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Every four years, the United States is seized by the madness of presidential elections. The elections and the candidates become the measure of everything and anything that anyone does or says, especially if it can be related to politics. Partisanship causes many to lose all sense of proportion.

I am an American citizen, but I am an Israeli too, and this Web log and Web site are about Israel and Zionism, not about United States politics. What I write here, I write as an Israeli. I do not think it is right for an Israeli to tell Americans how to vote, because democratic (small "d") governments are elected by the citizens of their countries. In the same way I don't think it is right for "Zionists" in the United States to tell me who I must vote for in Israel.

Jews in the United States have written, quite frankly, that they have other priorities than Ahmadinejad and Israel. That is certainly legitimate. What is not legitimate of course, is when people who support a candidate or party for reasons entirely unrelated to Israel and Judaism, try to make out that there is a "Jewish" reason for supporting that candidate. Perhaps they like that party's stand on gay marriages or abortion or US health insurance. That's legitimate. It is an absurd deception, however, to try to pass off your candidate as "good for the Jews" if the real reason you support him or her is because you like their stand on gun control or health insurance or some other issue.

Supporters of Israel and Jews in general have been accused by anti-Semites of having too much political influence as a bloc. That should make Israelis and Jews doubly sensitive about trying to influence the US political process.

Some policies and some behavior require comment however. Election campaigns bring out the very worst in people. They are all busy throwing mud and whining about the mud thrown by the other side. When a rally against Ahmadinejad is sabotaged for whatever reasons, it requires comment. It must not be forgiven nor forgotten and it is inexcusable. When people circulate racist or sexist smears about one or another candidate it requires comment, especially if it is done in the name of Judaism or support for Israel. If you want to tell lies about a candidate, keep Israel out of it. If you want to circulate racist propaganda, don't hide behind Zionism and don't try to smear us with your racist mud. Obama is not a communist Muslim, and Governor Palin never stood around a pool in a bikini with a rifle.

I have never endorsed or supported either of the candidates running for president or vice president of the United States, or urged anyone to vote for one or the other candidate. I do not think either candidate or Americans in general understand the Middle East very well, and I suspect that whoever is elected will make about the same mistakes, because that is how the system works. Still, there are issues that require comment - about the issues. Even if you support a candidate, you can still disagree with their stands on particular issues and try to change their stands on those issues. USA is not former USSR. Nobody should have to follow the party line. Even if you support a candidate, or especially if you support them, you can be embarrassed or outraged by unfair campaign practices.

I did comment on issues related to Israel and on illegitimate campaigning by Jews and Zionists. I would be remiss to remain silent. I did not try to tell anyone to vote for X or Y candidate, which is a different matter. Yet every time I protest against an obvious outrage, whether it is letters and articles that claimed Obama is a Muslim, other articles that claimed he is a communist (by the same people!), canards claiming that Bristol Palin is the mother of governor Palin's youngest son or photomontages of Sarah Palin with a rifle, a certain percentage of our readers decide that I am supporting one or another candidate. It is extremely frustrating to write a thousand words of reasoned argument that does not urge support for any candidate, and to get, again and again, comments such as "Too bad you support McCain" or "How could you support Obama?"

It is hopeless to try to argue the issues regarding the sabotage of the anti-Ahmadinejad rally for example, with a person who writes this in reaction to my publication and circulation of Governor Palin's speech about Ahmadinejad:

Just because Mac and Barbie with a rifle promise pie in the sky doesn't make it taste like the real thing. You are very much misguided if you think these "leaders" are going to do anything that will help anyone but themselves.

"Mac and Barbie with a rifle" is supposed to be a deep intellectual analysis I guess. If Sarah Palin was ugly she would not elicit so much opposition from certain quarters, but the same people have no problem making fun of McCain's age and infirmities.

The same arguments - that politicians are self serving - apply equally to both sides. However, Governor Palin (AKA "Barbie with a rifle") for whatever reason and out of whatever motive, prepared a good speech about Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime are a clear and present danger to the United States, to the West and to Israel. The elections will be over this November, but Ahmadinejad will still be there. Whatever Governor Palin "really" believes, that speech alerts people to the dangers posed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime. It is a correct and realistic policy approach, as opposed to "engagement" or procrastination and wishful thinking.

As a supporter of Israel and as an American, I feel I am duty bound to circulate that speech to as many people as possible, especially as she was prevented from giving it at the anti-Ahmadinejad rally. If Hillary Clinton makes a speech that is anything like that, and we all should hope she does, I will be glad to publish it too.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000607.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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