Elections in the US from an Israeli point of view

by Noam Sharon


A traditional Israeli approach to the dilemma of whether or not to support a U.S. presidential candidate is by answering the question: "Is he good for the Jews?"

And when Israelis talk about the good of the Jews, not the Jews of the U.S. are the center of concern. (As a group the Jews of the U.S. are obviously less troubled by the election's results than anyone else in the U.S.). When Israelis are concerned about the Jewish people, they are actually concerned about the Jews who sit in Zion – that is to say, themselves.

A popular cynical T-Shirt, a best seller amongst American tourists in Israel, quotes "America don't worry, Israel is behind you". The unanimous Israeli belief in the U.S. political, financial and military power is a major pillar in Israel psychological wellbeing. Backed up by the U.S. presumed alliance, Israel is willing to face the presumed constant threats to its very existence, including the Iranian Atom-bomb program. Obviously, no one wants those presumed tested, as they were tested recently in the Georgian-Russian conflict. 

For a traditional Israeli, therefore, a U.S. president "being good for the Jews" means first of all maintaining America's super-power as the policeman of the world, as well as its economic and political dominance. Under those conditions, Israel's consciousness about its own actions and relations to its neighbors can stay dormant, as has been traditionally the case. Continuing this line of thinking will end up in supporting a U.S. presidential candidate who will promise the continuation of a foreign policy of global military intervention. In our case it would be John McCain.

Traditional is the quality that describes McCain – a candidate who appears to be the exact continuation of the Bush policies: traditional foreign and domestic policy, traditional finance policy, and traditional environmental policy – everything that proved itself to be so wrong and harmful to the world. That’s why so many Israelis today realize that traditional thinking will just not do anymore.

If anything Obama is not – it is traditional. Obama in his campaign is truly capturing our attention as a manifestation of the spirit of change. His charismatic personality, his being an Afro-American, his promise of a different kind of politics, his innovative way to financing his own campaign, his commitment to environmental issues – everything in him makes you hope that a new state of mind will be elaborated once he becomes the most influential man in the world.

Many Israelis understand that as well, and give their support to Barak Obama. Even from the narrow-minded viewpoint of the good of the Jews, we understand that more of the same will just not do, and new thinking must be applied. The strength of the U.S. will be regained only when it starts directing its attention inwardly. In the same manner, Israel should seek for its own inner strength while approaching its existential questions – and not its military strength. Israel has so many strengths as an established democracy, a leading technology, a good economy and innovative thinking – that after 60 years of existence we should start conceiving that Israel is is-real and an equal member in the family of nations. As an equal member we should understand that our own good is included in the good of the whole world, and the good of the whole world demands Barak Obama.


Noam Sharon is the editor of AdamOlam Magazine – the Art of Education, Culture of Man and Social renewal inspired by Anthroposophy (in Hebrew). 

Thanks to The Network M for permission to reprint this article.