Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yes, Democrats Are Becoming Anti-Israel


We argue about it don't we? Some of us here knew it; elsewhere, they argue that it isn't so. Well here's the proof of where the Democratic party is headed. Perhaps it's this which gave wings to the recent three stooges orgy of Panetta, Hilary and Gutman.

"Two of the Democratic Party’s core institutions are challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel and Palestine that has dominated American foreign policy for more than a decade.

The Center for American Progress, the party’s key hub of ideas and strategy, and Media Matters, a central messaging organization, have emerged as vocal critics of their party’s staunchly pro-Israel congressional leadership and have been at odds, at times, with Barack Obama’s White House, which has acted as a reluctant ally to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government.

The differences are ones of tone – but also of bright lines of principle – and while they have haven’t yet made any visible impact on Democratic policy, they’ve shaken up the Washington foreign policy conversation and broadened the space for discussing a heretical and often critical stance on Israel heretofore confined to the political margins.

The daily battle is waged in Media Matters’ emails, on CAP’s blogs, Middle East Progress and ThinkProgress and most of all on Twitter, where a Media Mattters official, MJ Rosenberg, regularly heaps vitriol on those who disagree as “Iraq war neocon liar” (the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg) or having “dual loyalties” to the U.S. and Israel (the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin). And while the Center for American Progress tends to walk a more careful line, warm words for Israel can be hard to find on its blogs......

“Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values,”
wrote Matt Duss, a CAP policy analyst and the director of Middle East Progress, last year, after an Israeli raid on a flotilla challenging the blockade of Gaza turned violent.

The two groups’ push is part of a larger revival of the liberal American Israel lobby, though one that has yet to make a policy impact. Stalwarts of the anti-settlement movement like Peace Now have new, more politically engaged counterparts like J Street and see their views reflected increasingly in the party’s central institutions. They represent – they hope – the Democratic Party’s future, if not its present, and have taken heart from recent criticism of Israel by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton....

“There’s two explanations here – either the inmates are running the asylum or the Center for American Progress has made a decision to be anti-Israel,” said Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC who is now a fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. “Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff” – a reference to what he described as conspiracy theorizing in the Alterman column – “and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.” (Alterman called the charge "ludicrous" and "character assassination," noted that he is a columnist for Jewish publications, and described himself as a "proud, pro-Zionist Jew.")...

The participants in the endless, bitter Israel policy arguments all demand a variety of labels: pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-American. Everyone argues that his case is win-win. But the new tone in Washington is also one that straightforwardly pro-Palestinian voices see as a welcome change, if one that has yet to be accompanied by a shift in American policy.

“What is actually happening is that the discourse that lot of people in the Palestine solidarity community and activists have been engaging in is starting to break down the walls of the Washington bubble,” said Ali Abunimah, a longtime activist and the co-founder of the site Electronic Intifada. “But political intimidation from Israel’s supporters is still a much more powerful force than any change in thinking at the CAP.”



  1. It's long past time that we face the simple fact that progressive-left, and the activist base of the Democratic Party, are anti-Israel and thus anti-Jewish.

    I do not know if I will vote Republican next time around, but I certainly am not going to vote Democratic, as no self-respecting Jew should.

  2. I am not there yet, although each person has the right to exercise their vote or not.

    It is important to know among Democrats who the anti-Israel voices are. I do not believe that anti-Israel is anti-Jewish per se. It depends on the case. Yes, many of these crusaders crossed the line a long time ago, and even side with the those who call for extermination of the Jews. Yet there are many that see only the behavior of Israel. That is all that matters. Their rage at injustice comes from an uneducated perspective, built on a foundation of a one sided narrative.

    It would be interesting to hear from Alterman what pro-Zionst means.

    In my opinion, these anti-Israel voices do not understand that in similar circumstances, is there another state that would more humane? Even while facing perhaps the most difficult challenges of any state, Westerners hold Israel to a standard it cannot attain, perfection. And when it comes to the Palestinian side, it seem there are hardly any standards.

    There are plenty of Democrats who strongly support Israel. As events unfold, and the belligerency and intolerance of Arab states and Iran is further laid bare, the disconnect of the anti-Israel voices will become stark, and among Democrats and Americans they will lose favor. Even Obama may flip as did his predecessors.

    When the American and military support for Israel is taken into account, the misfeasance of the Administration will only go so far. I again wonder if Bush or Gingrich, for example, could have prevented the aftermath of the Arab Spring? In the end, perhaps Obama's blunders may actually help the West become faster aware of what confronts us all, especially in Europe, and perhaps a more concerted push will occur against the OIC and its agenda on the international level.

  3. I suspect Alterman means "when it all agrees with my outlook." The same can be said of many "progressive Zionists." The fact that their Zionism is prefaced by the progressive disclaimer shows their allegiances. Nothing wrong with that although I personally find it hollow. For me, if this or that liberal value has to take a backseat to Zionism (in the sense of the survival of the Jewish State,) so be it. That value will always be a cherished value and can be of more importance once again once Israel's survival is assured.

    Vicious anti-semite soysauce is upset that Jewish Republicans love Newt. Newt is promising:1.  Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem within the first few hours of his presidency via executive order2. Appoint John Bolton as Secretary of State to end the department's policy of "appeasement"3.  Deal with Iran through sabotage and covert operations:  "only rational long-term policy is regime replacement. I'll sabotage gasoline supply; fund every dissident group"What's not to like? Even though I don't care for Newt at all. As a matter of fact I don't really care for any of the Republican slate so far  But I like what some of them are saying. Volleyball posted this link to Haaretz to deride Republicans but well...I like what Bachman is saying.... "This is our moment of clarity to stand with Israel," Bachmann says.
    "Our options are diminishing by the day. The President will stand with Occupy Wall Street - but he won't stand with Israel. We have to accelerate covert operations and cyber operations in Iran. We must order the CIA director to do every effort necessary to stop the Iranian bomb. The Pentagon must prepare a war plan. President Obama has seriously diminished the security of Israel.".....Bachmann's offensive continues: "They want to turn Israel into 23d Arab state."......Bachmann lashes out at Obama: "The President has delegitimized Israel by describing Israel as a 60-year-old occupation. He abandoned prior U.S. policy that Israel is entitled to defensible borders; The former administration's commitment" (mentioned Bush's letter: "no right of return for the Palestinian so-called "refugees.'" He calls them to return to the indefensible borders. I guarantee you without any reservation: I will never call for dividable Jerusalem."

  5. Newt will say anything, and Republicans seem too eager to create unnecessary confrontation, rather than to use a combination of hard and soft power.

    It's funny over at DKos how the diaries seem intended solely to inflame and demonize.  I think Bolton would be a terrible SoS, but his views are worth listening to because there are truths within that cannot be grasped by total dismissal.

    This is what invariably occurs, and it makes feasible and effective implementation of policy almost impossible.

  6. Oh I know it's all promises promises just like all campaigns but I like what they say. Democrats should be saying some of these things. Lots of these things actually. Except for his general incompetency, I could even get back on board the Obama train if he had the guts to tell the world unequivocally that Israel has that kind of backing from the US. Instead he still courts the kind of jerks who hate Israel. 

  7. There's not a whole lot that Obama can say at this point that is going to change my mind.

    What I do not understand is why so many Jewish liberals cannot bring themselves to hold him responsible for practically anything in regards I-P.  

    They don't hold responsible for the failure of potential talks, despite the fact that it was he that poisoned the well with his precondition of "total settlement freeze."  That is not a matter of opinion, but an objective fact, for crying out loud.

    I don't know, Jewish liberals seem to have an almost slavish loyalty to the party, which is unfortunate given the fact that the feelings are not exactly mutual.

  8. The well was poisoned for many of these people before Obama. When Bush became pro-Israel they naturally became anti-Israel. Obama has bungled, but I suspect things would have been much the same in any event. I just wish there was not such a Pavlovian approach to each episode.