Skip to comments.Bush, Jews And Democrats(Part VII) [Jimmy Carter on Jews and the Mideast Peace Process-1980]
Posted on 12/01/2003 12:50:42 PM PST by SJackson
Bush, Jews And Democrats(Part VII)
By Jason Maoz, Senior Editor
The 1980 presidential election, like the Nixon-McGovern matchup eight years earlier, offered a clear choice between a Republican candidate who was unambiguous in his support of Israel and a Democrat whose record was something less than sterling. Only this time, the pro-Israel candidate was the challenger, former California governor Ronald Reagan, while the more problematic candidate was the incumbent, James Earl Carter.
Carter had alienated many American Jews early on in his presidency by calling for a "Palestinian homeland" and engaging in a series of confrontations with Israeli leaders. Moshe Dayan, the legendary Israeli general who at the time was serving as Prime Minister Menachem Begin`s foreign minister, recalled a particularly unpleasant meeting with Carter in Washington.
Carter, Dayan would later write in a memoir of the period entitled Breakthrough, berated him for what he perceived to be Israel`s intransigence. "You are more stubborn than the Arabs, and you put obstacles on the path to peace," Carter told the startled Dayan.
Carter`s animosity toward Israel was on full display during the Camp David negotiations in the fall of 1978. The president continually browbeat Begin while White House aides put out the word that the Israeli leader was the main stumbling block to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat`s noble quest for peace.
The Carter administration`s relationship with the American Jewish community probably reached its nadir several months prior to the 1980 election when the U.S. voted against Israel at the United Nations and Carter`s UN ambassador, Donald McHenry, clumsily tried to double-talk himself out of the ensuing controversy.
But as the presidential campaign heated up later that year, American Jews at least the vast majority for whom voting Democratic had become the closest thing in their lives to a religious act faced the dilemma of having to turn their backs on a Democratic president. However, the only viable alternative to Carter was Ronald Reagan, who was not just a Republican but a conservative Republican, which for most Jews in 1980 (and to a somewhat lesser extent today) was akin to an alien life form, an altogether different species.
There was a third choice that year, in the person of liberal Illinois Republican congressman John Anderson, who after a dismal showing in the Republican primaries saw fit to inflict himself on the electorate as a third-party candidate in the general election. But Anderson`s chances of winning were nil, so voting for him was widely understood to be something of a protest vote, a "neither of the above" judgment on Carter and Reagan.
For many Jews who ordinarily voted Democratic, Carter`s dismal performance as president and not just his perceived tilt against Israel made the decision to vote for Reagan a little easier. So did the fact that Reagan was receiving support from some rather surprising sources, including the endorsement of former Democratic senator Eugene McCarthy, at one time a virtual icon of the 1960`s antiwar movement.
On Election Day Carter was repudiated by better than half the American Jewish electorate, garnering just 45 percent of their votes. Thirty-nine percent of the Jewish vote went to Reagan, just a drop less than the 40 percent that went to Eisenhower in 1956. John Anderson, as expected, did extremely well better than 14 percent among Jews who were sick of Carter but could not take the step of voting Republican.
Since leaving office, Carter has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies and a staunch advocate of Palestinian nationalism. Had he won a second term, there is little doubt the Jewish state would have suffered.
Shortly before the 1980 election, Cyrus Vance, who earlier that year had resigned as Carter`s secretary of state, confirmed to then-New York mayor Ed Koch that Carter, if reelected, would "sell out" the Jews. And according to investigative journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Carter, at a March 1980 meeting with his senior political advisers, angrily snapped, "If I get back in, I`m going to f--- the Jews."
(Continued Next Week)
Old news, but some may have forgotten Carters bigotry.
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to forgive countries involved with the non-alligned movement, and especially ones that drifted toward Soviet influlence for the pure convenience of it. That goes for Egypt, Syria, Iran, Lybia, and a host of countries in Africa and South America. Anti-zionists were basically pro-Soviet, and now they are pro-Islamist.
I'm not sure Andrew and Leslie Cockburn are a reliable source on this matter. In any case, Cater's lack of resolve is legendary. Any dithering on his part with regard to Israel could simply be ascribed to his weak commitment to fighting communism. I fear it's worse than that, but the Cockburns appear to be so far to the left on the CIA and Israel that I can't trust them.
That's right, and I bet that would be a big factor in the next election. The Dems could probably only count on about 65% or 70% of the Jewish vote this time around.
"Under the last Democratic administration 60 percent of all weapons that went into the Middle East were for Israel. Nowadays - 75 percent were for Israel before. Now [under the Nixon and Ford administrations] 60 percent go to the Arab countries, and this does not include Iran. If you include Iran, our present shipment of weapons to the Middle East, only 20 percent goes to Israel. This is a deviation from idealism; it's a deviation from a commitment to our major ally in the Middle East, which is Israel; it's a yielding to economic pressure on the part of the Arabs on the oil issue; and it's also a tremendous indication that under the Ford administration we have not addressed the energy policy adequately. We still have no comprehensive energy policy in this country."
" . . . in 1975, we almost brought Israel to their knees after the uh - Yom Kippur War by the so-called reassessment of our relationship to Israel. [The Ford Administration] in effect tried to make Israel the scapegoat for the problems in the Middle East. And this weakened our relationships with Israel a great deal and put a cloud on the total commitment that our people feel toward the Israelis. There ought to be a clear, unequivocal commitment without change to Israel.
Is that what Clinton was? He had tons of Jews in his administration, but I would say he tried to sell them out to "internationalist" opinion, especially with Oslo, etc. Dean will be no different,IMO.
You're right. He lied.