Recently, with the death of Yasser Arafat and the election of a new Palestinian leader, there has been a renewed focus on the Middle East. As a Jew, Israel’s security forms the basis of my political beliefs, and I truly believe that only the Republicans support its safety. Why have the Democrats seemingly abandoned Israel? Equally alarming, why did 75 percent of Jewish voters support the Democrats during the last election? Most Jews, myself included, tend to be liberal on social issues, and Jewish loyalty to the Democratic Party has been unwavering since former President Franklin Roosevelt’s social reform package of the New Deal. But, is this enough to motivate American Jewry to continue to support the Democrats?
Certainly, there is an anti-Israeli movement emanating from paleoconservatives on the Right, bordering on anti-Semitism. Pat Buchanan has claimed that one of the major causes of Sept. 11 was American support for Israel and that the Jews have corrupted the conservative movement. Furthermore, he concocts a conspiracy theory that depicts Israel as the sole beneficiary of the War on Terror. In 1977, Buchanan even referred to Hitler as “a man of great courage” and a “genius.”
But even more disturbing to me than this bigoted attitude of the far Right, Liberals have abandoned the issue of Israeli security. Today, we have leftist groups such as Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, whose ultimate goal is to see the dismantling of a Jewish state. During its Washington anti-war rally, and amidst the waving flag of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, signs reading “I Love NYC even more without the World Trade Center,” and chants such as “Long Live the Intifada” were overwhelmingly evident. Speaker after speaker expressed support for the continued violence against Israel, while recently, ANSWER has hosted rallies in support of fallen Hamas leaders such as Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Regarded as the left wing’s most influential critic of U.S. policy, Noam Chomsky has become the most celebrated leftist over his four decades of political commentary. He has stated that Israel is the “number-two terror power,” right behind the United States, of course. Frequently, Chomsky’s writings have likened Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis, accusing it of “destroying all around it, if it cannot attain its expansionist objectives.” This absurd view is shared by Michael Moore, an unofficial spokesman for the Left, who dedicated his book “Dude, Where’s My Country” to Rachel Corrie, a Palestinian Solidarity Movement member, who died while trying to defend a tunnel used by terrorists to smuggle weapons into Gaza. In 1990, Moore refused to attend a screening of “Roger and Me” in Jerusalem, until Israel ceased its “occupation.” Currently, “Fahrenheit 9/11” is being used to recruit terrorists to kill Jews and Americans.
Unfortunately, this anti-Israeli venom has spilled over into the mainstream. Former President Jimmy Carter, for over 30 years, has made it his personal agenda to demonize Israel, praising Palestinian terrorism: “The intifada exposed the injustice Palestinians suffered.” In 1990, Carter assured the career terrorist Arafat saying, “I am much more harsh with the Israelis.” In Oslo, after receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, Carter stated, “One of the key factors that … arouses intense feelings of animosity in the world is the festering problem in the Holy Land, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the inability of Israel to live in peace with its neighbors.”
When speaking at the Arab American Institute in Michigan, former Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry referred to the Israeli security fence as a “barrier to peace.” Kerry’s top foreign policy advisor, Richard Holbrooke, assured voters that Kerry “would put more pressure on Israel.” Kerry also suggested sending the “unbiased” Carter as an envoy to oversee the “peace process.”
President Bush will only begin peace negotiations with the Palestinians when their terrorism stops. He has demonstrated his support for a Palestinian state, but only with the assurance of Israeli security. He has the distinction, amongst world leaders, of never having met with Arafat. Shouldn’t more American Jews have supported Bush during our last election?
Shuster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.