It comes as no surprise that America often attempts to exert influence over its allies. Allies are suppose to be exactly that, allies—partners who support and promote the success of one another. However, liberal superiority has gone beyond help and exerted imprudent influence in the international community.
Israel finds itself making tough decisions every day and recent American interjection does not help that decision making process. American citizens who think they know what’s best for the only Jewish country in the world are at fault for this.
A few weeks ago, Israel was mired in controversy; this time, however, the controversy was unrelated to the Palestinian conflict. Rather, the Israeli government scrapped a bill to integrate the Western Wall, which would have allowed men and women to pray together for the first time since the reopening of the Wall to Jews in 1967. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the decision, progressive Israelis were dissatisfied, but most of the outrage came from the American public.
American Jews have every right to influence the way Judaism is practiced and perceived. However, when non-Jewish American citizens began to chime in, a problem surfaced that I often ask myself as an American Jew: How much right do we as Americans, even Jewish Americans, have to tell Israelis how to practice their religion?
This seems to be a problem we don’t have with other religions. Any time there is criticism of Islam, whether it be their treatment of women or anything else, the person criticizing is lambasted as Islamophobic by the liberal mainstream and fringes.
Much of this reaction comes from the American idea that we should refrain from criticism of other religions and cultures across the globe different from our own. Nonetheless, when Jews attempt to practice their religion with the same dignity and laws that they have for millennia, Americans take issue with it.
However, the decision by Netanyahu and others in government, to keep the Wall in gender-separated sections, shows no discrimination. There is a women’s section at the wall. There are opportunities for all genders and religions to pray at the holiest site in Judaism and yet Americans prescribed changes for orthodox Judaic practices.
And this is not the first time America has attempted to make decisions about Judaism and Israel. In 2016, before President Obama left office, he allowed UN Resolution 2334 to pass, making a rare decision to abstain on a vote against Israel at the UN. As part of the resolution, the international community, including the United States, would “not recognize any changes to the 4th of June, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”
In other words, according to this resolution, Israel has no right to any part of Jerusalem gained through the Six Day War, including the Western Wall. By UN declaration, the Jews had no right to the holiest spot in their religion.
Conservatism supports the idea that America and the West should not be involved in most decisions of other countries or religions. I say it’s time we adhere to this value. It is not the place of America or the West to tell Israel how to live and we should not hold one religion to a higher standard than the religions that we refrain from criticizing.
This is not to suggest that we cannot criticize outdated ideas within any religion that endanger minorities or people of either gender, but to forcefully prescribe changes for a religion crosses a line. This one-sided meddling is not limited to religious ideology.
For all the problems America has with the Russian involvement in our election, Obama and the Democrats had no problem with meddling during the Israeli election in 2015. During this election, Obama and his State Department facilitated spending towards the ousting of Benjamin Netanyahu. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that in 2014 the State Department had given $350,000 to an NGO that attempts to foster peace in Israel. However, at the end of the grant period (during the election in 2015) this NGO used funds, some coming from U.S. taxpayers, to support a political campaign to defeat the incumbent Israeli leader.
American involvement in both Israeli government and religion is one of the reasons that so many Israelis were happy to see Donald Trump win the election. A Pew Research poll on international faith compared Trump to Obama, and found that while Obama enjoyed a 49% confidence rating in Israel, Trump enjoys a 56% confidence rating among the general Israeli public.
Perhaps it’s time we start listening to the Israeli people and start to re-involve ourselves at home. Then we can solve the problems that are ailing America and let other countries solve their problems sovereignly.
Photo Credit: Golasso44