Jewish Democrats need some serious self-reflectionJonathan Tobin suggests that President Obama's call on Israelis for 'serious self-reflection' is misplaced and that the same call ought to be made on Jewish Democrats.
IN RESPONSE to writers like myself who have called for Democrats to speak truth to power and hold Obama accountable for his policies, some of those who vouched for Obama during last year's campaign have said that the president's offenses are not yet egregious enough to warrant a rebuke. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, a man whose long and honorable record of support for Israel is beyond question, attempted to defend Obama's positions in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal and then later in responses to critiques of it. He continues to believe that having a popular liberal Democratic president who claims to be a supporter of Israel is good for the Jews even if some of his policies are open to question. But Dershowitz's half-hearted apologias betray a worry that perhaps he was fooled by the president's campaign promises.I'm afraid that we already know the answer. Many Jewish Democrats have adopted a false god called Liberalism. Liberalism demands that they jump up and down with joy over America's first black President, even if that President maintains an unprecedented hostility to Jews and Israel. And since Liberalism is their religion, they won't change it even on pain of death... of the Jewish state.
Jewish Democrats don't have to jump to the Republicans. If, as Dershowitz avows, pro-Israel Democrats have influence on the administration, then let them use it before things get even worse. It is worth recalling that in 2002, when statements by secretary of state Colin Powell made it appear as if a Republican administration was taking a similarly "evenhanded" approach to Israel's attempts to defend itself against a Palestinian campaign of suicide attacks, conservative evangelicals were not slow to act. This group, as integral to George W. Bush's coalition as Jews are to Obama's, deluged the White House with calls for strong support for Israel and got results.
Had a Republican done and said the same things that Obama has in the last six months who can doubt that he and other Democrats would be demanding that Jewish Republicans repudiate their party's leader? The question remains what will be the tipping point for Jewish Democrats at which it will be impossible for them to go on pretending that they did not elect the most hostile president to Israel since the first George Bush? If the current trend continues without a strong negative reaction from Jewish Democrats who raised money for Obama and voted for him, then we are entitled to ask why they are either silent or rationalizing a policy that they know is wrong.
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