Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Are Jewish Americans Ready to Bail on Barack?

Contrary to the experience of other ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians, the ascent of Jews up the economic and social ladder has not been accompanied by a political move to the right. As Milton Himmelfarb noted some three decades ago, Jews earn money like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.
Finally, we detect a tepid ripple from Jewish leaders in response to the Obama administration’s clear diminution of American support for Israel. Not surprisingly that indignation is directed at Hillary Clinton who is rapidly becoming the lightning rod for Jewish displeasure with the Obama administration’s Hamas-ward lurch:
Hillary had Mrs. Arafat here and she invited Mrs. Arafat for lunch when she was the first lady," (said) Babak Chafe of Great Neck. "She is pro-Palestinian 100 percent, really. Of course, we always knew it."

This belated indignation belies the fact of overwhelming Jewish support for her boss, Barack Obama, as a Presidential candidate, despite significant evidence of his similar predilection for the Palestinian cause.
Just what did American Jews expect from a Democrat administration with friends and advisers like Rashid Khalidi,, Anthony Lake, Susan Rice, Zbigniew Bzrezinski and Robert O. Malley? According to Sammy Benoit, editor at Yid with Lid :
“Obama has assembled a veritable all-star team of Israel haters as his chief foreign policy experts.”

One has to admire Obama’s adroit deployment of Hillary as a sort of human-shield against the onset of Jewish vitriol. Meanwhile his lower profile pro-Palestinian policy wonks can proceed to effectively dismantle the American-Israeli alliance.
The question remains: why weren’t these leaders of the Jewish-American community sounding the alarm while Obama was peddling Hope & minimizing attention to his intended Israeli Policy Change? Fully 78% of Jewish voters supported Barack Obama in November 2008: does this mean that 78% of American Jews are indifferent to the continued existence of the nation of Israel?
In his book, Jews Against Prejudice, American Jews and the Fight for Civil Liberties, Stuart Svonkin suggests that American Jews continue to consider themselves primarily as likely victims of oppression, even today in America. Perhaps this self-image renders any identification with the Israeli nation as a secondary consideration:
American Jews, despite their remarkable social and economic ascent (before and after) the Great Depression, continued to see themselves as victims threatened by malevolent forces, whether these emanated from town hall, the military, the White House, or the corporate boardroom. As a result, they identified their interests with other oppressed groups such as blacks, the working class, and the falsely accused.
The focus of Jewish political organizations exacerbated this perception:
Jews Against Prejudice chronicles the activities of the three major national Jewish "defense" organizations: the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the American Jewish Congress. After World War II, they refocused their work from the defense of purely Jewish interests to a broader assault on all forms of prejudice. They now argued that anti-Semitism was not unique but part of a broad phenomenon involving bigotry and authoritarianism, and that the fate of America’s Jews was inextricably tied to that of other minority groups, particularly blacks.
World history since WWII however, suggests that anti-Semitism, is, in fact, unique in both its power and scope. There is no doubt that Anti-Semitism is embedded deep in the theological underpinnings of the Muslim religion. The celebrated “Islamic Personality of the Year for 2006,” Abdul Rahman Ibn Abdul Aziz as-Sudais an-Najdi(Hanbali, lead imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, for instance:
has been decried as an anti-Semite for publicly praying to God to ‘terminate’ the Jews,[6] and as a result has been barred from conferences in America,[6] and been refused entry to Canada.[7]
On April 19, 2002, in his sermon Al-Aqsa Is Crying Out For Help! Al-Sudais called the Jews "monkeys and pigs" among other invective.[8]
Al-Sudais has been listed as an example of theological anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League, when he called curses down upon Jews and labeled them “scum of the earth” in his sermons.
While the deep-rooted animus of Europeans toward the Jews was seemingly stifled after WWII, the passage of time combined with the influx of Muslim immigrants into European societies has allowed the open hatred of Jews to become resurgent. Manfred Gerstenfeld, among others, has suggested that anti-Semitism is “integral to European culture.” In fact the increasingly radical left-wing, quasi-socialist governments of Europe have linked arms with Muslim nations to effectively institutionalize anti-Semitism at the United Nations, the Red Cross and Amnesty International among other examples of multi-national organizations whose policies drip with the poison of anti-Semitism.
It’s obvious that American Jews have been unduly complacent, living in the great freedom-loving melting-pot of the United States, where anti-Semitism has truly been limited. Only in the last 12 months have we begun to see demonstrations of anti-Semitism in public, especially in New York and San Francisco While American Jews have chosen to throw in their lot with blacks, the ACLU, and other minorities, the nation of Israel continues to face an escalating series of existential threats on a near daily basis.
Hopefully this stirring of anti-Hillary sentiment in the American Jewish community is an indication that Jews now recognize that the support they have provided for American blacks throughout the Civil Rights movement, is hardly reciprocated. Recall Jesse Jackson’s Hymietown rant , Louis Farrakhan’s long history of anti-Semitism ,and Barack Obama’s serial associations with anti-Semites like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright , the afore-mentioned Khalidi , and a litany of other anti-Israeli Democrats
The Democrat party in general, and American blacks in particular, appear ready to stow support for Israel beneath that bus carrying all the baggage for the Obama administration and to a lesser extent, the Clintons. Is the American Jewish community finally signaling that it is no longer reluctant to stand up for its family in Israel, even if that means breaking up the old Civil Rights alliances?

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