Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Abraham v. Muhammad" and "It's Official - I'm Not Running"

I am Jewish, but not very Jewish. I had Jewish parents and Jewish grandparents, but I am not religiously observant, don’t keep kosher and never even had a bar mitzvah because my secular parents left it up to me whether after six hours of junior high I wanted to spend my afternoons attending Hebrew school or playing ball.

I only mention this as a matter of full disclosure, so you will understand that when I take Israel’s side against its Arab and Muslim neighbors, it’s understood that I do so because it is a western-style democracy that shares America’s traditional values and not because it is a Jewish state.

When I hear liberals in the media, academia and the Protestant hierarchy, condemning Israel and taking up for its enemies, labeling Israel an apartheid nation oppressing the so-called Palestinians, I get the queasy feeling that I’m in a surrealistic universe as it might have been imagined by George Orwell and painted by Salvador Dali.

After all, Israel is so religiously tolerant that Arabs and Muslims serve in its legislative body. It guarantees freedom of speech, religion and financial opportunity to all of its citizens, whereas in neighboring states, Jews have been banished, Christians have been burned and crucified, women are stoned for adultery -- although not their male partners in sin -- and prevented from working or attending school. They also have to wear burkas in sweltering heat and are vulnerable to honor killings if they fall in love with a non-Muslim or even consider converting to another, less restrictive, faith.

If ever there was a clear line separating good and evil, this would be it. But our campus and cultural elitists nevertheless insist on siding with the barbarians and giving full vent to their inherent anti-Semitism, going so far as to insist that universities, corporations and individuals, divest themselves of investments in Israeli companies, even those turning out life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

I am not one of those Jews who wrap Jewish contributions to the world around myself like a comfort blanket, pretending that the accomplishments of others somehow reflect gloriously on me. But from strictly an objective point of view, when you compare the gifts that a few million Jews have bestowed on an unfriendly world compared to what billions of Arabs and Muslims have contributed, it is an embarrassingly lopsided competition.

In whatever field you can name, but particularly in medicine, science and the arts –both classical and popular – Jews have excelled. Even a partial list includes the likes of Albert Einstein, Milton Friedman, Felix Mendelsohn, Jonas Salk, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Aaron Copland, Frank Loesser, Leonard and Elmer Bernstein, Paul Ehrlich, Boris Pasternak, J.D. Salinger, Norman Mailer, Charles Krauthammer, Nathan Rothschild, Sidney Howard, Benjamin Cardoza, Benjamin Disraeli, John Garfield, Marc Chagall, Louis Brandeis, Hedy Lamarr, the Marx Brothers, Levi Strauss, Jack Benny, Sidney Kingsley, Clifford Odets, George Burns, Danny Kaye, Arthur Miller, Bernard Malamud, Ayn Rand, Philip Roth, Baruch Spinoza, Paddy Chayefsky, Joseph Heller, George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Felix Frankfurter,Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, Edna Ferber, Arthur Rubinstein, Edward G. Robinson, Sid Caesar, Sigmund Freud, Jon Stewart, Phil Silvers, Al Jolson, Billy Wilder, William Wyler, Joseph Mankiewicz, Jerome Kern, Bob Dylan, Haym Solomon, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen, Benny Leonard, Hank Greenberg, Woody Allen, Richard Dreyfuss, Billy Joel, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Jascha Heifitz, Vladimir Horowitz, Billy Crystal, Milton Berle, Sholem Aleichem, Jerry Herman, Burt Bacharach, Albert and Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Tony Randall, Alan King, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, Jerry Seinfeld, Oscar Levant, Sandy Koufax and the young New York kids, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who gave birth to the mild-mannered Clark Kent and his alter ego, Superman.

Let’s face it, without the Jews, Americans would be stuck singing and humming commercial jingles and we’d be about as funny as the Swiss.

It’s not as if Arabs and Muslims haven’t also made their mark on the world. They did, after all, introduce clitorectomies, suicide bombings and an intolerance of good-natured spoofing not seen since the Salem witch hunts.


Although even Hillary Clinton, who vowed at the age of four to one day be President, is acting coy about making a run in 2016, I am trying to set a good example for others by announcing that under no circumstances will I be tossing my hat in the ring.

That being said, I don’t understand why so many Republicans who are also not running seem so upset at the prospect of Mitt Romney giving it another try. The notion that just because he failed to defeat John McCain for the nomination in 2008 or Barack Obama in 2012, he shouldn’t run again is just plain goofy. After all, any sane person would acknowledge that we have all lived long enough to rue the results of both those races.

Besides, when I was a kid, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, was always being held up as a model of grit, all because between the years of 1832 and 1860, he ran and was defeated in eight elections for the state legislature, the House and the U.S. Senate. So how is it that persistence was a virtue back then, but is deemed wickedly self-indulgent today?

Understand that while I like and admire Gov. Romney, I have a list of Republicans I would enthusiastically support in 2016. I just don’t think it’s improper for Romney to consider waging another campaign. If anything, I give him credit for forgiving us our past mistakes and his willingness to let us make amends.

According to Aaron Goldstein, writing in the American Spectator, during a closed door meeting involving Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, Sen. Robert Menendez (D, New Jersey) pushed Obama to renew sanctions against Iran. He contended that in exchange for removing the original sanctions, Iran has shown no willingness during one year’s worth of negotiations to curtail its nuclear ambitions. In rebuttal, Obama said he was aware of the pressures placed on senators by their donors.

Menendez, who is brighter than the average Democrat, managed to break the code, understanding that by “donors,” Obama meant Jewish donors, Israel being the natural and most convenient target of Iranian nukes.

Sen. Menendez could, in turn, have accused Obama of caving to the pressures of wealthy environmental loons when it came to funding solar panel companies and General Motors with our tax dollars or nixing the Keystone pipeline, but he didn’t, so I will.

Neither did Sen. Menendez question Obama over his open animosity towards America’s only ally in the Middle East, Israel, and her prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, so once again the task falls on my tiny shoulders.

However, these days, even the word “ally” has been sullied through misuse. For instance, even though Saudi money was behind 9/11 and even though Saudi Arabia considers the proper punishment for daring to criticize Islamic clerics to be 50 lashes a week for 20 weeks and that a death sentence is the only way to deal with those who convert to Christianity, our president, like his predecessor, continues to embrace these medieval creeps like long lost brethren.

Speaking of the man who refused to join arms with his fellow national leaders in the “Je Suis Charlie” demonstration in Paris, lest, perhaps, he might have found himself having to link arms with a Jew, Obama doesn’t even try to make a real case for emptying Guantanamo of its Islamic jihadists. Instead, he falls back on the old chestnut about Gitmo being a recruiting tool for our enemies, although to this day he refuses to identify just who those folks happen to be.

My question to him is whether he also favors shutting down San Quentin, Attica, Lewisburg, Leavenworth, Folsom and Sing Sing, because bank robbers, rapists and kidnappers, are using them as recruiting tools.

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that we’re the only nation saddled with a limp-wristed appeaser. David Cameron, who perfectly exemplifies the rapid decline of the human race when we consider that England has gone from the highs of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher to the depths of Mr. Cameron in a relatively few decades.

After meeting with Obama, the Prime Minister emerged to report that he agreed that the best way to deal with the madmen of Iran was to bend over and touch his toes. Mr. Churchill would have been aghast, but Mr. Chamberlain would have nodded, winked and said, “That’s my boy.”

While recently watching a documentary about the Nazi blitz of Britain, it occurred to me that one simple way to distinguish between the good guys and the bad ones in any conflict is to see how they treat their children. During World War II when German bombs rained down on London, English parents sent their young ones off to the countryside and to Canada to ensure their safely, knowing that the separation could be for months, years or, worst case scenario, forever. The Germans not only did nothing to safeguard their own kids, they stuck them in oversized uniforms, handed them rifles and told them to defend the Fatherland.

Today, we see the Israelis doing everything in their power to protect their children while the vermin on the other side place their kids in harm’s way so that little mangled bodies are always among the victims when Israel finally retaliates against incessant missile attacks. As we saw recently, when a 10-year-old girl was used successfully as a suicide bomber, there is absolutely no depth to which the Islamists won’t stoop.

Finally, whenever I hear liberals attempt to make the case that the federal government and its legion of bureaucrats and experts know best how the rest of us should live, I recall that G.K. Chesterton’s clerical crime-solver Father Brown once sagely pointed out that the professionals built the Titanic, but it was an amateur who built the Ark.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?