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Question of the Day
APPEAL TO U.S. JEWS
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is worried that too many American Jews are “alienated from Israel” and is urging them to defend the Jewish state against attacks in the U.S. media, on college campuses and among some politicians.
“Over the past year, I have watched with deepening concern as Israel became an issue in the increasingly bitter partisan debates in this country,” he told the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly in New Orleans earlier this week.
Mr. Oren emphasized that bipartisan political support in the United States is a “national strategic interest” for Israel.
“We urge American Jews to ensure that preserving a secure, sovereign Israel remains a bipartisan goal, to which Americans of all political outlooks aspire,” the ambassador said.
He compared the American Jewish community to a “universe, expanding and contracting at the same time” to illustrate a contrast between Jews who assimilate into a majority-Christian nation and those who believe their Jewish roots are planted in Israel.
“A core of committed Jews, deeply connected to Israel, is growing, but the wider periphery of highly assimilated Jews is breaking off,” Mr. Oren said.
“Numbers of young Jews have indeed become alienated from Israel — not because the American Jewish leadership has failed to tell them the truth about Israeli policies or because the way those policies are portrayed on campus and in the media or even because some of our policies can indeed prove controversial.
“Rather, it is mainly because these young people have grown distant from their Jewish roots, all of which, at some depth or another, lead to Israel.”
He called on American Jews to defend Israel’s right to exist and recognize that it is the only “unequivocally pro-American, democratic state in the Middle East … .”
“I think it is fair for Israel to expect the American Jewish community to uphold our right to self-defense,” he said. “Israel is a strategic national asset to the United States. We expect American Jewry to refute any charges to the contrary.”
GUNNING FOR MEXICO
The Mexican ambassador criticized the National Rifle Association for failing to help the U.S. government combat illegal arms trafficking into his country, where American-made weapons are smuggled to drug gangs fighting Mexican police.
The NRA, however, fired right back, blaming Mexico for its own drug wars.
“This would be a win-win for the NRA,” Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday.
“They ensure they are not being criticized for either complicity, overtly or covertly, [for] allowing guns to go into the hands of drug traffickers who then cross them over the border into Mexico.”
A spokesman for the NRA told the Reuters news agency that Mr. Sarukhan sounded as if he were faulting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the individual right to own guns.
“It is wrong for him to blame the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association for a problem that originates in his own country,” said spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. “This is a very serious and sad situation, but the solution has to come from within Mexico.”
More than 30,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug wars, and Mexican authorities have identified about 74,000 firearms as manufactured in the United States.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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