THE JEWISH PRESS - September 22, 2004

JEWS AND OSTRICHES

By Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

It's been said that "Jews are the people of `The Book.`" From what we observe today, "The Book" is not a survival manual and may end up being the Koran.

There are three things certain in life: death, taxes and anti-Semitism. Well, death is death, taxes are down, and anti-Semitism is up. Like some demon seed that lay dormant, sleeping, covered over or ignored, it has now sprouted once again.

The hated symbols are scrawled across the gravestones in Jewish cemeteries and on the walls of the ancient capitals of Europe and the Near and Middle East. Jews are blamed for everything from the destruction of the World Trade Center to the war in Iraq, and are called "baby-killers" in relation to the Palestinian problem even while the world`s media print the photographs of the arms of small slaughtered Jewish children hanging from the side of a bus that Palestinian terrorists decided to destroy.

American Jews are disconnected from these realities, and apparently are determined to make their lack of interest in unfolding world events evident by supporting the Democratic candidate for president. An ostrich buries its head in the sand, and in so doing leaves another part of its anatomy vulnerable. American Jews should take heed and perhaps consider emulating the eagle rather than the ostrich.

In a recent poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, American Jews who were likely voters favored Kerry by 75 to 22 percent. The problem, like it or not, that American Jews choose not to deal with is that to some degree the life and well-being of any Jew, anywhere in the world, is connected to the fate of Israel. This is true even for Jews who go to country clubs, ride polo ponies, or name their daughters Tiffany.

When the Nazis came into power, with equanimity they murdered Jews with blond hair and blue eyes and who'd been loyal German soldiers for the Kaiser, along with the ones with yarmulkes and long beards.

The Jewish knee-jerk propensity to vote Democratic is unrelated to any particular advantage the party offers American Jews in the modern world. The allegiance of Jews is basically historical, beginning with President Roosevelt and then becoming embedded in their psyches, with no connection to events or reality.

The Jews believed that somehow Roosevelt was their savior. In point of fact, Roosevelt was a canny politician who believed he had the Jews in his pocket. Notwithstanding Churchill`s plea, Roosevelt would not order the bombing of the Nazis` transportation web to slow the delivery of Jews to the concentration camps -- even after Churchill`s prophecy to him that history would condemn both of them for his refusal.

Democrats since Roosevelt have not been much better for Jews when it comes to Israel: Jimmy Carter engineered a sellout of Israel at Camp David; Hillary Clinton hugged Mrs. Arafat; John Kerry called Arafat "a statesman" and, in his unending acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, did not mention Israel even once.

On the other hand, Nixon, Reagan, and the present president have been the guardians of Israel`s survival. President Bush, however, has been extraordinary in this regard. American Jews who do not like Bush are quick to insist that the he and the Religious Right and are supportive of Israel only because such support fits their belief that there must be a state of Israel when the Messiah comes.

The unworthy thought crosses our minds that if your house is burning and your neighbor puts out the fire, not out of any love for your family but because he doesn't want a burned-out wreck of a house next to his own, does it really make a difference? Either motive leaves you and your family with your home.

In the Greenberg poll, only 15 percent of the Jews surveyed mentioned Israel as the most important factor they take into account when deciding which presidential candidate to vote for.

Unfortunately, there are six million reasons why they are wrong.

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Jackie Mason is the world-renowned comedic genius. Raoul Felder is a prominent Manhattan attorney.