Malcolm Hoenlein is the paragon of Jewish communal apparatchiks. He’s one of the chief pro-Israel enforcers among the leadership–sort of the like our very own J. Edgar Hoover. He runs the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and so has his own bully pulpit with the emphasis on “bully.”
Barack Obama has come out on the short end of Hoenlein’s stick in a recent Haaretz story which fretted that the candidate’s thirst for change could bode ill for Israel:
“All the talk about change, but without defining what that change should be, is an opening for all kind of mischief,” Hoenlein said at a press conference in Jerusalem…
Indeed. The fact that Obama might want to change U.S. policy toward Israel and might soften U.S. support for the Occupation. That an Obama administration might actually pressure Israel to withdraw from West Bank settlements and engage in final status negotiations. That would frighten a true believer like Hoenlein.
Hoenlein was careful to stress, “It’s not the candidates themselves we are concerned about,” pointing out that Obama, like the other major candidates, has signed on to found a national committee to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary in the U.S.
“Of course Obama has plenty of Jewish supporters and there are many Jews around him,” Hoenlein said. “But there is a legitimate concern over the zeitgeist around the campaign.”
He also cited the fact that Obama has criticized his rival, Democratic candidate Senator Hillary Clinton, for her vote in favor of including the Iranian Republican Guards in the list of terror organizations.
Again, Obama is dangerous because he isn’t sufficiently bellicose toward Iran. I mean, my God, he’s even in favor of negotiating with the Iranians before bombing them to Kingdom Come. Have you ever heard of anything so audacious and threatening to Israeli interests?!
The U.S. Jewish leader warned the American presidential campaign could signal a shift toward declining U.S. support for Israel.
“Support for Israel is at an all-time high, [but] our polling suggests that as broad as the support is, it is also thin, and most Americans see Israel as a dark and militaristic place,” he said.
Now, where would they ever have picked up that wild idea?
He termed the current election season “transitional” and said that it “could bring about a shift in the political life.”
Hoenlein said that Israel’s supporters should be worried by “the heightening of the bar and the greater tolerance of anti-Israel statements that wouldn’t have been allowed in the past.”
He singled out the book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer on the Israel lobby, which “has become a bestseller and a college textbook,” and said that there “is a steady poisoning of the elites, mainly on campuses, that could trickle down.”
Now, that’s a new anti-Walt/Mearsheimer slogan…The Israel Lobby and the Poisoning of the Elites! Maybe it could be the title of Abe Foxman’s next book attacking the two learned professors. Have you ever heard of rhetoric so overblown? Hoenlein is our very own Chicken Little crying: “the sky is falling” and gnashing his teeth when a presidential candidate shows the least amount of independent judgment regarding the I-P conflict.