Last week Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors presented Caroline Glick, speaking on “Israel on the Eve of U.S. Elections.” You can watch the video here -- and it is worth watching just to see the sustained standing ovation she got at the beginning or her presentation, and her reaction to it.
Here is my introduction of Caroline that evening, followed by the first few paragraphs of her presentation, which should make you want to watch the rest, since she made some very insightful comments on Romney's Jerusalem visit, which had occurred the day before, and then went on to cover even more important issues.
It was a remarkable presentation, and it is worth watching in its entirety.
I think we all recognize we are at an important point in history, and I want to introduce Caroline Glick by making a making a brief comment about the difference between history, on the one hand, and living through history on the other.
With history, you know how the story turns out. You read it wondering how it all happened, fascinated to learn all the details, but you are rarely personally invested in the outcome. You already know it. On the other hand, when you are living through history, it is exactly the opposite: you are immersed in the details, day after day, but you have no idea how it is all going to turn out.
It would be nice to have a prophet on hand, someone who could tell you what is going to happen.
Except that is not the definition of a prophet -- at least not in Jewish tradition. The prophets of the Hebrew Bible specialized not in prophecy but in first principles, knowing that if you paid attention to first principles, the future would take care of itself; and conversely, if you didn’t, it wouldn’t. The Hebrew prophets rarely predicted the future; more often, they excoriated the people about the present, based on first principles.
Norman Podhoretz in his book on the prophets wrote that those who chose appeasement in the 1930s might not have done so, had they remembered the warning against it by Jeremiah, who wrote “They have healed … [by] saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Podhoretz took that warning forward -- applying it to the new terror war against Israeli civilians -- writing that Jeremiah’s words “blazingly articulated the dangers of pursuing peace when peace is not at hand,” and warning against “prematurely and unilaterally [trying] to make peace with an enemy who had not the slightest desire to make peace” with you.
This evening we are in the presence of two prophets, in that deeper sense of that word. The first is the woman who daily reminds us that “Never Again” is now, and that the phrase was intended to be not merely a slogan, but to have operational significance – Doris Wise Montrose. Almost single-handedly, she has brought a series of speakers to us of surpassing importance, has established the important new Internet venture MyEretz to support Israeli business while others boycott it, and has worked tirelessly to insure that what her family and her people suffered will never happen again.
And the second is Caroline Glick. The words once applied by an Israeli colonel to Ruth Wisse of Harvard also apply to Caroline: she is “worth a battalion” -- because what we are engaged in is a war of ideas, and a contest of moral stamina, no less than a physical conflict. She has displayed not simply physical courage -- she was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq -- but intellectual and social courage, taking positions that gain her no popularity with elite opinion and few invitations to their cocktail parties. She writes an indispensable column every week, has produced an indispensable book, and has just joined the David Horowitz Freedom Center as the Director of its Israel Security Project.
Back in 1994, the great American writer Roger Shattuck listed his basic rules, and one of them was this: “Everything has been said. But nobody listens. Therefore it has to be said all over again -- only better.” It is a great privilege to present to you someone who says what has to be said, over and over again – and each time says it better: Caroline Glick.
I figure probably the best place to start is with presumptive Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney’s visit this past weekend to Israel -- and then move back a little bit.
So yesterday Romney was in Jerusalem, and he gave a speech in Jerusalem, and he was incredibly well received in Israel. And it is interesting, in a way, that he was so well received in Israel, because he didn’t seem to say that much in his speech.
We are used to American presidential candidates coming in and saying ‘I am going to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem myself. You know, January 21st -- I’m there, I’m there, and I am going to start building it, brick by brick -- whatever." They constantly are making these pronouncements --and Romney didn’t do that. Romney did not do that.
So why was he so well received? He didn’t make any of the usual routine promises of a presidential candidate who is seeking support of Israel supporters in the United States, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. I think that he was such a success because, more than anything else, the underlying message of his speech in Jerusalem was that [click here to keep watching].
In the Q&A session that followed her presentation, Glick was asked if she thought the Israeli people "are prepared for the very real pain that they'll face if there is a war?" You can watch her answer here.