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Democrats losing moral clarity on Israel
Boston Globe ^ | 7-21-14 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 07/21/2014 12:00:12 PM PDT by SJackson

The Pew Research Center last week released a new survey of American attitudes in the Middle East. The results weren’t surprising. In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, 51 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel. Only 14 percent feel greater affinity for the Palestinians.

Pew’s findings demonstrate the strength of pro-Israel feeling in the United States. The poll was conducted amid the current fighting with Hamas, but the bottom line hardly changed from Pew’s last survey in April, when it reported that in the 36 years it has been sampling public opinion, “sympathy toward Israel has never been higher.”

But below the surface, America’s Israel-friendly consensus is splitting along the same left-vs.-right fault line that has polarized so many other issues. While support for Israel is overwhelming among Republicans and conservatives, it has been shrinking among Democrats and liberals. “The partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider,” reports Pew, with 73 percent of Republicans sympathetic to Israel in the ongoing conflict, but just 44 percent of Democrats. Respondents identifying as liberal Democrats were five times as likely as conservative Republicans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.

Thus is the Democratic Party losing its way on one of the great moral issues of our time.

For roughly the first third of Israel’s existence, Democrats tended to support the Jewish state more strongly than Republicans did. In a compelling new book, “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel,” foreign-affairs thinker Joshua Muravchik writes that during the run-up to the Six Day War in 1967, “Israel was above all a cause championed by liberals.” So heartfelt was this support that even ardent Democratic opponents of the Vietnam War, such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene McCarthy, advocated US military action on Israel’s behalf.

Only over the last 25 years has support for Israel grown so much greater among Republicans than among Democrats. The reasons for the divergence are many. On the right, they include the high value Republicans have attached to Israel as a stable ally in a very unstable region, as well as the migration to the GOP of evangelical Christians, many of whom support the Jewish state as a matter of transcendent conviction.


TOPICS: Editorial; Israel; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/21/2014 12:00:13 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

Not sure moral clarity enters the equation. Voting blocks may, the administration's worldview certainly does.

2 posted on 07/21/2014 12:01:09 PM PDT by SJackson (government tampers with a freedom so fundamental, one shudders to think what lies ahead. Card Dolan)
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To: SJackson

The assumption that “moral clarity” is equal to “opposition to Israel” is absurd.


3 posted on 07/21/2014 12:02:20 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: SJackson

Exactly how do libtards lose something they never had?


4 posted on 07/21/2014 12:02:29 PM PDT by Common Sense 101 (Hey libs... If your theories fly in the face of reality, it's not reality that's wrong.)
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To: SJackson

Democrats hate winners.


5 posted on 07/21/2014 12:17:38 PM PDT by ChicagahAl (Don't blame me. I voted for Sarah.)
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To: SJackson

Jews who support the DemocRats had better wake up.


6 posted on 07/21/2014 12:24:33 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (The cure has become worse than the disease. Support an end to the WOD now.)
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To: SJackson
Once upon a time liberals claimed an absolute monopoly on pro-Israel support. To be conservative, they insisted, was to be anti-Israel (which was true far too often, and still is in some cases). Even the hippie/SDSers supported Israel initially, foolishly seeing it as the "North Vietnam" of the Middle East (as did too many conservatives at the time). Ben Gurion may have been a socialist, but he was far more moderate than most socialist leaders of his day. He "de-politicized" the IDF by removing the ardent Stalinists of Palmach from leadership, and he put nation above socialist ideology. Labor Zionism was much more nationalistic than is remembered by many people today.

I for one am glad to see the deviants turn against Israel. Israel should consider their opposition a badge of honor rather than trying to get them back and whining about how much nicer to homosexuals they are than the Arabs (because no liberal cares what Arabs do to homosexuals; that's their culture, you bigot).

It is not at all unusual for issues to drift across the spectrum over time. Temperance/prohibitionism went from being a left wing progressive position to one associated with "reactionary" Bible Belt Fundamentalists. Anti-Masonry went from the country's first red scare to a left wing anti-elite and "anti-clerical" movement.

As a Fundamentalist I always supported Israel, for totally different reasons from the liberals. I actually thought the Left supported the Arabs and the Right supported Israel (which it did, internationally).

7 posted on 07/21/2014 12:27:57 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: SJackson
I found these two paragraphs very, very interesting. They explain a lot about the generally negative view that American liberals have of Israel.

Read it and you will see what I mean. Liberals always follow the lead of the radical leftists and Marxists.

***

But on the left, the Israeli-Arab dispute itself has been redefined. Liberals used to see the stakes with no illusions: A small Jewish democracy, an outpost of liberal Western values, was surrounded by brutal Arab dictatorships that denied its very right to exist. That moral clarity has eroded, partly because of facts on the ground over years of conflict — but ultimately through a skillful war of ideas, first launched on the radical left, to reframe the conflict by making Israel the villain and casting Palestinians, who had never been considered a nation, as an oppressed underdog seeking independence.

This intellectual assault began, as Muravchik details, when the Soviet Union, angered by Israel’s defeat of its Arab clients in 1967, engineered a propaganda campaign to delegitimize Zionism. Moscow embraced the PLO, assiduously promoting its significance to the global “anti-imperialist struggle.” The campaign was fought on many fronts, from academia to the United Nations to the media. Over time the anti-Israel narrative gained such traction that the Jewish state, though still a humane and liberal democracy, became one of the world’s most reviled nations.

8 posted on 07/21/2014 12:44:40 PM PDT by InterceptPoint (Remember Mississippi)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

See my post 8.


9 posted on 07/21/2014 12:45:55 PM PDT by InterceptPoint (Remember Mississippi)
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To: SJackson

democrat=progressive=islamist(or facilitator)=nazi

The only way out is to admit it.


10 posted on 07/21/2014 12:53:17 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: SJackson
Obama gave Hamas (with the UN's blessing) rockets.

Here, UN rockets attack children in Tel Aviv 7/16, as planned.

11 posted on 07/21/2014 1:45:52 PM PDT by Diogenesis (The EXEMPT Congress is complicit in the absence of impeachment)
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To: Diogenesis

Democrats credo. Once you have a group 100% in your camp, they become irrelevant except at election time.


12 posted on 07/21/2014 1:52:22 PM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (GM is dead and Al Queada is alive.)
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To: SJackson

Democrats lost moral clarity decades ago, probably in part from implicitly believing they had an unassailable monopoly on it.


13 posted on 07/21/2014 2:53:05 PM PDT by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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To: SJackson

Don’t over complicate things. Israelis look white enough for them to want them dead. That simple. Everybody always be over thinkin, democrats ain’t got no time for dat!


14 posted on 07/21/2014 3:08:04 PM PDT by The Toll
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To: InterceptPoint
See my post 8.

I'm afraid that observation by Muravchik is a little simplistic.

I agree that the Six Day War was the watershed event in this story, though the Communist world had become hostile to Israel already (as it was from 1917, only adopting a "pro-Zionist" position for a few years in the late 40s and early 50s).

However--the hard Left inside the United States still tended to support Israel. The fact that it did so while elsewhere opposing it can only be because, for whatever reason, Moscow ordered them to. Moscow seemed to have a reason for keeping their American clients pro-Israel while ordering an anti-Israel line in the rest of the world.

As recently as 1982, Jane Fonda and then-husband Tom Hayden entertained Israeli troops in Lebanon and justified doing so. This was at a time when Israel was taking it on the chin in the international media and when Israel's own Left was becoming traitorous just as ours had earlier. Yet at this time, under a right wing prime minister (Begin) the American Far Left was still reflexively pro-Israel. As I have said, for some reason of its own Moscow and its satellites wanted Israel to be identified with the Left within the United States while treating it as their bete noire elsewhere.

Of course now all those old "pro-Israel" leftists are anti-Israel. The party line was the only reason they supported it to begin with and when the line finally changed for the domestic USA Left, all the old "pro-Israel" leftists automatically adjusted their positions. As they always do.

15 posted on 07/21/2014 3:11:38 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: The Toll
Don’t over complicate things. Israelis look white enough for them to want them dead. That simple. Everybody always be over thinkin, democrats ain’t got no time for dat!

I've been to Israel. Most Israeli Jews are olive-complexioned, just like so many other Mediterranean peoples.

So far as I know, the Saudis are snow white.

16 posted on 07/21/2014 3:14:00 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: Zionist Conspirator

They look more pale on tv than Arabs. That’s enough for democrats to pick a side.


17 posted on 07/21/2014 3:17:33 PM PDT by The Toll
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To: The Toll
They look more pale on tv than Arabs. That’s enough for democrats to pick a side.

Evidently the libs have never seen the Saudi royal family on TV.

18 posted on 07/21/2014 3:19:02 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: SJackson

The Democrats never had any moral clarity to lose as far as Israel is concerned.


19 posted on 07/21/2014 3:22:53 PM PDT by sport
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Most Israeli Jews are olive-complexioned, just like so many other Mediterranean peoples.

That's what people always say about me but I look in the mirror and never see any trace of olive. Maybe it's the light?

20 posted on 07/21/2014 3:29:59 PM PDT by steve86 ( Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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To: The Toll

Some truth to that. Antisemitic attitudes are highest in the black community, have been for years.


21 posted on 07/21/2014 4:09:45 PM PDT by SJackson (government tampers with a freedom so fundamental, one shudders to think what lies ahead. Card Dolan)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Once upon a time liberals claimed an absolute monopoly on pro-Israel support.

With very little to back up the claim. Truman, who embargoed arms in 1948. Kennedy wasn't much of an actor on the issue, though his brother was killed for his support of Israel. Still, Democrats never mention that, it would reflect poorly on the palestinians. LBJ, who reneged on Eisenhower's commitment to keep the Gulf of Aquaba open. How big could that have been, back down Egypt, perhaps no 1967 war. I acknowledge LBJ had his hands bull, and Israel in control of the Sinai shut the canal to Russian traffic to Vietnam. But it was a commitment, by a Republican, to defend Israel's access to the Red Sea, and a Democrat refused. Who's next, Jimmy Carter. A collection to make Clinton look good on the issue. Of course other than Nixon and to some extent Reagan, Republicans have their issues too. But Republicans seem, at least to me, to have an affection for Israel despite policy decisions. Many Democrats, certainly post Carter, seem to view it as a necessary burden.

22 posted on 07/21/2014 4:18:36 PM PDT by SJackson (government tampers with a freedom so fundamental, one shudders to think what lies ahead. Card Dolan)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
An interesting theory. It could be you are right. In any case I'm old enough to have have noticed the Left’s transition from pro-Israel to anti-Israel. You just wake up one day and say to yourself: “I thought these guys were big supporters of Israel”.
23 posted on 07/21/2014 4:19:59 PM PDT by InterceptPoint (Remember Mississippi)
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To: SJackson
The comments on the article from the Globe's site are a hoot, as the loonies frantically dredge up supposed 'nuances' to justify their rabid lefty anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The nutjobs are apparently blind to the fact that they are completely proving Jacoby's premise.
24 posted on 07/21/2014 8:52:21 PM PDT by TrueKnightGalahad (When you´re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.)
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To: SJackson

And yet most American Jews viscerally support the extreme left wing Democrats and despise Evangelical Christians. Go figure...


25 posted on 07/21/2014 11:51:24 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Zionist Conspirator
However--the hard Left inside the United States still tended to support Israel. The fact that it did so while elsewhere opposing it can only be because, for whatever reason, Moscow ordered them to. Moscow seemed to have a reason for keeping their American clients pro-Israel while ordering an anti-Israel line in the rest of the world.

There's a much simpler explanation for this. The intellectual leadership of the Left in America was heavily Jewish, something that wasn't true in the rest of the world because most other countries don't have a substantial Jewish population. The American Left tended to be pro-Israel because for most Jews, even those on the far Left, ethnic solidarity came ahead of ideological solidarity. As to why that isn't the case with today's US Jewish Left, I would say it's because today's generation of secular Jews is more assimilated and has less of a sense of ethnic solidarity than a couple of generations ago.

26 posted on 07/22/2014 7:20:57 AM PDT by ek_hornbeck
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