On her recent visit to the Jewish state, the Jerusalem Post asked Myra Kraft, a leader in American Jewish philanthropy to Israel and the wife of Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, how she would feel about one of her four sons moving to Israel and joining the army.
I would go with him. I always wanted to live here. As for joining the army, over Vietnam, I would have had an issue,
because I didn’t believe in it. The same goes for the war in Iraq. I
don’t know why we’re there. I would hate to have one of my sons
fighting there. Iran’s the problem, not Iraq. But, as far as fighting
for Israel is concerned, there is no problem.
The JPost asked what issues she’ll take into account in the coming U.S. election:
Israel, the economy, the plans for getting out of Iraq quickly.
I find Myra Kraft’s comments both troubling and understandable. Understandable because she is the daughter of a Lithuanian Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Massachusetts. As a little girl she collected money from neighbors for Palestine. I imagine she has never felt completely secure in the west emotionally, given her father’s experience. His family was annihilated. So she feels great loyalty to Israel. I know Zionists like this.
I’m troubled because of her indifference to the larger American scene, in which she is a player. The Krafts have real power in the U.S., beginning with ownership of the Patriots. Robert Kraft is a dedicated alum of Columbia University and has given tons of money to the school. After the pro-Israel David Project blew apart Columbia in 2005 with its attack on the Middle East department, Kraft did a great thing and gave $500,000 to a fund for intercultural awareness and dialogue to try and heal his school. He has funded the Kraft Center for Jewish Life, which houses Hillel and a cafe that calls Israeli food "a taste of home"–whose home? And Columbia President Lee Bollinger surely had Kraft’s largesse in mind when he attacked Ahmadinejad before introducing the Iranian President at the campus last year. Bollinger needs guys like Kraft to fund his new dream campus in Harlem…
The Krafts seem to look on Israel as a home. They count Ehud Olmert as a friend, also Netanyahu. Myra thinks Israel is a great country and that it’s badly portrayed in the media–people are afraid to go because there will be suicide bombings. There seems to be no awareness of the suffering Israel is causing. When she
urges Christians to go and see what a great place it is, I don’t think she’s including Arab-Americans, who according to the Arab-American Institute, face terrible discrimination when they try and visit Israel and the Occupied Territories. Time and again the U.S. has honored its promises to the Jews for freedom in American society. Yet Jewish leadership helps to rubbish minority rights in Palestine. If her sons were in the IDF, they would be serving an occupation.
Mostly I’m troubled by her parochialism. She is a member of the American establishment, and she thinks always of Israel. Is this the way leaders should act?