Sure, let’s let Israel’s opponents win by providing them with a divide and conquer opening

Why are some Jews so intent on destroying America’s bipartisan support for Israel?

It was announced a couple of days ago that a new Israel advocacy group has emerged, the Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership. It is headed by well known conservatives including Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol and Gary Bauer, a prominent evangelical Christian.

To put themselves on the map, they have started to press their agenda of advocating for Israel while holding positions critical of the Obama administration and a greater proclivity on the part of more and more Democratic elected officials to take sides against Israeli positions. Their first ad, for example, is against Joe Sestak, who beat Arlen Specter for the Dem nomination for Specter’s Senate seat. In the ad, the group attacks Sestak’s votes and positions related to Israel.

The group has also said that they’re “the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community.” They praise AIPAC for its efforts, but state that because it is an organization that seeks to influence policy-makers, it pulls back some of its punches.

One can reasonably assume that this group is a reaction to the inroads J Street has made by offering policy-makers an alternative to the viewpoints expressed by the traditionally known Israel advocacy groups. J Street has found some willing listeners among lawmakers and many would say that their positions have provided cover for some of the policies that have come out of this White House and the growing number of lawmakers, especially on the Democratic side, who have been reluctant or even opposed to supporting Israel on some fairly important matters. One could argue that the Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership will provide an important outlet for the open criticism of positions that undermine Israel.

The problem with the Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership is that they are linked with and, in fact, affiliated to the Republican Party and some of its key constituents. What this means is that they can be dismissed, and WILL be dismissed, by Democrats and many others who are independent. Their positions will become the positions of one party and will offer an outlet to those Democrats who want to move their party away from support for Israel.

Let’s not forget that the Democrats are a centrist party with strong influences from the Left in their DNA. If anything, it has been a testament to the strength of the American public’s support for Israel, not to mention the lobbying efforts of BI-PARTISAN groups like AIPAC that have reminded the Dems that Israel’s democracy and liberal values deserve their support. That bi-partisan support has meant that for decades administrations of either political party and a large number of Congresses have continued to support Israel without consideration for party politics.

The Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership is about to change that. They are going to turn Israel into a partisan issue. If they succeed, they will begin to define Israel as a Republican pet issue and commandeer the notion that support for Israel will only be possible when voting for Republican candidates. When Dems react to Israel because of actions like those this Committee will take, it will be along party lines as well. Their pro-Israel claims will be dismissed because they are provided by Republicans – just as the so-called Neo-Cons were the embodiment of evil for many Dem supporters. Well, now the Neo-Cons are becoming a public advocacy group for Israel and on the other side is the administration with its Democrat-controlled House.

Foolishness.

Israel needs to remain a bi-partisan issue. The need to support another democracy with values similar to those we have in the USA surpasses the pettiness of inter-party politics. By opening this door to partisanship, the Emergency Committee for Israel’s Leadership is doing Israel and its supporters a major disservice. Their position offers short-term thinking for short-term gains, but creates the possibility of serious long-term damage to Israel’s status both with lawmakers and even the public. These folks and their supporters should think long and hard about what could happen if they are successful, and should quietly fold up and use their resources to help bi-partisan efforts to support Israel.

20 Comments

  1. xisnotx

    7/13/2010 at 8:44 pm

    here’s walt’s take walt.foreignpo...

  2. JamesEJ

    7/13/2010 at 9:30 pm

    Israel does need to be a bipartisan issue. We need a large and powerful AIPAC spanning both parties and less centrist groups to shore up support among those who are anti-bipartisan. J Street as the anti-AIPAC disturbs this balance. J-Street as the anti-ECI and vice-versa restores balance to the force …

  3. themiddle

    7/14/2010 at 12:17 am

    Walt is a jerk. He has such big blinders on that it’s impossible to read anything he writes without knowing exactly where he’s going to go with it. However, exactly in the way he dismissed these guys, expect many Democratic supporters to do the same. The problem is that in order to attack these guys, they will have to be attacking Israel. Not a good idea as far as long term bi-partisan support for the Jewish state.

    By the way, Walt’s wrong about the reasons Obama has taken a step back from his antagonistic positions on Israel. It has little to do with AIPAC or the non-existent “Israel Lobby.” The Palestinians caused this little victory by placing themselves out of possible peace talks. Obama has realized that he created an opening for indefinite delay on the part of Palestinians but he was paying a price for it with supporters of Israel. With an upcoming election, this seems like a foolish gamble. But this is a temporary band-aid. We’ll see what happens come December.

  4. AlexK

    7/14/2010 at 8:19 am

    “Why are some Jews so intent on destroying America’s bipartisan support for Israel?”

    Because 75% of you geniuses already turned it into one by voting for the most anti-Israel president in history by throwing your Sarah Silvermanish support behind your pathetic fool Obama.

    “Let’s not forget that the Democrats are a centrist party”

    Hahaha. And that’s why I called you geniuses. You must be if you believe this crap.

    I love it. Anything TheMiddle disagrees with is most likely a great idea. And using a term line NeoCon with it’s many anti-Semitic connotations TM, I wouldn’t have put it past you. I’m loving watching you lefty American Jews panic as your Obama ship sinks though. It’s bringing me tons of joy.

    And who’s Israel’s opponents exactly TM and how do they win? I know how they’ve been winning thus far: by having Obama and his acolytes in office, thanks to people like you who assured us what a great friend to Israel they would be, and talked down to us like we were racist for even suggesting otherwise. You made your bed…

  5. Raeefa

    7/14/2010 at 11:46 am

    I’m going to have to second JamesEJ’s comment there. When J Street emerged, it made AIPAC and other centrist, mainstream Jewish orgs seem like the right flank of the community, even though that’s patently false. Politicians could justify (relatively) anti-Israel positions under the guise of “Hey, J Street says it’s OK, and they’re ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’, so why not?” Cable TV shows could have a Palestinian spokesman juxtaposed with a guy from J Street, because the latter somehow represents the “pro-Israel” position. With ECI, groups like AIPAC are knocked back to the center, where they belong.

  6. themiddle

    7/14/2010 at 12:01 pm

    Alex, you rabid dog, the issue is the foiling of bipartisan support for Israel. If you think loonies such as yourself are beneficial to Israel, think again.

  7. AlexK

    7/14/2010 at 12:05 pm

    Yeah, you’ve done so much in your echo chamber TM. You should give yourself a pat on the back.

    • themiddle

      7/14/2010 at 12:33 pm

      Well, I’ve got you as a regular reader.

  8. AlexK

    7/14/2010 at 12:43 pm

    That’s a stretch. All this news about the New Black Panther Party and it’s cover up by Eric Holder and Obama Admin in the news, plus the book that was sent by Farrakhan to every major Jewish organization in America with veiled threats, and what is Jewlicious focused on? Oh yeah, an attack on conservative Jews and conservative supporters of Israel. Go get em tiger!

  9. themiddle

    7/14/2010 at 12:52 pm

    Farrakhan doesn’t interest me and providing his publicity ploy with even more publicity seems stupid to me. On the other hand, having Israel become a Republican issue concerns me greatly and should concern every supporter of Israel. Oh, and this was in no way an attack on either conservative Jews, conservative supporters of Israel or any such thing. This was an attack on a new organization that stupidly seeks to divide support for Israel along partisan political lines. Our attacks on J Street were way harsher than this, by the way.

  10. Tom Morrissey

    7/14/2010 at 3:39 pm

    Middle, what’s wrong with some pushback from the right against Obama’s effort to re-orient US policy in an Arabist, pro-Muslim direction?

    The question can fairly be asked whether Israel is best served by US Jews continuing to vote for the Democrats in overwhelming numbers. Balance is a good thing, promoting pushback rather than enabling, when pushback is needed.

    We should be on the lookout for the intrusion into domestic US politics of the fervent anti-Zionism of the Euro left… Bolton et al. can help smoke it out– a good thing.

  11. Tom Morrissey

    7/14/2010 at 3:40 pm

    …btw, I trust you weren’t fooled by last week’s Barack–Bibi lovefest. Or were you?

  12. JamesEJ

    7/14/2010 at 5:50 pm

    AlexK, the term “neoconservative” can be used in either a descriptive or antisemitic manner. I see nothing from TM to suggest he used it as anything other than a descriptor.

  13. themiddle

    7/15/2010 at 4:47 am

    Tom, I’m actually worried that having to fight this group will ramp up the anti-Israel rhetoric of the leftier Dems to the point where it will begin to resemble the Euro Left.

    As for the Bibi-Obama circus, it means nothing other than profound concern by the Dems that they have hurt themselves for nothing in these upcoming elections with Obama’s Israel positions. It’s a signal to active Jewish Democrats that it’s safe to stay on the wagon.

  14. AlexK

    7/15/2010 at 2:35 pm

    JamesEJ, it’s precisely because “the term “neoconservative” can be used in either a descriptive or antisemitic manner” that I think we as Jews would be less apt to use it. I guess while we’re in close quarters it doesn’t matter as much. In case you haven’t noticed, messing with TM is a form of personal entertainment for me. He’s sooo serious about everything. Poor guy.

  15. xisnotx

    7/16/2010 at 2:03 am

    tm: “the non-existent israel lobby” — but havent you identified a palestinian lobby in canada, involved w/the TIFF affair?

  16. themiddle

    7/16/2010 at 4:44 am

    Lobby? No, I found some people who are affiliated with a Palestinian organization based in Toronto that together with members of other Canadian organizations seem to drive a great deal of the anti-Israel activism in Canada. A lobby is something else entirely. It’s an advocacy group that targets the political echelon for its message and influence. However, in Walt & Mearsheimer’s universe, the so-called “Israel Lobby” isn’t AIPAC, it’s essentially anybody who advocates for Israel.

  17. D. Pinsky

    7/16/2010 at 6:20 am

    Israel is a fine country. But considering the U.S. is a Democratic Republic, it would be nice to assume those who don’t want to be married to Israel and everything it does, whether that be because they don’t like the way the flag looks, or that they’re all raging anti-semites, have a vote choice in the matter.

    As of now both parties are firmly in the Zionist camp, even the Democrats. Even the much derided J Street are zionists. If there’s even a glimmer of a crack in the “Israel: Right or Wrong” position that’s the de facto of both parties, it would most certainly disappear now. The emergence of some Neo-Kahanist party in GOP circles, arguing that any politician not personally willing to lethally skullfuck every Arab occupying Eretz Yisrael is Eichmann reincarnate will make AIPAC seem modest by comparison.

  18. AlexK

    7/16/2010 at 8:02 am

    If members of J Street are Zionists, I’m a member of NAACP.

  19. themiddle

    7/16/2010 at 1:35 pm

    “Neo-Kahanist” seems to be a tad strong there, Mr. Pinsky. Actually, the entire comment is a bit over the top, but you sort of make my point for me. Thanks.

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