Monday, February 04, 2019

Democrats, Republicans, and Israel

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm - leader of the new faction (A-7)

There has been a lot of talk about the Democratic Party drifting away from support of Israel. And if you are a liberal Democrat you will place the blame on Israeli leadership that is increasingly courting Republicans instead of appealing to both parties. 

This came to a head when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was –at the behest of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer - invited by then House Speaker John Boehner to address congress about the Obama administration's pending nuclear deal with Iran.  Republicans were opposed to it just as was the Prime Minister.  Almost all Democrats supported it. 

Even though that event produced many instances of loud applause – it was mostly by Republicans. Most Democrats cringed and some – to their great shame - boycotted it altogether.

The talk at the time was that Israel under Netayahu had torpedoed the bi-partisan support that Israel has had for decades under numerous Presidents.  And that this would not bode well for Israel.

That prediction has so far not come true. In fact, the relationship between Israel and the United States has never been closer than it is right now. Why is that?

Let me offer a bit of personal insight for whatever it’s worth. The Republican Party is on board with their political base, much of which is Evangelical Christians. There are no bigger supporters of the Jewish state than they are. They are more supportive of Israel than most Jews. They are bible believers that see understand the Jewish People’s right to the land. 

All of it including the West Bank - so they generally support settlement construction. For the Jewish state as well as the Jewish people it doesn’t really matter that their support might be because of their end-times theology. Who cares what they believe will happen then since we believe something else will happen Acharis HaYomim (end-times)? In the meantime, we should fully embrace their support. But I digress.

The point is that this base is what drives Republican support for the Jewish State.

Democratic support is not at all based on the bible. In their eyes Israel is just a haven created by the UN for the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Which has now grown into a thriving American style democracy. But at the same time they see a people cruelly subjugated by Israel. They see indigenous Palestinians justified in their claim to the land and deserving of state of their own on the West Bank. Settlements there are seen as an obstacle to peace. To the extent that Israel increases settlement activity, is to the extent that Democrats limit their support for Israel. 

The Republican base does not deny that Israel is also a haven for Holocaust survivors, But their primary support for the state is biblical.

That is where things stand right now with the two parties on the subject of Israel. Mainstream Democrats still support the state, but with reservations related to settlement policies. 

Those reservations makes the Democratic Party a natural home for anti Israel elected officials. At least two of which actually support for BDS. Which is a movement that advocates boycotting Israel. A movement that has been rejected by many states to the point of legislating their own boycott of businesses that adhere to BDS.

And then there was the recent conversation between newly elected House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and UK Labour Party head Jeremy Corbin. here is how that conversation went:
Corbyn tweeted on Sunday that it was "great" to speak with AOC "on the phone this evening and hear first-hand how she’s challenging the status quo."
"Let’s build a movement across borders to take on the billionaires, polluters and migrant baiters, and support a happier, freer and cleaner planet," he said.
Responding soon after, AOC said it was "an honor" to have shared "such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation with you, @jeremycorbyn!"
She added that she was also "honored to share a great hope in the peace, prosperity, + justice that everyday people can create when we uplift one another across class, race, + identity both at home & abroad."

She was honored. To speak to fawn all over an antisemite. She later back-pedalled but it's hard to see anything but a political love affair between these two Left wing socialists.

So is the Democratic Party going to Hell in a hand-basket? Are they becoming the party of socialists and antisemites? If so, whose fault is it? Netanyahu's?

Thankfully no. At least not yet. And it should be obvious that Netanyahu cannot be blamed for any of it.

Mainstream Democrats are not oblivious to what is happening to their party. And that is a good thing. sort of... if you consider J-Street to be supportive. There appears to be a movement quickly reject the anti Israel element -painting it as small and irrelevant. from Arutz Sheva:
Prominent Democrats are launching a pro-Israel group to counter a drift away from Israel on the party’s left.
The Democratic Majority for Israel, according to The New York Times, will be led by Mark Mellman, a longtime Democratic Party pollster who has been active in the pro-Israel community.
“Most Democrats are strongly pro-Israel and we want to keep it that way,” Mellman told the Times. “There are a few discordant voices, but we want to make sure that what’s a very small problem doesn’t metastasize into a bigger problem.” 

The very idea that a movement has to be created to show support for Israel - rejecting the socialist policies of some of its  members – who swear that the future of the party will is something we should all be concerned about. Especially if Democrats win the next election and take over the White House. 

Will the country become more socialist - and more critical of Israel? I think it very well may as some of the announced mainstream candidates for the nomination support socialist programs. What will actually happen remains to be seen.

Just some of my random thoughts on the current political winds