Is the Jewish love affair with the Democratic Party about to end?
For all of my looooong life, the Jews have been so deep in the pocket of the Democratic Party it would make Chris Matthews blush. Maybe... just maybe... (I know old habits die hard).... thanks to Barack Obama, that is about to end. The well-put lede from this morning's WSJ opinion piece details the situation:
In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has endorsed "healthy relations" between Iran and Syria, mildly rebuked Syrian President Bashar Assad for accusing the U.S. of "colonialism," and publicly apologized to Moammar Gadhafi for treating him with less than appropriate deference after the Libyan called for "a jihad" against Switzerland.
When it comes to Israel, however, the Administration has no trouble rising to a high pitch of public indignation. On a visit to Israel last week, Vice President Joe Biden condemned an announcement by a mid-level Israeli official that the government had approved a planning stage—the fourth out of seven required—for the construction of 1,600 housing units in north Jerusalem. Assuming final approval, no ground will be broken on the project for at least three years.
The Obama administration has taken the admonition to "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer" to a new level. They want to make love with their enemies while taking their friends to the woodshed and beating the living daylights out of them. And take them they did, time after time. First Biden, then Hillary, then some semi anonymous character at the State Department dressing down Ambassador Oren (talk about disrespecting your betters!), then on to the talk show circuit with the droning Gibbs and Obama's "best Jew" David Axlerod. His other "best Jew" Rahm Emanuel was nowhere in evidence, as far as I know. (Interesting, that).
But back to my lede. Is the Jewish love affair with the Democratic Party about to end? I know many will be skeptical. And they should be. But I suspect something is brewing. This kind of excessive and weirdly paternalistic attitude to the state of Israel, directed so clearly from the top, seems to come out of a kind of unexamined personal animus. The long record that Obama has of friendship with virulent enemies of Israel has not gone unnoticed.
Whatever the etiology, group love affairs with political parties cannot help but be self-destructive. They may begin in a burst of mutual admiration but they will almost always devolve into a self-destructive "taking for granted" that could only work to the benefit of one party (if that). The love affair between African-Americans and the Democratic Party has been similarly useless for blacks. In the forty years I have lived in Los Angeles, I haven't noticed life getting significantly better in South Central, a region of the city in which Republicans are about as scarce as killer whales.
This doesn't mean I think Jews or blacks or anybody else should become Republicans. They should think for themselves and even change sides when it's advantageous. For Jews, Obama's behavior is indeed a "teaching moment." The bizarre over-reaction to a minor incident in Israel should serve as a wake up call.
Will it? It won't be easy to tell at first. The coming AIPAC meeting in Washington, at which Clinton and Netanyahu will speak, will undoubtedly contain a certain amount of nice-nice talk. But beneath the surface sands are shifting. We shall see if this morphs into a tectonic plate.
And then there's Iran.