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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Coming Break Between Jews and the Democrats

Since the days of the New Deal, American Jews have supported the Democrats.  The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that "Jews live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans."  Since the election of 1932, a majority of Jews have voted for the Democrat in each presidential election.  In 2012, Jews were the only large white group to support Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.  Obama got about 68% of the Jewish vote despite getting only about 40% of the white vote overall.  Obama and his liberal allies are now adopting tactics that could be about to smash the Jewish alliance with the Democrat party.

In the last six years, Obama has been adopting tactics that have been very harsh towards Israel.  There are few Jews who vote on the basis of the general attitude of the administration towards Israel; that was clear in 2012.  It is true that Obama's share of the Jewish vote fell from 78% in 2008 to 68% in 2012, but still more than two thirds supported him.  It is quite another story when the administration adopts an anti-Israel posture which could easily threaten the survival of that nation.  It is even worse when the actions of the administration and the left threaten American Jews right here in America.

Let's look at what is happening.  First, Obama and the liberal Obamacrats in his party and in the media are in the middle of a full out assault on Israel for voting for the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu.  This assault is not limited to expressions of displeasure.  Instead, Obama is threatening to break the alliance between Israel and the USA by using the UN to attack the Israelis.  Remember who the UN is and how it acts.  For example, the UN panel on the rights of women just concluded its annual meeting.  At the closing of that meeting the panel condemned one country for the way it treats women:  Israel.  Can you imagine the silliness of countries which allow wife beating (like Sudan) voting to condemn Israel for the treatment of women?  How about the Saudis who won't let women drive or appear in public without a head to toe covering?  How about the countries that engage in female genital mutilation?  They get no mention, but Israel (which has more women in its parliament than the USA, which has full rights for women, and which first had a woman as prime minister forty years ago) gets condemned.  That is where Obama is going to punish the Israelis for voting in a way he did not like.

Second, the reasons being given by Obama and his allies for the assault on Israel are very disturbing and dishonest.  Instead of expressing an honest disagreement with Israel, the word is being put out there in all sorts of media and by Democrat spokesmen that Netanyahu -- and by extension Israel--are racist.  The racist label is being thrown because Netanyahu pointed out at the end of the election that massive amounts of money was being used by his opponents to bus Arab voters to the polls.  That is not racist; it was the truth.  Much of the money and effort came directly from Obama's people.  Think about that.  Suppose you heard in 2014 a Democrat say that the Koch brothers were spending massive amounts of cash to get the white evangelical voters to the polls.  Is that racist?  Suppose you heard a Republican say that George Soros was funding a massive effort to get black voters to the polls.  Is that racist?  The answer is a clear negative.  For Israel, however, little is said about Netayahu's actual words.  In story after story, the mainstream media is just announcing that Netanyahu is racist; they leave out the proof.

A good example of the sort of tactic being pushed in the media is a story on the front page of the New York Times today which explains how American Jews are upset because of the tactics used by Netanyahu to gain re-election.  How can Jews support him if he is a racist, asks the Times.

The tactics chosen by Obama and the liberals are particularly disturbing because they play right into the line of attack used by the radical Palestinians and the terrorists.  These forces tell us that Israel is an "apartheid" state.  Apartheid, of course, is the method used in South Africa by the white minority to keep control of the black majority.  It kept whites and blacks separate legally and in practice.  Only whites had rights.  Nothing like that exists in Israel.  Israelis Arabs make up a little less than 20% of the population.  They have all the rights of other citizens.  They are the only Arabs in the region who have the right to vote in a meaningful election.  Roughly 15% of the members of the Israeli parliament are Arabs.  The only difference in the way that the state treats them is that they are not subject to the military draft.  They can join the army if they enlist, but service is not compulsory.  But what about the Arabs in the West Bank?  The majority of them live in areas that are governed by the Palestinian Authority.  The rest live in areas under Israeli control.  These are the people who would live in the second state of the two-state solution.  Obama would tell you quickly that these folks do not live in Israel.  None of this is apartheid.  But what about the separation barrier, the "wall" that divides the West Bank from Israel?  For 35 years after the Israelis won control of the West Bank from Jordan in 1967, there was no wall.  Then came the start of the so called intifada in which the Palestinians launched thousands of terrorist attacks against Israeli cities.  The terrorists came from the West Bank and drove fifteen or twenty miles to the Israeli city to launch the attacks.  The "wall" was built to stop those attacks.  It requires people passing through the checkpoints to be subject to search just as people boarding planes are subject to search since the terrorists began using commercial planes as sites for terrorist attacks.  Is it apartheid when the TSA makes you go through their searches before you board the plane to Chicago?

Third, Obama's actions are unleashing a barrage of anti-Semitism against Jews across America.  This is particularly true at the institutions at the heart of the liberal empire:  universities.  At UCLA, the student government questioned one woman about her ties to Jewish organizations before voting not to accept her for the office she was seeking.  The same government voted to ask each member to agree not to have anything to do with a long list of Jewish organizations.  Anti-Semitic signs have been put up on many campuses.  Physical attacks on Jews and Jewish buildings are on the rise.  And nothing gets done about it.  The problem is so severe that even organs like The Daily Beast are reporting about it.  Obama will not recognize the targeting of Jews, and his strongest liberal supporters won't either.  Remember when the three Moslem students were shot in North Carolina by their neighbor in a fight over a parking place?  The president thought that merited a statement by him which included a condemnation of the targeting of Moslems (even though it still appears that the religion had nothing to do with the attack.)  Remember when four Jews were killed in a Paris kosher supermarket in a follow up to the Charlie Hebdo massacre?  The president and the administration called the attack "random" and would not acknowledge that the victims were Jews who were killed for being Jewish.  This sort of conduct does not go unseen; it encourages the liberal base to do the same thing.

So what does this do to the Jewish community?  How does that community react especially since some of the people launching or justifying the attacks are Jewish themselves?  For many, it will be a major problem.  After all, how can they turn against the Democrats and the left especially since that group is so much a part of their identity?  Some will close their eyes and stick with the Democrats.  Many others, however, will see what is happening and move the other way.  In many respects it will be up to the next Democrat presidential candidate to determine just how bad the loss of Jewish support will be.  If Hillary Clinton were to come out today against Obama's actions regarding Israel and the attacks on Jews around the world, she would be able to retain most Jewish support for the next election.  Silence or support for Obama by Hillary, however, will drive a major wedge into the Jewish support for the Democrats.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that in 2016 the GOP will get anything like the majority of Jews that Obama got in 2012.  What will happen in 2016, however, is that the tie between the Democrats and the Jewish community will be broken.  Those votes will be up for grabs from now on.


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