By Don Feder - October 31, 2001
The conversation ended abruptly, with my phone being slammed down.
The caller claimed my recent column on President George W. Bush's betrayal of Israel was "anti-American." Where I come from -- a small town in upstate New York in the 1950s, where most of our fathers were World War II vets -- those are fighting words.
Some citizens have gotten it into their midget minds that after Sept. 11, any criticism of the president is disloyal. Sorry, Heinrich, but freedom of speech has not been suspended for the duration.
Here's a primer on anti-Americanism, for those who need one. If you're looking for examples, just cast a glance leftward.
A case in point is Princeton professor Richard Falk, who says the World Trade Center attack occurred because "the mass of humanity ... finds itself under the heels of U.S. economic, military, cultural and diplomatic power." In other words -- we had it coming.
Since the 1960s, anti-Americanism has flourished on college campuses, in Hollywood and among the chattering class.
Anti-Americanism is the conviction that our history is one long chronicle of crimes against humanity -- slavery, segregation, dispossession of the Indians, exploitation of labor and suppression of dissent.
It is blind to America's greatness -- to our unparalleled contributions to the advancement of human liberty, the development of representative government and the march of progress.
Anti-Americanism invariably attributes sinister motives to our government. It assumes that in any international conflict, America is always wrong. It views Berchtesgaden and the Reagan White House, Sadam Hussein and the elder George Bush, Al Qaeda and the CIA as moral equivalents.
Anti-Americanism sneers at our heritage. It perceives patriotism as the province of demagogues and dupes. It thinks the pledge of allegiance is passe and the national anthem militaristic.
Anti-Americanism exalts hyphens and disparages unity. It holds that those who live here have no obligation to learn our language and history, celebrate America's achievements or support its sovereignty.
All of this is a far cry from legitimate disagreements over policy. I opposed our war on Yugoslavia because it was not in the national interest -- quite the opposite, in fact. Abraham Lincoln opposed the war with Mexico because he feared it would lead to an expansion of slavery. Did that make Lincoln a traitor?
It is a deep love of country that compels me to speak out against Bush's sellout of Israel. To appease our Moslem allies-in-name-only, the president is pushing Jerusalem to treat with assassins and allow another Afghanistan on its borders.
Big mistake. Strategic interests aside, the fates of America and the seed of Abraham are intertwined.
The Bible was as much America's founding document as the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. The Founding Fathers' beliefs in liberty, equality before the law and representative government came from Sinai. The Constitution is a covenant reflecting a much older covenant.
I recently had the privilege of speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives. Facing the speaker's podium is a bas-relief of Moses.
The relationship hasn't been one-sided. America acted as midwife at the birth of the modern state of Israel. When its first chief rabbi met Harry Truman, he told the president, "God put you in your mother's womb to give the Jewish people back their land."
"I will bless that nation that blesses you and curse the nation that curses you." That promise is verified by history. Has there ever been a nation as good to the Jews as America? Has any land been more blessed?
Consider the fate of Germany and Russia, the most anti-Semitic nations of the century past. Who can deny the reality of Divine judgment?
Regarding the evil of slavery, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just -- that His justice can not sleep forever."
And I tremble for our nation when I reflect on what's being done in the name of a war on terrorism. On the day this country deserts Israel, "God bless America" will become just so many empty words.Don Feder is a columnist for the Boston Herald and the author of "Who is afraid of the Religious Right?" and "A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America."
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