The Obama administration and the Jews: Does Hillary's Reception at AIPAC Indicate a Possible Disillusion with the Democrats?
To which, one must ask, how? Certainly not via the new strategy Obama mentioned, that of “reengaging with Iran” and telling them to uphold “international obligations.” Noting that Iran has now by its actions proved that it has been “stripped of their usual excuses,” the Secretary then asserted:
With its secret nuclear facilities, increasing violations of its obligations under the nonproliferation regime, and an unjustified expansion of its enrichment activities, more and more nations are finally expressing deep concerns about Iran's intentions. And there is a growing international consensus on taking steps to pressure Iran's leaders to change course. Europe is in agreement. Russia, where I just returned from, has moved definitely in this direction. And although there is still work to be done, China has said it supports the dual-track approach of applying pressure if engagement does not produce results.
The above revealed the complete hollowness of her words. Observers all realize that the truth is that both Russia and China have done next to nothing to curb Iran, and to the contrary, are making it quite clear that Iran has little to worry about from their corner. Indeed, the Russians announced new efforts to help develop Iran’s new nuclear reactors, and China too has not followed any words with real action. And as for sanctions that she promises “will bite,” to be achieved via going to the United Nations, she argues they will “take time.” Of course, since the entire past year, the Obama administration has promised and threatened to apply new sanctions that Iran will have to take into account — yet somehow, they never are put in place.
The reality is that the administration seems ready to proceed to accept the very inevitability of a nuclear Iran that it disdains in its words, and to then make the case that just as the West lived with a nuclear Soviet sphere, it too can manage to live with a nuclear Iran. As Mort Zuckerman commented, “How is Israel to interpret the fact that in the Biden affair, the United States spoke more harshly to a longtime ally, Israel, than it did to the government of Iran recently when that oppressive regime reacted to a democratic uprising? Nor does it help that Israel was being held to account while the Palestinians escaped any rebuke for an incitement to terrorism. While the world was lambasting Israel, nobody was saying anything about — or even reporting — what happened in the West Bank. Fatah organized a ceremony renaming a public square near Ramallah in honor of a 19-year-old terrorist named Dalal Mughrabi. ‘We are all Mughrabi now’ was the chant for a coldblooded terrorist who precipitated the hijacking of a bus and the resulting murder of 38 Israelis, 13 of them children as young as 2.”
In Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC, he showed that he would not back down on the Obama administration’s demand that the 1600 housing units not be built. As he so powerfully told the delegates, “The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital.” (my emphasis.) And the construction the Obama administration made a bone of contention, he noted, is “ an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows…that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement and therefore, building in them no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.”
So his words directly contravene Secretary Clinton’s claim in her speech that the new construction “undermines that mutual trust” between Palestinians and Israelis and hence interferes with the “peace process.” It is no wonder that the scheduled meeting today between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu took place not in the White House with the press present before and after, but in a private meeting held in Netanyahu’s hotel room. Clearly, a gap still exists between the position of the Obama administration and that of the Israeli government.
It is also revealing that at the AIPAC meeting, the words that most stirred the crowd (aside from those of Netanyahu) were those of a leading Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, who reiterated the argument that “no government in the United States should ever look at Jerusalem as a settlement.” As Milbank reported, “the place went wild.”
One must ask the obvious question. In an audience largely composed of those very Jewish liberals who many consider to have been part of Hillary Clinton’s “core constituency,” a major conservative Republican Senator received the kind of response once reserved for the likes of Hillary Clinton. Could this then be an omen that finally, more American Jews will begin to reconsider their automatic allegiance to the Democratic Party?
Back in the 1940s, the leading militant Zionist, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, was widely thought of to be a Republican, although he saw his role as one of not tying his constituents to any one of the major parties, so that their influence could be equal with both of them. It should be apparent that Silver’s approach has much to recommend. After all, as Norman Podhoretz put it in his most recent book, Why Are Jews Liberals?, to many contemporary Jews, liberalism is both “the very essence of being a Jew” as well as a “religion in its own right.” And that liberalism transforms itself into automatically registering and voting Democratic as the political embodiment of that ideology.
Perhaps, as a result of the Obama administration’s most recent pronouncements and clear anti-Israeli mode, some more American Jews will make that great leap out of the automatic ranks of the Democratic Party.