OU: “Israeli leaders needed to be careful not to play into partisan politics”

On the contrary, Bibi should meet with them. We are not disinterested bystanders. Of course we should support the party that best supports us. Ted Belman

OU to Netanyahu: Don’t meet GOP hopefuls on DC trip


Nathan Diament replies ‘yes and no’ when asked if he is concerned for Israel regarding second Obama term.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should not meet with Republican presidential candidates during his upcoming trip to Washington so as not to be perceived as taking sides in the campaign, Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Orthodox Union (OU), said this week.

Netanyahu will be addressing the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington a week from Monday, the same day Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich is scheduled to address the gathering.

A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that while no final decision had been made on whether Netanyahu would meet the Republican presidential candidates, it was not likely he would meet with one if could not meet with all four – Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul – which was an unlikely occurrence.

In past election years, the source said, Israel’s prime minister had generally met only with presidential candidates after their party’s convention.

Diament, in Israel for last week’s annual meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that during the US campaign, Israeli leaders needed to be careful not to play into partisan politics.

While Israel has been an issue in the Republican campaign, Diament said this was because the candidates had made it one, not Israel.

According to Diament, the Republican candidates at this stage of the campaign want to appeal to Republican primary voters and financial contributors, and there is a “significant segment in both categories who feel passionately about Israel.”

He referred not only to Jews, but also to Evangelical Christians.

Also, Diament added, each candidate was trying to portray himself already as the nominee, and interested in highlighting the contrasts with US President Barack Obama on a wide variety of issues – including foreign policy and Israel.

“But for voters who care passionately about the issue – Christian, Jewish or otherwise – it is appropriate for Israel to be part of the debate,” he said.

Asked if he was concerned for Israel if Obama were to win a second term and not have to face the electorate again, Diament answered: “Yes and no.”

No, he said, because “no president has a totally blank check – we have checks and balances.” He acknowledged that while the president has a great deal of latitude on foreign policy, “Congress is a check, and the American public is a check.”

He also said he felt Obama learned a great deal during his first term about the issues and the region.

Referring to Obama’s assumption at the beginning of his term that if he could get Israel to freeze settlement construction, he could then get the Arab states to put some “gestures” toward Israel on the table, Diament said “he and his administration learned the hard way that things are a lot more complicated. I don’t think those lessons have disappeared.”

Diament said he was a bit concerned about a second term because the president does believe that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the best interests of both the US and Israel, and would like to make progress in that direction. As to why that should worry him, Diament said, “Because they may want to pursue it in a way that the Israeli government, for its reasons, does not want to – and that could lead to difficulty.”

Diament said the OU does not endorse candidates in elections, and would lose its tax-exempt status if it did so. However, he did acknowledge that among the OU’s constituent synagogues, the Republicans fared much better than they did among the larger US Jewish community.

In the 2008 presidential election, for instance, he said that while Obama beat John McCain by about a 3-1 margin among Jewish voters, in districts with high percentages of Orthodox Jewish voters, McCain outpolled Obama by the same 3-1 margin.

Diament explained the difference by saying that for the Orthodox Jewish community, Israel was a much higher priority issue than for other American Jews, for whom domestic issues loom more important in deciding for whom to vote.

In polls the American Jewish Committee takes on Jewish opinion, Diament noted, one question always asked is the degree to which the respondents feel close to Israel.

“The numbers of Orthodox who feel very close to Israel is much higher,” he said, maintaining that the issue is more salient for them, and that they put it at the top of their list when voting.

Plus, Diament added, Orthodox Jews are more conservative on social values questions – such as abortion and church-state issues – than many of their American coreligionists.

February 26, 2012 | 7 Comments »

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  1. Israel cannot survive with Islam having such power in Washington

    “What is the reason that the righteous shall not receive their full reward in the World to Come? It is because of the tininess that was amongst them.” (Sotah 48) “Tininess of faith.” (Rashi)

    Deuteronomy 31
    Moses’ Last Counsel

    “The LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

  2. Israel must publically state the opposition to Obama. Israel must remind the world that just as a person is a Jew if his mother is Jewish, regardless of what the person thinks of himself, the same is true for a Moslem. A Moslem is a Moslem if his father is a Moslem, regardless of what he thinks of himself. Obama Sr. was a Moslem, and so Obama Jr. is a Moslem, regardless of any statements to the contrary. The struggle Israel has with the Arabs is a struggle between Judaism and Islam. Therefore Israel must make it clear that Israel opposes Islam in the White House. Israel cannot survive with Islam having such power in Washington.

  3. Diament reminds me of another toad by the name of Stephen S. Wise, who urged Jews to Shusssh, shusssh, shusssh and not botherRoosevelt and his anti-Semite advisers like Breckinridge Long and John McCloy (to be fair, McCloy was a RINO like Jim Baker and Chuck Hagel). So they didn’t – and we know the result. Only one very courageous Democratic Congressman, the perfect son of a great father, Will Rogers Junior, protested the Roosevelt administration’s compliance with Hitler’s genocide of the Jews, resigned his seat in disgust, and joined the U.S. Army. Certainly not a Democratic of that time, nor now.

    Diament should be told to STFU or go to work for the Ovomit-Blowhard ‘012 campaign, because while he might be a Stephen S. Wise wannabe, he is NO spokesman for most Orthodox Jews, who would be sickened and shocked by his stupidity. Netanyahu should meet with Romney, Gingrich and Santorum – they are far better friends of Israel than an Ovomit who may very well prove to be much worse than Roosevelt, especially if Iran develops and deploys their bombs.

  4. It is beyond belief the insolent, arrogant attitude of those folk.
    American Jews and the US administrations finance, support in every way legal and not legal their israeli peons but we may not do the same in the US? NUTS!
    Israeli leaders and activists must learn and actively support anyone that is likey to defeat those that harm us w/o any consideration.
    Time to even up the playing field.

  5. Diament said he was a bit concerned about a second term because the president does believe that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the best interests of both the US and Israel, and would like to make progress in that direction.

    Obama does not care what is in the best interests of America and Israel, he cares about what is in the best interests of the muslim brotherhood and the worldwide islamic community.