Friday, September 22, 2006

Democratic Party No Longer Hospitable Jewish Home

I've beat this drum fairly consistently and chronicled here a conversation with a Jewish Democrat neighbor who said "I'll always vote Democrat." My response was along the lines "have you spent any time actually paying attention to what Democrats are doing and saying starting with Clinton friend of terrorist scum Arafat?"

No, she hadn't been looking. Let's look, shall we? First via Instapundit, a fantastic post at The American Thinker that is a must read. Must. Read.

Cartoons more suitable in Iranian street protests calling for the destruction of Israel, have graced the pages of Daily Kos (the leading, by page views, Democratic blog) . Other greatest hits on Daily Kos include entries extolling the benefit to the world if Israel did not exist, another praising “the Iranian President” for being “absolutely right to suggest that Israel cease being a sovereign state as is”, and others suggesting Israel commits terrorism on a daily basis.

Lest these commentators be dismissed as a lunatic fringe, national surveys show a very clear decline in support for Israel among all Democrats. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in late July showed a strong gap between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to support for Israel. Among Republicans, an overwhelming 84% say they sympathize more with Israel than Arab states (which 1% of Republicans sympathize with) compared to just 43% of Democrats who do so (12% sympathize with Arab states).

These declines are confirmed by a separate Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll regarding views towards Hezbollah, the genocide preaching terror group that launched yet another attack on Israel two months ago leading to a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah. Regarding whether America should align itself with Israel, Democrats support neutrality over alignment, 54% to 39%. By comparison, Republicans strongly supported alignment with Israel, 64% to 29%.

While it may be true that netizens within the Democratic Party harbor more extreme views than Democrats, their extremism seems to be shifting the Democratic Party toward their more extreme views. In a superb Weekly Standard article (“Bad Company: Is the left-wing blogosphere a growing political force or an electoral burden?”), Dean Barnett analyzes the dynamics behind this pull on the Democratic Party by bloggers and their activist fan clubs.
The pernicious "fringes" have done their best to sabotage certain Democrat races in favor of a more "progressive" candidate. See a theme?
Is it a sign of the times, that Kos took pride in sabotaging two campaigns in particular: those of Martin Frost (the moderate – and Jewish – Democrat from Texas who had hoped to become the DNC Chair) and Senator Joe Lieberman – perhaps, America’s most widely respected Jewish Senator?
And how is the tide being turned? In Poliitics, as in everything, follow the money. The Web lead by "intense" political supporters has been an excellent fund-raising institution (something the Rightroots are just now waking up to--find out more and donate). Thanks to McCain-Feingold, the Incumbant Guarantee Act, 527s have proliferated and funded anti-Israel candidates.
Moreover, the increasing proliferation and importance of so-called 527 groups may play a roll in the increasing anti-Israel attitudes within the Democratic Party base. These are groups that can engage in partisan advocacy campaigns about the “issues”. While purportedly forbidden from targeting individual candidates, they have in fact been used in this manner.

They are also a useful means to skirt federal laws limiting the amount individuals can give to federal campaigns. However, they can also utilize another loophole: donors to these 527 campaigns do not have to be disclosed and they can also be foreigners. Are anti-Israel governments funding these advocacy groups? Arab oil billionaires have certainly found the means to influence public opinion by purchasing stakes in media properties and paying lavishly for news service feeds to their own networks and publications, endowing universities, and hiring former government officials with a view to influencing current policies. The logical step would be to cover all the bases: including those of the Democratic Party.*
Like the article states, it's not just the idealogues in the party swinging it to official anti-Semitism.
There are those who rejoice at the turn in the Democratic Party. The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs is easily the most anti-Israel publication in America. Based in Washington, D.C., its pages are filled with screeds against Israel and it lobbies for the end of US support for Israel. Anti-Semitism has also appeared in the pages of the magazine. In the current issue, the magazine has published its annual “Hall of Fame” that honors Congressmen it considers to be anti-Israel. At the top of the list among Senators, is Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat), aformer Ku Klux Klan Kleagle, Democratic baron, and the holder of one of the most anti-Israel records in Congress. In terms of the House, 29 members hold this dubious distinction - all of them Democrats (including Abercrombie, Conyers, David Obey, Jesse Jackson Jr., McDermott).
Contrast this record with a much-maligned Republican: John Bolton, American Ambassador to the United Nations.
Bolton has not only served America ably in representing our interests over the years, he has also been a friend to the Jewish people. He single-handedly took it upon himself to have the UN repeal the noxious “ Zionism is Racism” resolution by Herculean efforts (for an inspirational account, see this). He also was instrumental in the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, a very effective measure in curbing the spread of the very type of weapons of mass destruction that are an existential threat to Israel (the program helped to uncover and stop Libya’s nuclear program). He has been a firm supporter of the American-Israel friendship. He also has the enmity of many in the Democratic Party.
And speaking of Republicans, the party clearly has no problem with Jews. Ari Fleischer (former President Bush Press Secretary) and Ken Mehlman, Republican National Chairman, to name just two.
Conversely, the Republican Party has never been more welcoming to Jews nor as supportive of Israel. The party has welcomed an increasing number of Jews to its ranks, and its candidates garner an increasing number of votes from Jewish voters. While Democrats demagogue the rise of evangelicals in America (and in the Republican Party) and demonize them as a threat to the Jews, such mythmaking does not reflect the fact that evangelicals cherish the Jewish people, for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with end-of-days scenarios. Indeed, Jews have assumed leadership posts in the Republican Party. While Democratic National Committee head Howard Dean joyously dances with a keffiyah draped over his shoulders, Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman waxes nostalgically and publicly about his Bar Mitzvah.
This is important. My neighbor defensively asked why I thought President Bush so supported Israel. My answer was a rhetorical question, "Why wouldn't we all love Israel? She is a strong democracy, values freedom and our ideologies co-mingle. We are friends." Here is more on Evangelicals and Israel, an interview with David Brog author of the book Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State (buy this book!) at The American Thinker:
In addition, I think there is a second reason why this philo-Semitic theology flourished so richly in American soil. Unlike Europe, America did not have a history of popular anti-Semitism. True, many European immigrants brought anti-Semitic ideas with them to America. But from the start these ideas ran counter to the prevailing culture and never took root. The American Founding Fathers were free of this hatred, and instead had such reverence for the Bible and the Jews that they seriously considered making Hebrew the official language of the new nation. George Washington wrote his famous letter to the members of the Touro Synagogue warmly welcoming their civic participation and condemning bigotry in the strongest terms. Thus in America, the philo-Semitic theology of the evangelicals fit easily into the broader civic culture that surrounded them.

There is so much more in that interview. Please read it. These topics are of vital importance to the future of American politics and to the future of Israel's survival itself.

Whether conscious or not, the Jews are feeling the rumblings anti-Semitism. It is terrifying. Jews beat in France, synogogues defaced in Germany where the far right is rearing its ugly head, Iran and Hamas dedicated in their goal of a world without Israel--a message right at home in the Democratic party.

American conservatives find the rise of anti-Semitism repugnant. And I, for one, cannot believe what I'm seeing and hearing half the time coming from the far corners of the political spectrum. Have the Democrats lost their mind?

The short answer: yes.

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