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We must all at least be thankful that with the end of the U.S. election campaign, the stream of silly season propaganda will dry up. There is always a silver lining.

Any thinking person who supports Israel has to be anxious about the possible policies of the soon to be leader of the free world, and that would be true of just about any candidate, especially one who is a virtual unknown. Friends of Israel have good reason for concern. Barack Obama's one time friendship with Abunimah and Khalidi, his quaint ideas about "engaging" Iran, and some of his advisers are certainly not going to soothe anyone's fears on that score.

However, as I noted previously, Zionists, non-Zionists, anti-Zionists, Arabs, Muslims, Russians and French people and everyone else, is going to have to live with the decision of the American people. Americans made history.

Remember, that for a large number of Americans this election was not about the Middle East or Israel or even about the sorry state of the US economy. It was about bringing to fruition the long struggle that began so many years ago in the United States, and putting an end to the injustices so eloquently presented by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. For all of us who were moved by his words then, the dream is coming true. November 5, 2008 will be remembered because it symbolizes a new beginning for race relations in the United States, and between the United States and the countries of Asia and Africa. Perhaps it symbolizes the end of "white supremacy" everywhere, with all its colonialist and other ramifications, and the beginning of the end of "race" itself. All at once, America has an opportunity to be not only the leader of the (industrialized, white) free world, but also the leader of the entire world.

Every historical event presents opportunities as well as dangers. A healthy political movement needs to utilize the opportunities and act constructively to minimize the dangers, not fret about them. Barack Obama, unlike George Bush, will have the confidence of the nations of the "south" or "third world" and if he so chooses, he can be a much more effective advocate for Israel and the things that really matter to us than any previous US president. He and only he among all US presidents can possibly put an end to persecution of Israel at the UN. He can stop the second Durban conference from being another anti-Israel exhibition. If Barack Obama says anti-Zionism is racism, people will probably listen. If President Barack Obama will insist on Israel's right to exist in security, then Zionism and Israel will gain a new respectability that Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain, for all their many virtues, could not give them. If Barack Obama urges international action against terror, he just might get more cooperation than Mr. Bush did. Barack Obama also has a unique opportunity to restore the historic alliance between American Jews and African-Americans that was sundered in a tragic way. Barack Obama has a chance to bring together the Zionist camp and the progressive camp as they used to be, and to make Zionism respectable again, not just in the United States, but all over the world.

It is undeniable that a new era is beginning in the United States and in world politics. The donkey won election day* but a lot more happened than that. Those who do not understand it, who continue "business as usual" will be left behind with the causes they represent. For the past eight years and longer, many Israel advocates insisted on identifying themselves and Zionism with conservative politics in the United States. They put Zionism just where our enemies wanted us, and alienated half the American electorate. This was clearly folly and we may all pay a heavy price for it.

There are no guarantees. There never are. Obama might really be as horrible for Israel as his critics say, out of prejudice or malice or just because he is inexperienced and will make mistakes. But if we make our voices heard as part of the camp that wants to see the new administration succeed, we have a much better chance of getting our point across. It is always better to be inside the tent if possible, even if that means standing next to the likes of Ali Abunimah or Jesse Jackson. If they are going to be in the tent, then we had better be there too.

Whatever happens, look carefully at the long road traveled by African-Americans, even in our own time. Such achievements are always the result of perseverance and infinite patience. If you will, it is no legend.

Ami Isseroff

*From this song by the New Lost City Ramblers:

Just hand me my old Martin
For soon I will be startin’
Back to dear old Charleston far away
Since Roosevelt’s been reelected
We’ll not be neglected
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again

Back again, back again!
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again
Since Roosevelt’s been elected
Moonshine liquor’s been corrected
We’ve got legal wine, whisky, beer and gin

I’ll take a drink of brandy and let myself be handy
Good old times are comin’back again
You can laugh and tell a joke
You can dance and drink and smoke
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again

Back again, back again!
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again
We’ll have money in our jeans
We can travel with the queen
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again

No more bread lines I’m glad to say
The donkey won election day
No more standin' in the blowin' snow and rain
He’s got things in full sway
We’re all workin' and gettin' our pay
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again

Back again, back again!
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again
Since Roosevelt’s been elected
Moonshine liquor’s been corrected
We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000620.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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