America's Attitude toward Israel Proves that the US is Still Exceptional
Part of the American gestalt has always been that the US is an exceptional country among the nations of the Earth. The exceptionalism is sometimes interpreted in different ways: some citizens believe that the country was founded under the guidance of divine providence to be the unique fount of liberty and justice for mankind; others that our system of government is to serve as the best model for how societies should organize themselves; and still others that we have a unique responsibility to salve the major wounds - accidental and purposeful - that erupt around the world.
However one defines it, there is no question that a vast majority of Americans, both now and in the past, consider the United States to be exceptional in an exceedingly positive way, and they take pride in being part of it.
But not all Americans! Tragically, the President of the United States is not counted among them. He is on record, having publicly stated that his belief in American exceptionalism is no more special than what Brits or Swedes believe about their countries. How representative is he? Does he herald a new trend in American self-identification? How influential has he been in converting Americans to a more vanilla sense of our nation's worth?
We have witnessed an event recently, which highlights dramatically that the answer to the three preceding questions is a resounding "Not at all!" The event was Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress. The rousing, overwhelmingly positive and tremendously supportive reception that he received from both sides of the aisle reflects an important manifestation of continued American exceptionalism. First, this is because Netanyahu's reception in Congress is completely consistent with overall American attitudes toward Israel. Second, such a reception, channeling the people's attitude, would be impossible anywhere else in the world. For, sad to say, a mere 66 years since the United States extinguished the Nazi menace, the nations of the world have reverted to a blatant and virulent anti-Semitism, which is reflected in the nearly universal condemnation of and discrimination against the Jewish State of Israel. Except in the United States!
The people of America continue to recognize in Israel a kindred spirit - a nation devoted to freedom, justice, the rule of law, religious tolerance, equal opportunity, economic growth and the finer aspects of Western Civilization. That such recognition brands us in the US as exceptional is a truly sad commentary on the state of the planet. That our dear President is among those who are blind to the kindred relationship is bitterly ironic. But it does not change the fact that the American people inhabit a truly exceptional nation - and our eagerness to stand with Israel is a testament to that fact.