Importance of joint Federation-JEF meeting
Tonight’s joint meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Endowment of Louisiana at the Uptown JCC has implications far more outreaching than simple elections to various board posts and awards presented to deserving individuals. It will go far beyond the presentation of a state of the Federation message from the executive director.
What makes tonight’s meeting ever more important to the New Orleans Jewish community is the appearance via teleconference of Louisiana’s senior United States Senator Mary Landrieu. Landrieu, one of an increasingly very few Democratic leaders to represent our state, has been a staunch defender of the state of Israel and traveled to the Holy Land just last year.
Her record on voting with the Jewish State has been regarded as among the best in Congress, but she brings with her keen insights to which we all need to pay heed and attention. During this election period most eyes are focused on the White House and how the makeup of Congress will be affected by voting trends.
Nevertheless, the issue of support for the state of Israel has reached a critical mass. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed continuing dismay over the breakdown of relations between Egypt and Israel, the crisis in Syria, the continuing bombardment from Lebanon and the possibility of a nuclear Iran. While none of these have as direct an impact on the United States as on Israel, it is easy to forget that Israel cannot fight all of these fronts alone. Netanyahu has been accused of trying to establish “red lines” over which the United States would be drawn into escalated conflict in the Middle East.
President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have both expressed their support for Israel in varying ways, but the bottom line is that neither one wants to commit to side with Israel in what could be a very deadly, protracted conflict, especially a campaign waged against Iran.
We need to pay close attention to what the Senator says about Israel and what she regards as eminent threats to its survival as a nation. This is a critical time in the history of Israel and Senator Landrieu’s appearance tonight can give us all insight and perspective from a very influential and connected member of Congress.