The presidential campaign is in full agonizing swing.
Charges and countercharges are flying with great ease across the ether and into every part of our lives, not just on our television screens or through our radio speakers. Thanks to the Internet, and to such social media” outlets as Facebook and YouTube, the never-ending stream of political messages has invaded the very tools we use to communicate, to educate, and to create.
There is no avoiding these messages, and in a way that is a good thing. After all, an educated electorate is a wise electorate – or, at least, that is our hope. The more information we voters have, the better informed our decisions will be on Election Day.
The problem is that we are not getting information; we’re getting misinformation and disinformation, in the form of twisted facts and outright lies. The goal is to get us to vote by instinct alone. Keeping us ignorant of the truth of things is the way to achieve that.
Both sides are guilty of this obfuscatory technique. And thanks to a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, which remains unapologetic even now over what it has wrought, the candidates can keep their hands relatively clean and leave all of the dirtiest work to superPACs and the virtually unlimited funds that feed them. George Soros, Sheldon Adelson – whomever; they are in the business of skewing reality to their side of the political agenda.
And good luck to them. Frankly, that is what freedom of speech is all about. These seemingly nonpolitical organizations with their very partisan political messages have every right to say what they think they need to say to achieve a particular end. And we will defend their right to do so, no matter how egregious their statements.
But please, superPACs, leave Israel out of it.
And please, Democrats and Republicans, Obamacrats and Romneycans, leave Israel out of it.
In the end, you can only do more harm than good for Israel.
This is a fact supported by myriad facts: Regardless of who wins in November, the administration in Washington will not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; it will not move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; it will not support the expansion of settlements in the west bank; and it will not sanction unilateral military moves by Israel against the Palestinians or the Iranians.
On the other hand, regardless of who wins in November, the administration in Washington will continue to protect Israel at the United Nations; will maintain a strong security relationship with Israel; and will continue to lavish massive amounts of U.S. aid on Israel, at least so long as Tea Party candidates who object to all foreign aid do not get themselves elected to Congress.
In other words, it really does not matter whether President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney wins in November, as far as Israel’s security is concerned. So there is no reason why Israel needs to be such a large focus of the campaign.
In fact, there is a downside to involving Israel. Because he feels compelled to demonstrate how supportive he truly is toward Israel, Obama at times makes statements that may come back to haunt him in a second term, should he receive one. That is because he will have lost some credibility as an honest broker in negotiations for having taken so strong a position favoring Israel.
Romney, for his part, feels he must counter Obama’s clearly strong record of support for Israel militarily, in the area of security cooperation, and at the United Nations. And so he put his potentially presidential foot in his mouth when he expressed no support for a two-state solution and no confidence in negotiations. If he sticks to his word, he will have limited any freedom of action he may have had in trying to bring a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Such positioning on the part of both candidates can only hurt Israel in the long run.
Israel will be in good hands regardless of who wins in November. We accept that. So please, candidates, keep Israel out of it for the rest of the campaign.