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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Democrats Twist AIPAC's Bipartisan Line In An Attempt To Muzzle Criticism Of Obama's Anti-Israel Policies

by Matthew Knee

In a closed door meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked Netanyahu to demand a pledge from the Republican Jewish Coalition not to make Israel a campaign issue in 2012. He did not.

To the uninitiated, Wasserman Schultz's bizarre request seems almost too chutzpadik to be believed, as much blogospheric mocking shows. However, Wasserman Schultz was in a sense parroting AIPAC’s bipartisan party line, albeit in an ironically partisan way. AIPAC works to ensure that Israel-related bills in Congress pass with crushing bipartisan majorities, and that American presidents pursue pro-Israel policies. To do this, they must establish that Israel is not a partisan issue, allowing pro-Israel activists and donors of both parties to use their clout to ensure that elected officials – especially otherwise indifferent ones – remain influenced by pro-Israel supporters.

Ideally, Israel should not be a partisan matter, and AIPAC works hard to prevent it from becoming one - they need to win votes no matter who is in power, and they do, by enormous bipartisan margins. Obama's backpedaling at AIPAC shows that they still are quite good at this. He might have been dissembling, but the fact that he felt the need to do so says a lot about AIPAC's power and success.

However, the partisan divide on Israel stems directly from many Democrats becoming less pro-Israel. Wasserman Schultz manages to turn the principle that pro-Israel policies should be bipartisan upside down, using it to provide cover for some Democrats to defect to the anti-Israel side of the fence. If one is to "erase the aisle" on Israel issues, as Wasserman Schultz suggests, one must ensure that the parties are equally supportive of Israel - not simply stop talking about the fact that they are not.

Democrats are not becoming anti-Israel because Republicans are calling them anti-Israel. Republicans claiming to be more pro-Israel won't make pro-Israel Democrats defensive about anti-Israel positions they do not hold, and considering the high level of Democratic partisanship in the pro-Israel community, Republicans expressing invalid criticisms of Democrats' Israel views is unlikely to leave Democratic politicians without influential pro-Israel supporters any time soon.

The problem is that these criticisms have merit. Democrats are becoming less supportive of Israel because American liberalism, influenced by Postcolonialism, anti-anti-Islamist sentiment, cultural relativism, and the decline of nationalism (and the attendant affinity for nations like ours), is no longer as compatible with support for Israel as it once was. While 85% of Republicans sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians, only 48% of Democrats do. Last year, when Gallup polled Americans about their views on 20 different countries, the partisan favorability gap on Israel - 27 points - was the highest of any country. I encourage everyone to read Jennifer Rubin's more detailed rundown of the numbers.

While Democrats may be becoming less pro-Israel in absolute terms, the spectrum itself has shifted to the right. As Palestinian rejectionism has moved Israel’s own positions rightward, far more Democrats than Republicans have suddenly found themselves on the not-pro-Israel side of the shifting divide. This also increases the gap between the very pro-Israel and the go-along-to-get-along types, potentially complicating bipartisan legislation.

If the Democratic Party had no Israel problem, they would respond to Republican challenges by matching or beating their bids. They would take offense at the implication that they are any less pro-Israel and fight to prove their critics wrong. Some are trying. Many Democrats have taken the side of Israel (not to mention American values and commitments) in the recent Obama-Netanyahu dust-up. But as party chair, Wasserman Schultz is stuck slathering lipstick on the Obama's not-so-kosher Israel policies, and faces the reality that on average, Democrats are simply not as pro-Israel as Republicans. She doesn't have the hand to match the GOP's on the issues, so all she can do is bluff them into folding.

Ironically, by rudely forcing a direct confrontation between the RJC and the National Jewish Democratic Council on this issue, Wasserman Schultz likely exacerbated problems of partisanship in the pro-Israel community. Republicans can hardly be expected to ignore their policy differences with the administration, nor abandon Israel as the facts on the ground push it rightward. They especially can't do these things because the Democrats demand it. I hope that the trend of Democrats turning against Israel is reversed, but in the mean time, pro-Israel Republicans need to continue fighting for what is right and holding the Obama administration responsible for their actions – with or without Democratic support.


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  1. What might one expect from one of the most partisan members of Congress.

  2. Saying the Democrats may be less pro Israel is an understatement. Since Bibi gave Obama a verbal tongue lashing last week, the left has felt empowered to outwardly express their anti-semitism. Their open embrace of Marxism started a few months ago, and this episode gave them a green light to openly state their anti Israel stance. It started with a ripple, then a wave, now a full blown tsunami. The masks are off.

  3. Twitter

    David Burge
    Every Christman eve, the guy married to Debbie Wasserman Schultz leaves out milk and cookies for the Grim Reaper.

    Burge is hilarious..

  4. Wasserman Schultz scares the crap out of me like Pelosi did before becoming speaker!! Their ideas and ideals are just frightening!!!

  5. My question is and has been, being of Jewish descent myself, I can't help but wonder how the Jewish population here in the U.S. keeps voting for Anti-Semitic liars, yet every polling day they somehow blindly rush to do so. In turn, we now have an administration that appears more than happy to watch Israel be eradicated. "As Ye sow, so shall Ye reap". We are now witnessing the harvest of a seed that was planted centuries ago, nurtured over years and years, blooming every now and then (Nazi Germany for example) and now is in fact at full bloom.

    I'm not sure what the answer is, but it sure as hell isn't the Anti-Semite in the White House anymore that it is the self hating Jews who helped elect him. Israel and in turn Western Civilization as we know it is in grave danger. The Muslims are candid about this while we here in Obama land are being told to accept it by our sad sack leaders! Yet, this could have been stopped if the electorate had just taken their responsibilities as voters seriously! When the President and his minions speak of Israel and the Mid-East, I sense pure open hatred for Israel. I point out that's how I feel. I only know when I watch this clown speak and look at his eyes, I see hate. And that is a bad thing to see in anyone's leader.

    My only question now? Will the Jewish population in this country now come to their senses and stop marching in lockstep with the very politicians that actually hold them in utter disdain? Hell, I’ve seen over and over people saying (including O’Reiley) that the American Jewish population would still deliver at least 65 to 70 percent of their votes to the President and his Anti-Semite leftist party! This is from an earlier post of mine:

    Can the above really be true? Is the Jewish American population completely brain dead? Are they so completely screwed up in their heads that they believe for one moment that the atrocities we see aimed day after day at Israel will not be aimed at them once Israel is destroyed? Do they think for one moment a President that openly embraces a radical element bent on the elimination of the Jewish people will even try to stop the insurrection that is already making itself evident around the country? This same slow creeping cancer that is the Anti-Jewish sentiment is exactly the same as Nazi Germany. The similarities are there for all to see. Of course, I and others will be vilified for even having the audacity to compare our President to Hitler, yet he is allowing this to happen. Between his perceived hate for the Jews (again, this is how I see it!) and his Chaimberlain like stance of “I believe they’ll negotiate in good faith” belief in the radical Muslims who are now apparently running things (this clown really does believe in his heart radicals can be reasoned with. I’ve never figured this out, yet year after year morons think one can deal with hateful radicals. Can’t be done!) Israel, All Jews and if someone will finally get their heads out of their asses and realize, Western civilization as we know it are in deep danger!