Saturday, July 22, 2006

Live like Episcopalians. Vote like Palestinians

Years ago I read a column that pointed out the irony that Jewish-Americans earn above average incomes but vote for and contribute to Democrat candidates. The columnist concluded that Jewish-Americans "live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans."

But after years of over the top anti-Bush hatred among many Jewish-Americans (and other Leftish Americans too), despite the fact that President Bush has arguably been Israel's strongest supporter among American presidents, perhaps it would be more accurate (and more politically correct) to say that Jewish-Americans live like Episcopalians and vote like Palestinians.

David Gelernter writes in a column titled Will They Ever Learn about the self-destructive behavior of Jewish-Americans, in terms of their political affiliations.
For years I have watched the Palestinians do absurdly self-destructive things, and have never understood them until now. But watching the Bush administration stoutly defend Israel this week against the background of an American Jewish population that vocally (often sneeringly) dislikes him and his administration, and consistently votes by massive majorities for his Democratic opponents, I start to understand the Palestinians just a little.

American Jews are not Palestinians and have not sunk to the level of supporting terrorist murderers. But their behavior is a lesson in self-destructive nihilism that could teach even the Palestinians a thing or two. U.S. Jews remain fervent supporters of an American left that is increasingly unable or unwilling to say why Israel must exist. Of course American Jews, like all Americans, define their interests in terms of many issues and not just one. But there is a reason why so many used to put Israel's safety near the top of their lists: Israel has been caught in a life-or-death struggle since birth; American support is critical to her survival.

True: Jewish support for President Bush moved upward in the 2004 election relative to the 2000 figures. It moved all the way up to 25 percent. During the five presidential elections of the 1970s and '80s, American Jews averaged 35 percent support for the Republican candidate, so 25 percent for Bush in '04 was not exactly a landslide move to the GOP. But even this pint-sized move seems to have petered out earlier this year. Jack Abramoff does not make an attractive spokesman for Jewish Republicans. The fall of Tom DeLay silenced one of the best friends Israel ever had in American politics, and one of the most effective symbols of Republican support for Israel. So the pattern of the '90s is likely to continue: American Jews move left as the left moves away from Israel.

Merely look at American universities and their disastrous left-wing tilt (many are close to capsizing), and check out recent studies that document a startling deterioration in knowledge of and sympathy for Israel on U.S. college campuses, and you will learn plenty about the American left and its increasingly anti-Israel tendencies.
There was an important moment in the three way 1988 Democrat Presidential primary race between Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and Jesse Jackson when Ed Koch, the Jewish Democrat Mayor of New York City, endorsed Al Gore while saying, "Jews and people who care about Israel would be crazy to support Jesse Jackson."

And Ed Koch hasn't changed his stripes much after all these years. Former Mayor Koch was perhaps the most visible liberal Democrat who endorsed the Bush-Cheney ticket in the 2004 election. He explained his vote to the Republican convention in New York City that Democrats simply don't have the stomach for waging a war against Islamic extremism. I'm sure numerous books have been written about voters who appear to be voting against their own best interests. "What's the Matter with Kansas," by Left-winger Thomas Frank, is a book that laments the tendency of working-class Americans to support Republicans candidates based on social issues. Still, with the world's only Jewish-majority state being subject to nearly constant attack since its founding and the long history of persecution against Jewish people the following excerpt from David Gelernter's column has to boggle the mind.
American Jews used to act out of very different motives; used to vote left out of idealism. But that is starting to change. As the left-wing agenda dries up, nothing remains to feed on (if you are used to getting your nourishment left of center) but the bitter weeds of hate. And thus the tragic, pathetic surge of hatred for George Bush on the left, including among left-wing Jews. As I heard someone say last week, "I think Bush is doing great on Israel. Naturally, I still hate his guts."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Lebanon conflict

Josh Manchester at Tech Central Station has written an interesting column titled Shaken and Stirred where Manchester argues that the removal of Saddam Hussain's regime in Iraq has changed the attitude of Sunni Arabs in the Middle East, to the advantage of the United States.
"The Saudi foreign minister, al-Faisal, led a triumvirate including Egypt and Jordan that, according to the AP report, was '...criticizing the guerilla group's actions, calling them 'unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts.'' Faisal said, 'These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we simply cannot accept them.' . . . The Arab leaders are frightened that the acts of the terrorists they have coddled for decades might have consequences for them. And they are very frightened of what Iran may do next.'

These regimes would most certainly not be afraid of what Iran may do next if Saddam Hussein still ran Iraq, providing for the Arab world a deterrent against Iran.
Then there is an analysis of this column by Tigerhawk
we have in the perception of the Gulf Sunnis removed the Iraqi Sunni barrier to Iran's western expansion. They (and, to be frank, the United States) can no longer "free ride" on Baghdad's first line of defense. That has polarized the Gulf Sunnis (and other major Sunni Arab countries) into taking a stand against Iran. Josh argues that Saudi Arabia's open opposition to Iran is a recent and profound development. It is. As recently as the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 (in which Iranian Hezbollah agents, possibly working in concert with Al Qaeda, blew up a building housing American Air Force personnel near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia), the Saudis supposedly frustrated American investigators precisely because they did not want to risk a confrontation with Iran. Now they are willing to confront Iran and its proxy Hezbollah in implicit support of Israel. That is an astonishing reversal, and it is because Saddam's government is no longer in power in Baghdad. The Saudis began hunting al Qaeda in May 2003, and now they are helping to shut down Hezbollah.
Sometimes we don't appreciate the way in which removing Saddam Hussain from power has altered reality and the perception of that reality in the Middle East. It's about time was started taking into account the views of the differing factions and use them to help us neutralize the Iranian threat and win the global war on terror.