In Tablet Magazine today, Lee Smith offers us a brilliant explanation of why so many Jewsih leaders who have consistently criticized Obama’s views on Israel- including Alan Dershowitz and Mayor Ed Koch- are still supporting the President’s re-election. Smith calls it “The Alan Dershowitz Syndrome.” They don’t much like the President’s polcies, he argues, but they are concerned that if only Republicans support Israel, then the bi-partisan backing of the Jewish state could erode, and the left-wing opponents of Israel within the Democratic Party would triumph. Smith writes:
Without that broad agreement—that Israel is a valuable strategic partner in a region of vital U.S. interest, and a friend with whom America has shared values and principles—the relationship would be buffeted by all of Washington’s various political winds. By sticking with Obama in spite of all, Dershowitz and others are arguably protecting the bipartisan nature of the relationship, and at an especially vulnerable time.
As Smith writes, “ Accordingly, the old guard seems to believe that while Obama isn’t great for Israel, backing him is good for the health of the party and the Jewish state.” They want, in other words, to put off the time in which only conservatives support Israel, which would mean in effect the end of a nationwide consensus supportive of Israel.