I was horrified by reports that a powerful congressman, Henry Waxman, had said that Jews in New York’s ninth congressional district voted against President Barack Obama “to protect their wealth.” Could the obsession with backing Obama have led a leading Jewish politician to make such a stereotypical antisemitic remark?
In fact, Waxman’s statement was taken out of context. As usually happens, however, a proper understanding of what someone is saying teaches far more than stereotyping their argument.
Let’s examine Waxman’s statement as quoted in The Hill newspaper:
I think Jewish voters will be Democratic and be for Obama in 2012, especially if you get a Republican candidate like [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry. But there’s no question the Jewish community is much more bipartisan than it has been in previous years. There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.
Let’s consider this statement. The first part is correct: More Jews are voting against Democrats and will vote against Obama, but the majority will continue to support them. The problem comes in the second part, and an accurate reading teaches us several things.
First, the Democratic Party has taken a sharp turn to the left and much of which passes for “liberalism” nowadays is in fact a radicalism that opposes traditional liberal ideas. American liberalism has never been systematically or doctrinally anti-capitalist, much less anti-American.
There is a vast scam going on that represents the current left’s success in doing what the Communist Party tried to do in the 1930s. That’s why many liberal — and especially Jewish — intellectuals have turned against what’s happening now. Even many of those Democrats and Jews in general who vote for radicals-pretending-to-be-liberals do so with deep doubts.
Hey, Mr. Waxman, I’d love to vote Democrat, but I can’t because your party and president advocate and implement policies that endanger the United States, destroy the economy, create unemployment, and destabilize the world. They also damage Israel’s security, Middle East stability, the struggle against revolutionary Islamism, and even build anti-Israel views and hatred among many American supporters of your side. If you want my vote, get rid of Obama and change your policies.
Instead, what we’re getting is the manipulation of habit and fearmongering to make Jews — and others — think of conservatives and Republicans as a blend of country club antisemite, Nazi storm trooper, and religious fanatic. The administration and its supporters are doing everything possible to spread hate, fear, and arrogant snobbishness toward fellow Americans.
The reference to Perry is an example. Is the fact that Governor Rick Perry is a pious Christian really some threat to Jews? Definitely not, but how many Jews will believe that? Well, under 50 percent for sure. There is, however, a new paradigm, at least in the United States, in which believing Christians are more friendly to Jews and Israel on the whole than are atheists.
Second, it is absurd to say that Jews “misunderstand” Obama’s Middle East policy. They understand it all too well. I want to stress, however, that the problem is not just U.S .-Israel relations, but the wider regional approach taken by the administration that makes Israel’s situation far worse and more dangerous.
Let’s remember that Waxman campaigned hard for Obama by telling Jews that the candidate loved Israel and was no problem for it. Waxman lied; the peace process died, thanks not to Israel but to Obama. Equally, Obama has been soft on or actually favored the forces most inimical to Israel: Egyptian revolutionaries including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the Islamist regime in Turkey, and the Syrian government. His policies have helped to block any discussion of Islamist and Islamic antisemitism, the main threat to Jews in the world today.