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Saturday, August 29, 2009

When the Democrats were pro-Israel

JPost has an editorial about Ted Kennedy in Friday's edition that moves on from Kennedy to the Democratic party itself. Here's the bottom line:
THE PRO-ISRAEL liberalism embodied by Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jacob Javits seems archaic nowadays.

Their generation knew first-hand that the Arabs' rejection of Israel's existence was at the root of the conflict. Today, calls for throwing the Jews into the sea have been replaced by reasonable-sounding Arab initiatives for a two-state solution. Only the fine print - pertaining to recognition, borders, militarization and refugees - suggests something else. Once there were no settlements, and still the Arabs sought Israel's destruction. Yet yesterday, a CNN primer of the conflict pointed to settlements as the stumbling block to peace.

Maybe the old Kennedy liberals were really centrists, and today's progressives are really leftists. Or maybe, 60 years on, liberals have just grown uncomfortable and impatient - after Lebanon wars, intifadas, checkpoints, barriers and Gaza blockades.

The liberal catechism is 1. All conflicts are soluble; 2. Israel is the stronger party; 3. And so it must take the greater risks for peace.

Liberals are exasperated by Israel's failure to embrace these principles categorically. Yet we survive in this region because we don't.

Edward Kennedy understood all this and more. Israel feels his loss acutely.
I got my own start in politics working for the 1976 Presidential campaign of the man pictured at the top of this post - Henry "Scoop" Jackson. He was a Democrat, a strong supporter of Israel and an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union's refusal to let its Jews go (if any of you have heard of the Jackson-Vanik amendment - which did much to free Soviet Jewry - he's the Jackson). I stopped voting Democrat in the 1980 election, when I wandered around my uber-liberal law school (NYU) sporting a Ronald Reagan campaign button in Hebrew. Seeing the reaction of so many on the Left to my support for Reagan turned me off to the Democrats.

The Democratic party has changed. Will American Jewry wake up and notice?


At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so you supported the same reagan that condemned israel and stopped shipments of arms, because they bombed the iraqi nuke facility that ended up keeping nukes out of a madman's (but at the time a friend to america) hands?

gosh carl...you are an enigma

btw, dems didnt like reagan for many good reasons

sorry that you didnt see any and bought into his snake oil salemanship

At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democratic party has changed. Will American Jewry wake up and notice?

What changed first? The party or the 70% of America's Jews?

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bacci, who was Reagan running against? What did Carl say turned him off the Democratic party?

What you say about Reagan is overall true but that wasn't Carl's point.

"A week ago, on the recommendation of the government, the Knesset adopted the Golan Law, and again you declare you are punishing us. What kind of language is this - punishing Israel? Are we a vassal state? Are we a banana republic? Are we 14-year-old boys that have to have knuckles slapped if they misbehave?"
- PM Menachem Begin, to US Ambassador Samuel Lewis

At 8:35 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Both parties have not been consistently pro-Israel. But there has been a shift in the perception on the Left that is not at welcome for the Jewish State's future.


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