances. That is what the booing was really about. The pragmatists were being booed by the radicals for offering a sop to the naive voters who still think that there's any place for G-d or Jerusalem in the Democratic Party.

The unpleasant truth is that no president has ever taken these platforms seriously. If one of them had, then the embassy would already be in Jerusalem. The elimination of the Jerusalem plank isn't just a shift from covert to overt hostility toward Israel, more significantly it's a shift away from traditional Jewish voters, toward a leftist coalition that is hostile to Israel.

Obama's hopes for transforming the Jewish vote, swapping out AIPAC for J Street, the OU for Uri L'Tzedek and the ADL for Jewish Funds for Justice fell flat. The old Jewish voter wasn't going away and wasn't about to be replaced by a bunch of campus radicals and community organizers praying for Hamas to win. As much as Obama tried to boost the status of the radical Jewish left, he found that the Jewish community was more organized and intractable than he expected. Prominent opposition from fixtures like Ed Koch and Alan Dershowitz, followed by the loss of Weiner's old seat, sealed the deal.

But the deal is limited to lip service. As before, the policies haven't changed, just the public relations. Jewish liberals will be able to go on enthusiastically praising the Democratic Party for its positive approach to Israel without being embarrassed by contradictory messages from within. And Obama will go on having a free hand against the Jewish State. His billionaire allies will go on plowing their fortunes into creating networks of left-wing Jewish groups aimed at the younger generation in the hope of rotting the next generation of the Jewish vote at the root. And everyone will be happy except the Israelis who are under fire and no one will pay much attention to them because they don't really matter.

For American Jews, the question of Jerusalem is one of faith. Either faith in the peace process or faith in G-d. To believe in the peace process is to believe that the legitimacy of Israel, right down to its capital in Jerusalem, derives from reaching a final status agreement with Islamic terrorists. But to believe in G-d and the G-d-given land of Israel, G-d-given being another of the phrases eliminated from the Democratic platform, is to reject the notion that Israel or Jerusalem require validation for their right to exist from Arafat, Abbas or Hamas.

The frantic struggle over the Democratic Party platform is a symptom of that same insecurity as good liberal Jews go on seeking reassurances from their liberal peers for the survival and security of Israel. And the liberals pat them on the head, write in something about Jerusalem one day being recognized as the capital of Jerusalem when pigs fly El Al and the messiah of the peace process arrives wearing his keffiyah of goodwill, and send them back to explain to Jewish voters that the Democratic Party is back to being pro-Israel now.

For 2,000 years Jews chanted, "Next Year in Jerusalem" as an expression of their faith. Now a smaller liberal quorum chants, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations" as an expression of their own faith. Faith in peace, in negotiations, in the basic decency of all the people and the ability of dialogue to resolve anything, even with people who celebrate murdering children.

Israeli victims of terror have been described as "Sacrifices of Peace." Blood for the 'Peace God', the leering god of the negotiating tables who is worshiped at altars in Oslo and Wye, whose negotiations end with children being passed through the flames. Jewish liberals believe in the 'Peace God' every bit as fervently as their religious brethren believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They have faith that with enough blood sacrifices to the 'Peace God', next year there will be peace and an American embassy in Jerusalem. And pigs will fly alongside El Al through the blue sky.  

For decades Israelis have been urged to take a leap of faith in the goodwill of their enemies. They have made that leap time and time again, only to fall bruised and bloodied into shallow graves. The only thing that the platforms have to offer them is more encouragement to jump again, believing that this time it will be different. But it has never been any different and it will never be any different and Israelis are running out of land to give away and security to pawn to their enemies.

Those American Jews who have chosen to once again put their faith in Obama, the latest 'Peace God' to come down the Potomac and promise them that next year they will be able to visit Jerusalem without feeling shame over the conflict between being their pacifist version of Jewish values and the existence of Israel, will applaud the new Democratic platform because it allows them to hold on to their faith.

The things that you believe in say a great deal about you. For American and Israeli Jews the last few decades have been a struggle of faith. For Jewish farmers and herders on the hilltops, their faith has been in G-d. For those authorities dragging them away, their faith was in the 'Peace God'. American Jews who had their faith tested in the last four years, only to be renewed their faith at the altar of the Democratic platform will find it difficult to hold on to it for another four years if Obama wins.

In two weeks millions of Jews will cry out, "Next Year in Jerusalem" and millions more will cry out, "Vote for Obama." And we shall see whose faith will prevail.


  1. Anonymous9/9/12

    Jews who vote for Obama are idol worshipers, nothing to do with Judaism and G-d. Imagine this happening in peace time, not under pressure to convert or die like the Spain expulsion.

  2. Jackson Barrett9/9/12

    Jews are liberals.
    74% to 78% of the Jewish vote went to Obama. Google it.
    They back him this time too. Look at his backers.
    Latest Gallup poll shows Jews backing Obama yet again.

  3. Anonymous9/9/12

    What has happened is that there is no sense of shame or real community in the American Jewish community anymore. The opinions of those within the Community who are essentially suffering from " Stockholmn Syndrome", i.e., become captives of those who on a basic and primal level despise Jews, and act in an attempt to appease them and become accepted, and present that non-Jews know what is better for Jews than Jews themselves is now regarded as acceptable "diverse voices" within, regardless of the latent or obvious, pathology. Personally, and separately from the prior comments, as I do not know their motivations, I wonder on what basis, based on their writings on Israel, how Peter Beinert or Tom Freidman are still given any respectful hearing from American Jews, or credibility. Sadly it seems that contemporary liberal Jews view Judaism as a matter of abortion rights and being afraid of Evangelicals, rather than truly loving their people or pursuing their interests like any other ethnic group, as the African-Americans and Latinos do ALL the time.

  4. Anonymous # 29/9/12

    ANONYMOUS, Jews have always been liberal in America and Europe. This is not the fault of lack of community since it always existed.
    You want to make this about victimhood. Its the same argument liberals always use. We are victims, boo hoo, we cant help ourselves.Black and Latinos love all the time?
    What juice you on baby?

  5. Define "Always" Anon 2 and try using a name. If Jews were "always" liberal then Jews would have dissolved long ago and would not exist today.

    Indeed liberal Jews are dissolving rather quickly.

    Nor was he talking about victimhood, he was talking about the dominance of the left over communal institutions. I imagine that is something that anyone can relate to.

  6. Anonymous # 29/9/12

    I should use a name but not him?
    I did use a name. It is Anonymous#2.
    Jews have always been liberal in modern America. Define it? All right, since about the 1950s.Jewish population were very involved in the civil rights movement and in the beat movement in the 1950 generation. Free thinkers.
    You take the opinion that I must think that is terrible. You would be wrong.
    I think Jews dont need an 'excuse' as anonymous provided to vote as they want to do.

  7. Anonymous9/9/12

    Anon. #2
    Did it ever bother you that the people you fought for as "free thinkers" turned around and kicked you in the teeth after they received what they wanted? What hapened to the teachers unions in NY (mostly Jews)? What hapened to the Jewish neighbourhoods that were overtaken by thugs (the same ones you fought for) and poor Jews were forced to migrate? How about "hymie town" Jackson and Farakhan? No Martin Luther King there? At least I want to see ONE liberal admit their mistakes, it will never hapen

  8. The Jewish vote was split between Republicans and Democrats until the mid-20's. But if your definition of "always" is since the 1950s, then that's a rather limited span of even American history.

    Everyone should use names. It's common sense and it's there in the instructions.

    "Commenters are asked to use a name of some kind to aid in replies and conversation."

  9. Maybe the Democrats need to simply shut the fuck up.

  10. Anonymous9/9/12

    I still wonder if proportionately, the more conservative Jews in the sense of those who adhere to Judaism and God's promises to them as a people have already voted with their feet for Israel.

    If true, those 'left behind' would be expected to be those who disbelieve God's promises, and masquerade this by treating God as some sort of cultural token rather than as the only supreme being to whom they would do well to pay attention in detail and not in lip service.

    Bill K.

  11. Anonymous9/9/12

    As the original Anon that Anon #2 replied to I would respond briefly. If I am on any "juice" I suspect it is truth serum. As Daniel correctly noted in an article, the future of American Jewry is Orthodox, our present liberal Jews are going the way of the dodo bird, via death and intermarriage. A shame in the sense of loss of Jewish identity, a relief in terms of freeing the rest of us from their compulsive need to please and satisfy " the other" at the expense of the greater good of their fellow Jews' interests, needs and security. Certainly our collective history reflects the poor behavior, self-interest, and delusion of a few. Court
    Jews,Kapos,the ones still singing Stalin's praises as they were dragged off to the Gulag. Hopefully enough Jews will think freely and
    do the right thing this election to have an impact,especially in Florida.

  12. Anonymous # 29/9/12

    Anon said th is "Did it ever bother you that the people you fought for as "free thinkers" turned around and kicked you in the teeth after they received what they wanted? "to me.
    Who said I fought for anyone? You got a whole fantasy about me going on here.
    You want to see one liberal admit their mistakes you say? I am not a liberal or Jewish. SO look some place else .

  13. Daniel wrote: "For American Jews, the question of Jerusalem is one of faith. Either faith in the peace process or faith in G-d." Not for me. There are tons of other reasons why Jerusalem is central:

    1. We need it more than they do. 2. We actually care about it. They don't. 3. We do much, much, much better things with it. When Jordan had it, it was a shithole just like their cities still are. 4. We need the space. 5. Being high ground, it's crucial for defense. 6. In the clash between the west and islam, Jerusalem is a profound symbol. If it fell, what goes next? 7. It's beautiful. 8. We have built amazing institutions there. 9. Losing it would be a stake through the heart of the jewish people...just off the top of my head...

  14. Anonymous10/9/12

    Per a comment up thread, Jews do indeed possess an enormous amount of shame. Unfortunately, it is shame for being Jewish. Why these Jews even bother to say they are Jewish is beyond me. Makes no sense. I guess it's as knee jerk as pulling the lever for "D." So sad. A few are awake. I am one. My entire family flipped and will never vote for another Democrat again. But we are still in the minority. Sadly.

    -- Sarah on the West Coast

  15. The huge error was that agnostic leftwing Moshe Dayan, who after the 1967 re-conquest of the Old City, when in the immediate aftermath 3 day window was asked to blow the muslim contraption from the mount not only did not want to do such, nor at least opened the mount up for ALL religions freely and declared the mosque a universal prayer house for the three monotheistic religions, but returned full control to the Wafq. Had this been different, the muslims would have been as viciously hateful of Jews but they might have gradually lost focus intrest in the city, which never meant much to Islam anyway.

  16. Unfortunately next week I will go to Shull for Rosh Hashanah, and the only difference to the rest of the week when I am there, there will be a whole lot of other people. Through out the year we struggle to reach 10 people for a minyan. But over the two high holidays, we will be filled to capacity with people who think that worship on the New Year, and the Day of Atonement will fulfill their Jewish obligations.

    The parking lot will filled to capacity with prius's and Expeditions all clad with Obama/Biden 2012 stickers. The halls will be filled with banter about how wonderful Obama is. I'm sure there will even be some talk about the even Michelle Bachmann and her anti-Muslim Brotherhood witch hunts.

    And I will look up at the bema, and pray for God to send a spiritual dope smack to the backs of each of their empty heads.

  17. Anon #2- You use the Civil Rights movement as your example. Except the Civil Rights Movement, especially in the 1950's was largely a Right Wing Movement lead by Martin Luther King Jr (R). Many of MLK's visions were largely Libertarian if you go back and read them and he was also Pro Israel and even called himself a Zionist on many occasions. It was the Kennedy borthers who mainly opposed him.

  18. Anonymous10/9/12

    It is somewhat ironic to me that the deathly fear of Evangelicals that liberal Jews seem to have, and their resultant voting patterns, are more likely to make Jews less secure in America than more. It seems to me that the mask is increasingly coming off their leftist fellow travelers for whom being anti-Israel covers deeper issues with Jews. That these Jews are to dumb or ideological to see it is both profoundly sad and deeply maddening.

  19. Anonymous10/9/12

    "There is a similar faith at the heart of the DNC's amended platform which states, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations."

    Ah, so they claim they want J'lem as the capital of Israel? I'm sure that in a sick way they do. Jerusalem under their terms, a token thrown to Israel under the control the control of Arab Muslims. So technically Jerusalem will be the capital but of what?

    The liberals lie (duh). Wasn't it their darling Barack who spoke of a united Jerusalem only to recant 24 hours later when Hamas complainted?


  20. There is a stinking lot for Jews in America now. Obama is likely going to win again. One can feel it in the air. Do you have your one way ticket to Israel Daniel when the 11th horn dude is re-elected? At least ten million Americans will likely head toward the Canadian border, and West Texas will likely secede from the United States. So Jews who think out of the box should have a contingency plan...just in case he is re-elected.

  21. M from Toronto10/9/12

    Adam Greenfield, if your parking lot at the shul will be full of the kind of cars and stickers you have described, and no minian during the week, it must be a conservative shul. Conservatives, Reforms are Liberals=Democrats, they recognize gay marriage and ordination, nothing conservative there, why should they support Romney?

  22. Romney may be a G-d fearing man who gets down on his knees to ask G-d for advice, but he was the Governor of a state that granted marriage contracts to homosexuals. To become Gov. of Massachusetts, you have to publicly be a social liberal. Romney is not Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann either. He at least publicly has to support gay marriage on the state level.

  23. Sorry, he supported Gay Civil Unions, which is gay marriage by another name. He had a balancing act as Governor of America's most liberal state coming from one of America's most conservative churches. To win under such circumstances, one has to be pretty slick.

  24. Mr ED10/9/12

    From the DemocRAT Love Story movie tagline...

    "Jihad means never having to say your sorry"

    Professional Lib Liars & apologists + remorseless fanatics = worldwide Liberal fun!

  25. Anonymous11/9/12

    One thing is for sure. American people are gullible and stupid, and unfortunatley, the Jewish americans are included.
    Obama will piss on them and they all will think it's raining.
    Do you know how saturated the Amereicans are by now?????

  26. Anonymous14/9/12

    The real reason the US Embassy will not move from Tel Aviv? Dude!!! it's sitting on an acre or more of the best beach front on the Med!

    There are clubs and discos, drinking and dancing until dawn, and.... the beach!!!!

    yesh, so they should move to Jerusalem so it would be convienent for diplomacy? Right ;)

    never gona happen


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