In the Spring of 2000, I was friendly with a nice man, the father of my son’s friend. He was generally apolitical, but his father had been a very high official in the Zionist-Marxist party (MAPAM), and he had regularly voted for MAPAM or the Communist Party. By coincidence, we once ended up sitting next to each other on a flight.
I thought it would be interesting to discuss politics, which I had never done with him. After all, the Camp David meeting had failed (Yasir Arafat had refused the two-state solution, and Israeli intelligence had recordings of Arafat saying he would never accept it), and the violent second intifada was launched by Arafat with a Fatah-Hamas alliance of terrorism.
Anyway, to my surprise this soft-spoken real estate agent started screaming: “Only [Ariel] Sharon! Only Sharon can save the country!”
That year, I heard that a lot. As British philosopher Samuel Johnson said: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” That’s the difference with direct engagement with an issue.
A great number of Middle Eastern Arabs and Muslims — perhaps 85% — who think about this issue at all want to destroy Israel. This is far more than even the percentage of Germans who wanted to kill the Jews in 1932.
American public opinion, Christians, and absolutely shocked congressional Democrats (and Republicans) who don’t feel comfortable with Obama and Kerry’s policies are the main supporters of Israel. It will be interesting to see if and when the Democrats have to choose between Israel and real dangers to Israel. However, a large number of the pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews themselves — an incredible proportion. It is surprising, but also not so surprising. Yet it must be confronted; and it must not be answered by more words but by political movements and pressure.
Why are Jews so far to the left in general? Historically, it is no mystery. The Jews in the nineteenth century were modernists, supporters of change and development, because traditional society did not have a place for them. Then, the Democratic Party made a serious effort to get the immigrant and other urban ethnic votes.
The New Deal was very good for Jews and was strongly supported by them; many government agencies were first staffed by Jews at that time. Also many academics, journalists, and other service professions and trade unions were working government-created jobs. And the fight against fascism was led by the Democratic Party in that era.
You would think that the Democratic view is out of date, but of course it is not. It is just unfashionable to be Republican, whereas liberal Democratic politics are associated with all that is smart, good, and stylish.
It is important to keep in mind that Jews are very sensitive to racial and religious discrimination. So why is the anti-Semitism connected to popular liberal politics so easily overlooked, and even exploited by the modern left?
Let’s look at Reverend Wright, who was obviously involved in potent anti-Semitism. He said in a 2011 speech in Baltimore: “The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal … place.” Also: “To equate Judaism with the state of Israel is to equate Christianity with [rapper] Flavor Flav.” These comments were forgiven because of his connection to Obama’s campaign: crime, never punishment.
Today, there is a very bizarre division among Jews in the United States. There is a serious lack of Jewish causes among leftist Zionists. Activists are either pro-Israel and traditional liberals or moderates, or they belong more to the extreme left wing — which is, unfortunately, disproportionately common. I should think the historical far-left communist experience should be sufficient to scare Jews (remember the oppression of Soviet Jewry).