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Thread: Why more Jews won't be voting Democrat this year

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    Default Why more Jews won't be voting Democrat this year

    Why more Jews won't be voting Democrat this year
    Jul. 1, 2008

    JENNIFER RUBIN , THE JERUSALEM POST

    Defenders of Barack Obama, and sometimes Obama himself, seem frustrated that some American Jews refuse to assume their traditional role of support for the Democratic presidential nominee. The Obama defenders are irked that not all Jews accept at face value Obama's expressions of devotion to Israel and commitment to her security.

    Why can't these contrarians just take Obama at his word (he is a Zionist, he really is, they insist)? The answer is "1973."

    But the explanation starts in 2008. Many Jewish Obama doubters are convinced that Israel faces a true existential threat unlike any in 35 years. From nation states like Iran, which threaten to destroy Israel, to Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists, Israel may in the next decade be pushed to the brink of its existence. Israel's failure to defeat Hizbullah in 2006 demonstrated the limits of Israel's historic military advantage.

    With the spread of nuclear weapons and other deadly technologies a second Holocaust - that is, the annihilation of a substantial portion of world Jewry - is not out of the realm of imagination.

    THESE OBAMA skeptics recall a similar time, 1973, when Israel also faced extermination. Prime minister Golda Meir had miscalculated Anwar Sadat's willingness to go to war and decided against a first strike against Egypt. The Arab nations attacked in October 1973, and within days Israel was facing defeat.

    The Israelis went to president Richard Nixon with a request for a massive infusion of arms. The Defense and State Departments squabbled. Our European allies, who feared an oil embargo (and would refuse us bases to refuel our planes), inveighed against it, and the Soviets blustered. Many on Nixon's staff wanted to deny the request, or offer only token assistance. Don't antagonize the Arab states, they counseled.

    Nixon persisted and, according to some accounts, doubled the amount of aid Israel had requested. Riding herd on the bureaucrats, Nixon repeatedly intervened to push the transports along. Informed about a dispute regarding the type of air transportation, Nixon at one point exclaimed in frustration: "Tell them to send everything that can fly." Over the course of a month US airplanes conducted 815 sorties with over 27,900 tons of materiel.

    Israel was saved due to this massive infusion of military aid. Meir referred to Nixon with enormous affection for the rest of her life.

    Nixon, despised by many in the US, was hailed as a hero in Israel. And Nixon (who had garnered a minority of the Jewish vote in 1972) received little or no political benefit at home for his trouble, leaving office the following year.

    SO WHAT does this have to do with Obama? The Obama skeptics do not for a moment believe that Obama, in the face of domestic and international pressure similar to what Nixon faced, would rise to the occasion at a critical moment in Israel's history and "tell them to send everything that can fly."

    In every significant interaction in Obama's adult life with those who distain and vilify Israel - from Rashid Khalidi to Reverend Jeremiah Wright to Louis Farrakhan - Obama has demonstrated passive resignation and indifference.

    He did not stand up to his friend Khalidi, the Palestinian activist, professor and former Palestinian spokesman whom Obama honored at a farewell dinner, and object to Palestinian invectives that Israel was an apartheid state. He did not recoil, until Wright insulted him at the National Press Club, from Wright when he learned that Wright considered Israel a "dirty word" and postulated that Israel had invented an "ethnic bomb."

    He did not heed (or was oblivious to) public pleas from Jewish organizations to avoid the Million Man March that Farrakhan organized; nor did he years later leave his church when it honored Farrakhan. It took a hateful rant from another wide-eyed preacher against Hillary Clinton, just when Obama needed to cool intra-party animosities, to do that.

    AND IF any further proof were needed, Obama's actions with regard to the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, the measure to classify the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization, should settle the question of Obama's intestinal fortitude when it comes to Israel. An issue presented itself: a choice between, on the one hand, taking a stance against Israel's most vile enemy, Iran, and, on the other, appeasing the far Left of his own party.

    Obama chose to satisfy the MoveOn.org crowd and opposed the amendment. The amendment would have been "saber rattling" and unduly provocative, Obama argued at the time. Senators Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and three quarters of the US Senate voted for the amendment.

    Once his nomination was secured, Obama told those assembled at the AIPAC convention that he supported classification of the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization, a move he well understood was important to Israel's security and to AIPAC's members. Yet under just a smidgen of political pressure during the primary race, he had not been able to muster the will to support a modest measure which inured to Israel's benefit.

    IS THERE anything in all this to suggest that in a potential crisis, when much of the world would be pressuring him to let Israel die, Obama would push all the naysayers aside and demand to "send them everything that can fly"? There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that he would be beyond persuasion when it came down to Israel's survival. In fact, all the available evidence indicates that the opposite is true.

    That does not mean Obama will not carry the majority of the Jewish vote. Jews are overwhelmingly Democratic, and it is certainly the case that for many American Jews the secular liberal agenda takes precedence over everything else in presidential politics.

    For these voters, then, "1973" is not uppermost in their minds. Their devotion to liberalism is controlling, and for their own peace of mind they are willing to accept Obama's generic expressions of warm feelings toward Israel.

    Indeed the temptation to believe in Obama's bland promises of support for Israel is a tempting one for liberal Jews. If they can convince themselves that he will be "fine on Israel," no conflict arises between their liberal impulses and their concern for Israel. The urge to believe is a powerful thing, especially when the alternative is an intellectual or moral quandary.

    It is also the case that some American Jews simply do not believe Israel is in peril, or that "1973" is remotely relevant. They imagine Iran is merely spouting nonsense, that Hizbullah and Hamas lack the organization or competence to threaten Israel's survival, and that Israel will muddle along indefinitely.

    BUT SOME Jews are incapable of deluding themselves that Obama would be the most resolute candidate in defending Israel. In quiet moments of contemplation and in noisy debates with family members and friends, they worry about the tenuous nature of Israel's existence and the dangers which lurk from within and outside Israel's borders. These Jews cannot imagine a world without Israel and could not countenance election of a president who, in Israel's moment of peril, could well falter.

    And that is why these obstinate Obama skeptics, some even after a lifetime of Democratic voting, will not pull the lever for him. For them some things rank higher than even the top items on the liberal political agenda. The risk is, in their minds, too great that when Israel needs help the most, Obama will buckle and Israel will be crushed.

    Many, albeit not all and likely not even most, American Jews will therefore decline to vote for Obama. They know that if the majority of their co-religionists had their way and George McGovern, rather than Richard Nixon, had been in the White House in 1973, Israel might not have survived.

    A few barbs from their fellow congregants, amazed they would not vote for a Democrat for president, are a small burden to bear as they cast their vote for the candidate who - they are certain - when the chips are down, will send everything that can fly.

    Why more Jews won't be voting Democrat this year | Jerusalem Post

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Hey Israel:

    go away. deal with your own crap by yourselves for a change.

    signed,

    people tired of middle east stupidity
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    Grimm, I so agree. We have enough problems here. Let them deal with it themselves, Lord knows we give them enough money to.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Hey Israel:

    go away. deal with your own crap by yourselves for a change.

    signed,

    people tired of middle east stupidity
    I daresay that Israel already does. But you can't blame Jews in America for being concerned about Israel... many (if not most) of them would have friends or relatives over there.

    That said, I think that whoever wrote this article is making a hysterical, paranoid mountain out of a molehill. Obama's always been a strong supporter of Israel; any American Jew who's that concerned about it would do some basic research, and be able to see the evidence for themselves. I'm sure it's not something he'll lose votes over.

    I'd vote for him! If it weren't for me being an Aussie who lives in Australia, that is.

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    As I've documented previously, the very same right-wing advocates who scream "anti-semitism" at anyone, such as Klein, who raises the issue of devotion to Israel themselves constantly argue that American Jews do -- and should -- cast their votes in American elections based upon what is best for Israel. They nakedly trot out the "dual loyalty" argument in order to manipulate American Jews to vote Republican in U.S. elections (e.g.: "the GOP supports Israel and Obama doesn't; therefore, American Jews shouldn't vote for Obama"), while screaming "anti-semitism" the minute the premise is used by their political opponents. The Weekly Standard ran articles openly arguing that American Jews should vote Republican because the GOP is better for Israel, and Joe Lieberman runs around South Florida telling Jewish voters that they should vote for McCain because Obama isn't good for Israel.
    The most recent blatant example of nakedly exploiting "dual loyalty" and "anti-Semitism" claims comes from Commentary's Jennifer Rubin. Rubin was one of those most viciously attacking Klein, accusing him last week of spouting what she called "the anti-Semitic argument of 'divided loyalties.'" Yet today -- barely a week later -- Rubin has a long Op-Ed in The Jerusalem Post which is probably the most unabashed expression of this "dual loyalty" argument that I've seen in quite some time.
    Her column is devoted to arguing that many American Jews -- despite their commitment to political liberalism -- are (justifiably) reluctant to vote for Obama because "some Jews are incapable of deluding themselves that Obama would be the most resolute candidate in defending Israel." What is that if not an argument that American Jewish voters cast their votes in American elections -- and should do so -- based on what is best for Israel, i.e. for he who is "the most resolute candidate in defending Israel"?

    ~snip~

    It's just not possible to find a more explicit accusation of "dual loyalty" than Rubin repeatedly makes in her column. She just claims over and over that American Jewish voters are guided in their political choices by what is best for Israel -- exactly what she called an "anti-semitic argument" when made by Klein -- and she expressly insists that the American President be devoted to promoting Israeli interests, and that this is what American Jewish voters care about. That's the "dual loyalty" argument in its purest form.

    But because this claim is put in service of advancing a right-wing agenda -- namely, an attack on Obama and support for a hard-line policy towards Iran -- it's deemed perfectly acceptable. And therein lies the most important point.
    "Anti-semitism" accusations have been cynically exploited for so long by right-wing advocates as a bludgeon to silence debates over Middle East policy and for cheap political gain that the accusation has become trivialized to the point of irrelevance. Most ironically of all, the ADL -- whose ostensible central mission is to battle the trivialization of anti-Semitism and Nazism -- has played a leading role in this degradation, constantly exploiting its once-credible imprimatur in highly politicized ways which have nothing to do with real anti-semitism (such as Klein's perfectly legitimate commentary) and everything to do with promoting a hard-line policy in the Middle East and against Iran which is now one of the ADL's top priorities.
    Smearing people as anti-Semites for cheap political gain is repellent in its own right and merits a response. But this tactic is particularly dangerous now, as the pressure is obviously being ratcheted up in numerous circles to pursue a far more bellicose policy towards Iran. Responding to the types of disgusting smears that are in Rubin's column and many other places, Obama not only appeared before AIPAC last month and vowed that "the danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat"; that Iran's "Quds force has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization"; and "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," but also, when asked last week by a Fox News host to play a "word association game" whereby he should say the first word that comes into his mind, Obama -- when the word was "Iran" -- responded as follows: "threat."
    Whether Iran is really a threat to the U.S. (as opposed to Israel) is an absolutely critical matter to examine. It's just not tolerable to allow polemicists from Commentary and Weekly Standard to run around using the "dual loyalty" argument and "anti-semitism" smear to try to manipulate American Jews into voting for McCain and supporting hard-line policies toward Iran, while simultaneously screaming "anti-Semite" at those who argue that an attack on Iran would serve (and is motivated by) Israeli interests, not America's interests. That is a perfectly legitimate issue -- a central issue -- to be freely discussed.
    Like everyone else, I don't know whether there is really any serious intent in the Bush administration to initiate some sort of attack on Iran (many very credible analysts highly doubt it will happen). But the risk is substantial enough -- and the situation is dangerous enough -- that free and open debate about that topic is critical. A prerequisite to such debate is preventing war-hungry, right-wing advocates from employing duplicitous and manipulative claims of "anti-semitism" and "dual loyalty" to stifle such discussions and intimidate opponents of a war-seeking approach to Iran.

    UPDATE: In Salon today, Gregory Levey has an excellent article examining the role Israel is playing in the presidential election and the Joe-Lieberman-led effort to smear Obama as "anti-Israel" among Jewish voters. Levey correctly points out that "the vast majority of American Jews don't cast their votes based on considerations for Israel" -- a fact confirmed by a recent poll from the nonpartisan Israel Project -- but some extremely ugly tactics are being hauled out by the Right directed at those who do.

    UPDATE II: Whenever I write about this issue, I typically avoid the term "dual loyalty" or "divided loyalty" not because they're inaccurate -- they're not -- but because they have some ugly connotations and ugly history. Here, Klein used the term "divided loyalty," and ultimately, it can hardly be described as inaccurate based on the Right's own advocacy -- i.e., if an American voter is casting votes based on what's best for another country, it's hard to argue that it isn't "dual loyalty." As Klein notes today, "[Jennifer] Rubin's description of the interests of American Jews is an embarrassment that plays into the worst antisemitic stereotypes," in that she explicitly calls for American Jews to vote in a U.S. election based on Israel. What is she advocating if not "dual loyalty" or "divided loyalty"?
    I think the broader issue is that there's nothing inherently wrong with "dual loyalty." Countless voting blocs in America possess it to one degree or another -- Irish-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Catholics, Christians, Muslims, naturalized citizens of all sorts and those who identify their heritage with another country. In some sense, "dual loyalty" or even "multiple loyalties" is a perfectly benign aspect of America's heterogeneity, the fact that people are "American" and also other things. The point isn't that there's anything inherently wrong with or unusual about "dual loyalty" in this sense. There isn't.
    What's destructive here is the way the "dual loyalty" manifests -- the policy desires it produces. And to the extent it plays a role in policy debates -- as it does in all sorts of debates, and certainly in debates over the Middle East -- it ought to be something that people are free to acknowledge and discuss without being defamed and smeared.

    Glenn Greenwald l Salon

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    Amrican-jews are citizens of USA , they pay tax, sent the kids to schools, suffering from crimes and ect.. so the way a candidate feel about Israel is only one of their consideration (if it is a consideration) to vote for him yes or no.

    They entitled to vote for who they want, they are part of USA more then the pp who dosent even live in USA but think that their considration are more legitimate/important/smart or have more validity then the consideration of the Amrican citiziens.

    B.O is not pro-Israel (understatement), you cant be pro-Israel and at the same time to have the support and the money donation from Ahmadinejad&co.

    So if an Amricam sitizens dosent want to vote for someone who have the support of the pro-terror leaders they entitled to do that.
    Last edited by marie; July 3rd, 2008 at 11:19 AM.

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    the article makes it sound like israel is some innocent lamb. regardless of how the whole conflict started (who was right in the beginning doesn't matter when it's 40 or however many years later), the article seems to forget all about the illegal settlements and how israel has over the years taken more and more territory from neighbouring countries.
    that's not to excuse palestinian terrorism or the behaviour of other arab nations, but come on! this is not WW2 and jews are not being captured in the night and taken off to camps.
    there are two sides to this conflict and both have commited atrocities and are in no position to play victim and point fingers.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    the article makes it sound like israel is some innocent lamb. regardless of how the whole conflict started (who was right in the beginning doesn't matter when it's 40 or however many years later), the article seems to forget all about the illegal settlements and how israel has over the years taken more and more territory from neighbouring countries.
    that's not to excuse palestinian terrorism or the behaviour of other arab nations, but come on! this is not WW2 and jews are not being captured in the night and taken off to camps.
    there are two sides to this conflict and both have commited atrocities and are in no position to play victim and point fingers.
    But we're talking about the political opinions of American Jews here, not Jews in Israel or even the legitimacy of Israel itself as a state. It's a different issue (or, in my opinion, a non-issue... despite what Jennifer Rubin is trying to whinge about).

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    This is what so many people get tired of. I understand cheering for your country of origin, or your parents homeland, but your vote should be used for what's best for THIS country and it's future, not your God's future.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nana55 View Post
    This is what so many people get tired of. I understand cheering for your country of origin, or your parents homeland, but your vote should be used for what's best for THIS country and it's future, not your God's future.
    Im sure that they think about USA best interest, they live there 2!!!!!!
    Its not like they vote in USA and live somewere else.

    Just bc some of them dislike B.O and his opinions dosent mean that they dont think on USA future.

    When the african american pp vote for B.O just bc he is black and "its about time that USA will have a black president" its ok?!?!

    You can say that its not about the skin color but for some pp its a consideration. is that mean that they dont think about USA? ?

    Most pp when it came to vote dont know ALL about the candidate or what he think/want to do in ALL issues, pp have someting like 4-5 issues that they care for and believe that those issues have the most affect on their life and according to those issues they vote it can be the war, civil rights,abortion yes/no, health care and ect... and just bc not all the pp think the same on the importance of this or that isuue dosent mean that they worng.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    I agree some people are voting for Obama because he is black. That is also wrong. No one should make their vote a one issue vote. I'm not black, nor am I even American, I'm a Canadian living in the U.S. I just feel that Barak brings a feeling of unity to this country that we really need right now. What we need most in a leader is a........leader, something we have been sorely lacking for the last 7 or so years.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    maybe he could lead on FISA instead of selling the consitution to the telecoms and Bush.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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