Decision to run advertisement showed poor judgment

Henry I. Schvey

By Henry Schvey

I believe that the Editorial Board of the St. Louis Jewish Light owes its subscribers and readers a profound and sincere apology for running the shameful, incendiary full-page advertisement by the Emergency Committee for Israel in its July 25, 2012 issue. The ad, which ran in 23 Jewish newspapers across the United States, cites liberal critics who question or openly oppose President Barack Obama’s stance on Israel, suggesting that this president has been less than even-handed in his policies towards America’s closest ally and friend in the Middle East. 

What the publication of such an ad does not reveal is the Committee’s own sources. Ads such as this are not helpful to our political discourse — rather they represent precisely what is wrong with it, and are yet another extreme example of how our national discourse is being held hostage by extreme political interest groups, anonymously co-opting the system and using cash and vitriol to support causes without informing the public who is really behind them. A glance at the Emergency Committee for Israel’s website might suggest that it is “committed to mounting an active defense of the U.S.-Israel relationship by educating the public about the positions of political candidates on this important issue.” However, closer examination of its board reveals that its true goal is not the U.S.-Israel relationship, but rather the defeat of President Obama in November. The board is headed by William Kristol, so-called “godfather of neoconservatism” whose enthusiastic championing of our mission in Iraq (not to mention his support for Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate), certainly disqualifies him as a credible voice on Middle East affairs. The other name at the top of the Emergency Committee’s board is at least as troubling: it is Gary Bauer, former president of the Family Research Council who campaigned for President in 2000 on a platform which would overturn Roe v. Wade, destroy Planned Parenthood, and deny abortions even in cases of rape or incest. Are these really spokespersons who have Israel’s (and America’s) best interests at heart? Are such men really to be trusted as informed brokers for a Middle East peace?

I would argue that the important cause of support for Israel can do without voices that deliberately distort the President’s support for a fair and just peace in the Middle East. And that the Jewish Light should be more circumspect than to naively accept advertising dollars from such narrow minded and biased “friends.”