Several years ago I visited Texas, researching a film I was writing for a Hollywood studio. I had never been in the Lone Star State before and I did not know what to expect. My guide, a young Texas lady, greeted me warmly at the airport. We chatted amiably in her gigantic Mercedes on the way to my hotel.
I noticed that she was wearing a Christian cross around her neck and a Magen David. I said nothing because you never know what you might get into and I had a job to do. But over the next several days, I got to know my guide pretty well and when she discovered that I was not only Jewish but observant she explained that she she wore the Star of David because of her love of the Jewish people and Israel.
When I pressed her to explain this devotion she simply said: “Hell, son, I’m a Texican.”
I was also knocked out when she displayed the Smith & Wesson .38 she carried in her Louis Vuitton shoulder bag.
“Better judged by twelve than by carried six,” she cheerfully quoted.
Since then I have loved Texas with a special admiration reserved for Texas women who strike me as some of the most gutsy, forthright and beautiful women I have ever met.
P.S. My film never got produced. Which is the fate of about 99.9 % of Hollywood projects. The basic the rule is: any script a studio develops never gets made. It’s the indie producers who actually produce movies. Studios are like big government. They set up endless meeetings, waste vast quantities of money, shuffle mountains of useless paper, and spend all their time protecting their rear ends.
Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Consul General in Houston, Texas gave a fascinating interview to Israeli television. My friend Carl of the excellent blog Israel Matzav posts the entire interview. Here are a few choice excerpts:
Q. Do Texans/Americans support Israel because of the influence of the Jewish community?
A. The support, by Texans in particular and Americans in general, of Judaism and the concept of a Jewish State dates back to the early Pilgrims who landed in America in 1620. They left England, “the modern-day Egypt,” sailed through the Atlantic Ocean, “the modern-day Red Sea” and arrived to America, “the modern-day Promised Land” or New Canaan. Since then until today, American appreciation of Judaism and of the idea of the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel constitute key issues in the American ethos, American justice and as of lately, USA national security.
Q. Who was the most pro-Israel American president?
A. In my opinion, the leading one was Ronald Reagan and in another way Richard Nixon, in spite of the fact that Nixon was received only 12% of the Jewish votes, so he had no political IOUs to the Jewish community. But, in 1970, he witnessed Israel forcing the rolling back of the Syrian invasion of Jordan that threatened through a Domino Syndrome Saudi Arabia and other oil producing Arab states in the Gulf. The Jewish state, which until then was not considered by Nixon a strategic asset, demonstrated its capability to snatch the hottest chestnuts out of the fire with no requirement of a single American soldier while the US was bogged down in Vietnam. President Nixon became a supporter of Israel. It was Nixon who, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, despite his Secretaries of State and Defense, decided to replenish Israel with significant military systems, in order to bolster the only effective ally of the US in the Middle East.
Q. And who is the least American President appreciative of Israel?
A. President Bush 41st and his Secretary of State, Baker. Jimmy Carter is in the same league and perhaps even worse. President Obama “threatens” to join them, but he is not there yet.
Q. Why Obama?
A. Because of his ideology and his view of the world, irrespective of Israel. For instance, an American president who does not believe in American moral, political and military Exceptionalism is less effective for Israel and the Free World. Israel and the Free World do not need a local American policeman; they need an American Marshal. Obama believes that the U.N, which is not the home court of the US or Israel, is the playmaker of international relations. He does not believe in the existence of international Islamic terrorism, only in local Islamic terrorism: Taliban and al- Qaeda. He does not believe in the existence of Jihadist terrorism, because, according to his advisor on countering terrorism: “Jihad is a process which purifies the soul.” Obama wants to be more European than the Europeans. He subordinates unilateral US policy to multilateral coalition considerations. Finally, he believes that the Palestinian issue is the root cause of Middle East instability and anti-American terrorism, and that the Palestinian issue is the crown-jewel of intra-Arab policy-making. All of which has no relevance to Middle Eastern reality.
Q. Maybe an American president who is not so pro-Israel can be more neutral and help bring the conflict to an end?
A. We need to comprehend that the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict does not depend on Israel or on the Americans. It is a derivative of the Middle East as it has been for 14 centuries. One shouldn’t ignore the fact that for 1,400 years, since the appearance of Islam, there has not been intra-Arab/Moslem peace, intra-Arab/Moslem compliance with intra- Arab/Moslem agreements, intra-Arab/Moslem ratification of all borders and not a single Arab/Moslem democracy. Terror has been an integral key element of intra-Arab/Moslem policy. In defiance of such an entrenched reality, some of us wish that the Arabs would bestow upon the Jewish State that which they have yet to accord to one another. I wish that it would be a logical expectation, but it is not. Moreover, the less involved is the USA in the Arab-Israel conflict, the lower are Arab expectations, and the less strained are US-Israel relations. The US involvement has added fuel to the fire of Arab expectations and radicalism and undermined US-Israel relations. US-Israel relations are based on shared values, threats and interests and not on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Go to Israel Matzav for the entire interview on video.