'What are you doing to my Jews?'
That was the querulous question Winston Churchill barked at Colonial Secretary George Lloyd in the depths of World War II. It would be hard to imagine any other statesman asking such a question, speaking so paternally of the Jewish people. But weighed down with the burdens of fighting Hitler and the Japanese, Churchill nonetheless took time to bitterly accost his own cabinet member and upbraid him for trying to block immigration of desperate Jews into Palestine, then a British Mandate.
We certainly cannot imagine even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking such a question. Netanyahu recently flew, uninvited and not entirely welcome, to Paris. There, he exchanged brief frosty words with France’s Socialist president, François Hollande. They met outside the Grand Synagogue. Netanyahu was surely aware that even before the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial offices and the kosher market, France’s climate of anti-Semitism had led 7,000 Jews to make Aliyah and seek refuge in Israel.
Had Netayahu confronted Hollande, asking Churchill’s famous question, Hollande might have replied: “We give French Jews the same protections we give every Frenchman. We forbid them to carry weapons and if they are attacked by a military-style SWAT team of terrorists, we send in unarmed policemen on bicycles.”
We certainly cannot imagine a U.S. statesman like Henry Kissinger asking such a question of the Soviet Communist bosses in the 1970s. They were oppressing the Jews of the USSR, but Kissinger loudly opposed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment that tied U.S.-Soviet trade to the Kremlin’s willingness to let persecuted Russian Jews escape to Israel.
Kissinger apparently never heard of Benjamin Disraeli’s dictum -- a watchword that Churchill repeated regularly: “The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews.”
We know what President Obama thinks of Benjamin Netanyahu. When then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy complained to our chief that he could not stand the Israeli prime minister, Obama sympathized, saying: “I have to deal with him every day.”
And how does our president deal with Israel every day? If French Jews and Ukrainian Jews leave their beloved home countries because of anti-Semitism, they flood into Israel, the haven of the Jewish people. There, they build apartments in East Jerusalem and settle into towns in Judea and Samaria, on the West Bank of the Jordan. These are historically Jewish areas.
But President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, and current placeholder John Kerry have all denounced the Jewish settlements in Israel. They demand that Israel give up more territory to the PLO, those inventors of airline hijacking for terror purposes. In return for yielding more territory to their sworn enemies, the Israelis are going to get peace, or so the Obama administration assures us.
Just like they got peace for evacuating Gaza, for leaving South Lebanon, and for yielding up control of Bethlehem and Jericho. What they got is thousands of rockets launched against them and a constant drumbeat of incitement of young Arabs to kill all Jews.
President Obama presides over the most anti-Israel administration in U.S. history. While blocking sanctions against nuclear-chasing Iranian mullahs, his administration even toyed with sanctions against Israel. Only a bipartisan howl of outrage on Capitol Hill stayed Mr. Obama’s hand. (“I have to deal with him every day!”)
We suggest Mr. Obama emulate his model in Peace Prizing diplomacy, Jimmy Carter. We suggest he take some time to go up on the mountain at Camp David. But he should not bring his entire cabinet and then decide to fire the lot of them, as the flummoxed Carter did.
Instead, we respectfully suggest the president go by himself to Camp David to reflect and pray. He might consider his own place in history. He might contemplate Disraeli’s wise words: “The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews.”
And -- who knows? -- he just might hear that still small voice asking him: “What are you doing to my Jews?”
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior Fellows at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.