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  • Israel, Obama, Democrats, and Jews

    Posted by David Foster on November 4th, 2012 (All posts by )

    Playwright David Mamet has published an article addressed to those Jews planning to vote for Obama.

    The Long Island Jewish Star has endorsed Mitt Romney–see the editorial by Jeff Dunetz.

    See this article from about a year ago: Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel, by British commentator Nile Gardiner.

    Hostility toward Israel is disturbingly common throughout the Democratic Party’s base. 25% of Democrats say the U.S. is “too supportive” of Israel, versus only 13% of Republicans giving that answer. Only 9% of Democrats say the U.S. is “not supportive enough” of that country, versus 46% of Republican who think the U.S. should be more supportive.

    A survey conducted by YouGov earlier this year indicates that 37% of Democrats believe pro-Israel lobby groups have “too much influence”…about twice the percentage that gave this response among Republicans.

    In addition to the lack of support and outright hostility toward Israel that appear among the Democratic base, outright anti-Semitism appears to be all too common. 20% of Democrats and Independents view Jews as “caring only about themselves,” compared with 12% of Republicans giving this answer. Another survey, conducted in the wake of the Bernard Madoff debacle, indicates that 32% of Democrats blamed “the Jews” for the financial crisis, while only 18% of Republicans did so. (” This difference is somewhat surprising given the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party’s electoral coalition,” said the study’s authors.)

    Obama’s clear hostility to Israel, and the disturbing opinion patterns among the Democratic base, should be of concern not only to Jews and to those who have a particular affinity for Israel, but also to all Americans who are interested in world stability and peace, and in an American polity which is not ripped apart by ethnic conflicts.

     

    34 Responses to “Israel, Obama, Democrats, and Jews”

    1. Mike K Says:

      There were also some nasty, ad hominem comments after the piece. I have great respect for Mamet, not just for his writing but he is a fan of Neville Shute, my favorite author.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      An orthodox friend of mine, who I thought had better sense than to be a BO supporter sent me some pro-BO propaganda last week. I replied as follows to him:

      Dear Irv:

      I was hoping that you of all people would not support Obama.

      I thought you were intelligent enough to realize that not only is he a failure at running the executive branch, but he is committed to policies that have undermined the safety and security of Israel.

      I fully understand that for many if not most people, politics is a form of expressive identity, and that many Jews will find it more difficult to pull the lever for a Republican candidate than to make the sign of the cross. But, they don’t have to do the unthinkable. They can not vote for President, or they can stay home.

      I am voting for Mitt Romney because he is a competent executive who has a plan to steer the ship of state away from its current course over Niagara falls, and because he is a close personal friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, who will be the prime minister of Israel for the next few years. As such, I am certain that he will work closely with Israel to avoid the looming catastrophe in Syria and to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. These are things that Obama is clueless about.
      ===========================================
      There is more in this article by Lee Smith:

      http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/115306/the-alan-dershowitz-syndrome

    3. Joe Citizen Says:

      Obama does not have any antipathy toward Israel. His administration has had the closest relationship with Israel on security matters of any administration in history – as per the expressed opinions of the incumbent Israeli president and defense minister.

      This anti-Obama hatred-driven smear that the rightwing is perpetrating is based on the fact that the Obama administration (like the Reagan administration, if one recalls well) is not a slavish adherent to the Likud party program.

      It seems quite clear that the Likud party has had an extremely destructive policy for many decades now – a policy of relentless appropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank. This policy is directly opposed to international law, and to stated American policy, and has been for nearly 40 years. It is the major obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the situation there, a resolution that no sane person truly believes is desired by the Likud government.

      The loudest voices in the American jewish community on these issues (though clearly a minority of American jews) have formed an alliance with the extreme right wing christian groups (whose undying support for Israel is based on their vision of the coming end-times) to oppose any voices that stand for a sane, fair-minded, and effective peace process. This alliance represents the greatest danger to a secure future for Israel, well integrated into a peaceful Middle East.

    4. David Foster Says:

      JoeC: Over at least the last 2 decades, the “progressive” Left has demonstrated strong and increasing antipathy toward Israel. One current manifestation of this hostility is the so-called B-D-S (“boycott/divestment/sanction”) movement, aimed at strangling Israel economically. Are you going to assert that this movement is targeted only at the Likud, or are you going to assert that Obama’s roots are in something other than the “progressive” movement?

    5. Jonathan Says:

      Everyone knows the Democrats love the Jews.

    6. Mo Says:

      Wow, Joe Citizen, where do I start deconstructing the silliness?

      Peres the ex-President and Ehud Barak the Defense Minister are both Leftists who would have given away just about everything and opened Israel to the kind of insanity they are dealing with from Gaza, with rockets almost every day (much of that fire is not even reported by the press because it’s too commonplace!). Israel is full of leftist politicians, just like here, and so what?

      Obama’s programs that you refer to were initiated by the Bush Administration and/or by Congress, NOT by the Obama admin. Obama wanted Israel to return to the ’49 borders or the ’67 borders, with nothing given first by the Palestinians. No, I’m sorry, there has been no land grab by the Israelis, though there SHOULD be as they won the land which was NOT Palestinian but Jordanian.

      Oh wait, they could do what they did in Gaza, give it back, since again, that has worked SO WELL. The Gazan Palestinians, instead of pursuing peace, decided to throw one another off buildings or machine gun each other after kangaroo court proceedings, with Hamas coming out ahead of that little contest. Let’s not forget how they destroyed perfectly good greenhouses and buildings the Israelis had left for them, and then were upset when Israel refused to send the knowledge of how to farm the land and do the greenhouses.

      Kind of like the old joke about chutzpah; A man kills his parents and then asks the court for mercy because now he’s an orphan! That about sums about the Gazans.

      We also know that the Palestinians had chance-after-chance to make peace, and that Arafat could have signed an accord that would have given back almost all the West Bank to the Palestinians, but Arafat only wanted to make death and murder, never had ANY intention of signing a peace accord that would have given the Palestinians this same land you accuse Israel of appropriating.

      I say, to quote Mr. Obama, you are a BULL***er. The pro-Obama propaganda will not work. The Israelis, outside of their idiot leftist politicians, know to fear Obama and in every poll show little regard for the man. Fortunately, they have shown little regard for their own Left too, and thus, Netanyahu has managed to hold on.

    7. David Foster Says:

      JoeC…If Obama is such a fan of Israel, then why is the video of his remarks at the dinner for Rashid Khalidi:

      http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html#4147816949278973298

      …being carefully kept under lock and key?

      Think it’s because he went so overboard in his support of Israel that he’s embarrassed about it? Or might there be another reason?

      And how about the Obama administration’s attempt to put Chas Freeman in as Director of the National Intelligence Council? Freeman has been quoted as saying:

      “And the problem of terrorism that now bedevils us has its origins in one region the Middle East. To end this terrorism we must address the issues in the region that give rise to it.

      Principal among these is the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no sign of ending.”

      and

      “Demonstrably, Israel excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace.”

      http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html#5177573552328200727

    8. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Joe Citizen: Anti-Semite and Leftist Troll. Two mints in one!

    9. David Foster Says:

      RS….easy, hoss….he can be pretty irritating, but I don’t think so far he rises (sinks?) to the level of a troll, and I’ve not seen any evidence of anti-Semitism…bad thinking, of course, another matter.

    10. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      32% of Democrats…

      A lot of that would be the black vote, with significant anti-Jewish sentiment, I suspect. The other groups in the Democratic coalition would likely weigh in at about the same 18% as the Republicans.

      As for Joe Citizen – I turn off at such hyperbole as “slavish.” When I see such words, I know I am reading a person who is not thinking so much as emoting, and move on.

    11. David Foster Says:

      AVI…”The other groups in the Democratic coalition would likely weigh in at about the same 18% as the Republicans”

      Well, on anti-ISRAEL sentiment, the other groups in the Dem coalition would certainly weigh in higher than the Republican 18%…we’re talking about academics, media people, entertainers, etc. It is *theoretically* possible for someone to be anti-Israel but not anti-Semitic, and there are some people in this category, but in general there is a high overlap between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

    12. Bill Brandt Says:

      Don’t forget his refusing to meet Netanyahu – saying he had to time – but having time to appear on Letterman.

    13. PenGun Says:

      “Joe Citizen: Anti-Semite and Leftist Troll. Two mints in one!”

      I knew I would not have to wait long. Yes you criticized Israel about it’s actions and because of that you are an antisemite.

      You cannot bring any light into this argument. All the doors and windows are closed.

    14. Joe Citizen Says:

      David,,

      “Are you going to assert that this movement is targeted only at the Likud,”

      The Likud agenda – yes, absolutely. The reason for that the left opposes the policies of the Israeli government is because those policies are horribly wrong-headed, oppressive, and counter to the interests of America, of Israel, and of peace in general.

      Jews have always made up a very important part of the American left. Liberals and leftists have historically been the strongest supporters of Israel. But when Israel becomes an oppressive power, when it attempts to either displace or disenfranchise millions of Palestinians – either forcing them from their land, or condemning them to an indefinite future without basic civil rights, then the left must stand in opposition.

      You see, we on the left actually have political principles, and we believe in them. And “might makes right” is not one of them.

      “Freeman has been quoted as saying:

      “And the problem of terrorism that now bedevils us has its origins in one region the Middle East. To end this terrorism we must address the issues in the region that give rise to it.

      Principal among these is the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no sign of ending.”

      Sorry, but this is almost completely true. Of course the point can be made that there was terrorism before the occupation (including its use by Israelis in their own struggles) so perhaps Mr. Freeman should have made clear that when he says “origins” he was not speaking historically so much as causally. But basically the statement is spot on.

      The Palestinians, just like the early Isarelis, just like any other group of human beings, want to have political control over their own communities. After the wars that Israel suffered, they certainly have the right to do what is necessary to establish a defense perimeter in order to protect themselves. But they do not have, either morally, or legally, any right to annex or settle occupied land and/or deny the inhabitants their basic human rights.

      and

      “Demonstrably, Israel excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace.”

      That too, sadly enough, is true. Look, I am a proud American. One of the many things that I am most proud of is the way in which my country has often dealt with military victory – how it has handled peace. Whether it was Lincoln’s vision of how to treat the murderous, traitorous slavers that we defeated, or Wilson’s aspirations to avoid future wars, of the post WWII attitudes that actually helped our former enemies become some of the richest and most prosperous, and democratic countries on earth.

      Just imagine if the Israelis, after the 67 war, could have looked upon the West Bank in the same manner. Heck, it wasn’t even the people of the WB who led all those invasions – those were the governments in Cairo, Damascus, and Amman – and they were now effectively out of the picture. What if American jews could have really helped the Israelis by convincing them to take an American attitude to those who were defeated and occupied. Make sure, at all costs, that one’s own defense is assured, but beyond that, do all you can to bring the occupied people into a situation whereby they can have their own government, a prosperous economy, and become integrated into the international economy.

      Maybe it would have failed – it certainly was not tried. And yes, if it had been, then Israel would have continued to be what it always was – a very special cause having deep support on the left.

      Israel has been losing that support because it has utterly failed to live up to the principles of democracy and basic human rights in its dealing with the people of the West Bank. What an incredible tragedy. Israel within its borders is such an exemplary country – there really is no excuse for such a massive lack of vision.

      I blame people like you most of all – those who sit here, at a distance, and give such support to those worst instincts of people who, no doubt, often feel besieged and in need of support. There is no happy ending for Israel unless it can find a way to live in peace with the Palestinians, and there will be no peace with the Palestinians until they have the same political rights that you and I and the Israelis have.

    15. Joe Citizen Says:

      “I knew I would not have to wait long. Yes you criticized Israel about it’s actions and because of that you are an antisemite.”

      Please tell me – you are being sarcastic, right? Sorry,, but sometimes it really is hard to tell….

    16. Scotus Says:

      Joe C. is a leftist troll. I could write his posts for him because they simply parrot what the Academic left says ad nausium. An open mouth and a closed (and inoperative) mind are his. As far as his being an anti-semite, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, though the policies he advocates are very antithetical to the Jewish state.

    17. Joe Citizen Says:

      Mo:

      ” Israel is full of leftist politicians, just like here, and so what?”

      So what? So people like me, and perhaps our President, would, if you tried to assign us a place on the Israeli political spectrum, would be comfortably within the mainstream of Israeli opinion.

      Your characterizations of Peres and Barak seem to miss this point – the one is the longest serving high-level Israeli politician in history, deemed worthy of elevation to the highest symbolic office in the land, and the other is entrusted, by the Likud prime minister, with the defense of the country. You can hurl all manner of adjectives at them, but I think that any American president who is embraced by such men does not deserve the characterizations that people here are using.

      “Obama’s programs that you refer to were initiated by the Bush Administration and/or by Congress, NOT by the Obama admin”

      That is ridiculous. The programs – defense cooperation – have been ongoing for decades. They have ramped up significantly over the past ten years, under Bush, and even more so the past 4 years under Obama. That is the testimony of the leaders I have referenced, who certainly understand the situation better than you do.

      “Obama wanted Israel to return to the ’49 borders or the ’67 borders, with nothing given first by the Palestinians.”

      More absurdity. Obama’s statement used the EXACT same wording as used by President Bush and President Clinton, and everyone else who has seriously addressed the peace process. That a final settlement be based on the green line with negotiated swaps. That has been the operative formula for 20 years now.

      “No, I’m sorry, there has been no land grab by the Israelis”

      Sorry, it is getting late and this is just too ridiculous. There are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have moved onto land in the West Bank. I guess you folks on the right have gone to war against the old adage – that you have a right to your own opinions, but not your own facts. When the facts don’t fit into your ideology, or align with your desires, you just make up new ones and (shockingly easily) convince yourselves of their truth. It is stunning to watch…

    18. Joe Citizen Says:

      No Scotus, it is the policies that YOU advocate that are a mortal danger to Israel.

      Please explain how you envision Israel ruling over 4 million Palestinians (and growing) indefinitely and being anything resembling the democratic nation that they are within their own borders. Please explain, using all your knowledge of human history and aspirations, how Israelis will ever be able to live in peace while ruling over people in such a manner?

      Or do you envision an ethnic cleansing on the West Bank?

      If not, then what is your vision, long term?

      It will not be long now till the Palestinians formally give up on the two-state solution, since the Likudniks seem to have a clear field in front of them for doing all that is necessary to make that vision impossible. At that point, the Palestinians will move to a new struggle – demanding the right to vote. Won’t that be fun?

    19. Scotus Says:

      Joe C. the West Bank is more than large enough for four million Palestinians. They could live in peace tomorrow, if they wanted to. BTW, the Palestinians who are Iraeli citizens already have to right to votes; so, it is you who are making up your facts.

      No, Joe C., go back to the ivory tower. There you are of no danger to yourself or anyone else. Anyway, I’m sure you feel that here you are casting your pearls before swine. Of course, it is barely possible that you are really forcing the rest of us to step over that which comes out of the aft end of the piggy.

    20. John in KC Says:

      I’ve heard the absentee ballots from American expats living in Israel favor Romney 85%-15%. That would make Israel the deepest red of all “red states”.

    21. Jonathan Says:

      Some Jews get it.

    22. David Foster Says:

      The piece linked by Jonathan above is by Sheldon Adelson, and is titled “I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me.” It is well worth reading.

      “So why did I leave the (Democratic) party?

      My critics nowadays like to claim it’s because I got wealthy or because I didn’t want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.

      One obvious example is the party’s new attitude toward Israel. A sobering Gallup poll from last March asked: “Are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” Barely 53% of Democrats chose Israel, the sole liberal democracy in the region. By contrast, an overwhelming 78% of Republicans sympathized with Israel.

      Nowhere was this change in Democratic sympathies more evident than in the chilling reaction on the floor of the Democratic convention in September when the question of Israel’s capital came up for a vote. Anyone who witnessed the delegates’ angry SCREAMING AND FIST-SHAKING could see that far more is going on in the Democratic Party than mere opposition to citing Jerusalem in their platform. There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats, a disturbing development that my parents’ generation would not have ignored.”

      Read the whole thing. Here’s the link again:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578092670469140316.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    23. Jonathan Says:

      The Mamet piece you linked is also excellent.

    24. Joe Citizen Says:

      Scotus,

      “BTW, the Palestinians who are Iraeli citizens already have to right to votes; so, it is you who are making up your facts”

      Huh? Thats pretty lame. When have I ever denied that? To the contrary, I pointed out that Israel seems to “get” democracy within its own borders

      Soon we may see how that works when the Likud gets its long-term goal – a greater Israel, from river to sea.

      “Joe C. the West Bank is more than large enough for four million Palestinians”

      No doubt. But what shall be their political status. You ignore the obvious issue here.

      “No, Joe C., go back to the ivory tower.”

      I don’t live in an ivory tower.

      “Anyway, I’m sure you feel that here you are casting your pearls before swine.”

      You have some self-image issues Scotus? I am arguing a different side of the issue than what you hold. Why are you so unable to engage in rational discourse?

    25. David Foster Says:

      Obama choice for Director of the National Intelligence Council, Chas Freeman:

      “Demonstrably, Israel excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace.”

      Commenter Joe Citizen:

      “That too, sadly enough, is true.”

      So, a society that has achieved great things economically, technologically, and culturally…all while under constant military threat…has “no talent for peace”???….whereas a society run by a nihilistic death cult, which has ignored many opportunities for its own economic development…while receiving vast quantities of aid, very high per capita in comparison to other places…and chosen to pursue instead the inculcation of suicidal hate into its youth…is somehow an example of moral superiority?

      I’m afraid that both Chas Freeman and JoeC have accurately represented the attitude toward Israel and its enemies that pervades the leadership of today’s Democratic party.

      QED

    26. Joe Citizen Says:

      “So, a society that has achieved great things economically, technologically, and culturally…all while under constant military threat…has “no talent for peace”???”

      No talent for making peace with the relatively powerless people who they are occupying.

      “blah, blah, blah,….is somehow an example of moral superiority?”

      Excuse me. Where did I hold any group of people (other than the example of the United States) as followers of a superior path?

      Why do you make things up like this David? If you can’t deal with what I actually write, then maybe you should consider that I actually have a point.

    27. Scotus Says:

      Joe C.,

      I don’t have self-image problems. I was describing what I think you think of us, not what I think of myself. (I also described what I think about your ideas.)

      “Ivory Tower” is a metaphor for Academe. You know this, of course; so, either your claiming not to live in one is either a lame retort or a denial that you are an academic. If the latter, it’s a pity because you would fit right in.

      As to rational discussions with you, permit me to quote the scripture I alluded to before and thereby indicate what I think about the prospect: “Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Mt. 7:6) Like Jesus I speak, of course, metaphorically and with hyperbole.

    28. Jonathan Says:

      Careful, Joe. Straining at gnats is associated with ruptured logic.

    29. David Foster Says:

      JoeC…you can’t make peace with people who don’t want to make peace.

      “The sheep may argue for pacifism, but the wolf may be of a different opinion”

      While may *individual* Palestinians surely would like to live in peace and pursue normal lives, the leadership and overall culture in these areas do not point in this direction.

    30. Mike K Says:

      “One of the many things that I am most proud of is the way in which my country has often dealt with military victory – how it has handled peace. Whether it was Lincoln’s vision of how to treat the murderous, traitorous slavers that we defeated, or Wilson’s aspirations to avoid future wars, of the post WWII attitudes that actually helped our former enemies become some of the richest and most prosperous, and democratic countries on earth.”

      Joe you seem to forget all the terrorist acts of the Sudetan Germans and the East Prussians who also started a war and lost. They have terrorized eastern Europe ever since and the poor Russians have been forced to become militarized in response. They say the Russians are better at “making war than making peace.”

      Oh, you say nobody ever heard anything about the Sudetan Germans and the East Prussians ?

      Oh, forget what I said, Sorry.

    31. Mike K Says:

      “It will not be long now till the Palestinians formally give up on the two-state solution,”

      Wow ! Delusions are rampant. When did the Palestinians ever accept the “two state solution”? In Arabic, of course, since they have an English version for useful idiots like you.

      Have you seen the maps they show their school children ? No, of course not.

    32. Joe Citizen Says:

      ““Ivory Tower” is a metaphor for Academe. You know this, of course”

      Yes of course. Perhaps I need to spell things out for you. I am not an academic. I have never studied middle-eastern history, or global politics or any related matter in the academic world.

      ” it’s a pity because you would fit right in.”

      Thank you. I like and admire competent academics.

    33. Joe Citizen Says:

      David,

      “JoeC…you can’t make peace with people who don’t want to make peace.”

      I think it is very much the Likudniks who do not want peace. They want a “Greater Israel”. The Palestinians wanted a greater Palestine too, but they have long since realized that it aint gonna happen. The Likudniks on the other hand see their long-term goal as quite achievable. Or at least they sense that they can maintain the status quo indefinitely, and have no intent to secure a compromise peace unless something compels them to do so.

    34. Mike K Says:

      Joe C has pretty well established his trolldom by now so I am done responding to him.