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Jewish Democrats use rightist tactics to attack Romney on Israel

Missing some facts and leaving all shame behind it, the NJDC takes issue with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her alleged support of Palestinians’ civil rights, and with President George W. Bush for brokering a cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel next week marks the official opening of the Israel season in the presidential elections. Sheldon Adelson, the global sponsor of the Republikud party, already financed an ad attacking president Obama for his poor Israel record (i.e., doing what both previous presidents did, but giving the IDF more guns than they did).

One Democratic response arrived immediately in the form of a mass e-mail from the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), with the title: “10 Israel Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer.” I was actually naïve enough to think these question would be along the lines of “What solution does the Republican nominee envision for the West Bank and Gaza,” or “What is the governor’s position on the settlements?”

Oh no. Those Jewish Democrats decided to attack Romney from the (neo-con) right, presenting a list of talking point stolen from the hard drive of Dick Cheney. Question Number 7, for example, attacks President Reagan (!) for not being pro-Israel enough, or for never having visited Israel.

Question Number 8 claims that President George W. Bush “allowed Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge to collapse” – facts, anyone? Israel never enjoyed the military superiority over its neighbors like the one it had in the last decade – or for refusing weapon sales that would have been used to attack Iran. But my personal favorite is Number 5, which uses former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to label Romney as anti-Israel:

#5. Governor Romney, are you actually vetting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for vice president? How do you account for Rice’s much-criticized record on Israel?Are you comfortable with her comparison of Palestinians to African Americans fighting for civil rights in the 1960s? Do you agree with the way she pressured Israel to accept a peace treaty with Hezbollah before the Israeli military had a chance to complete its military operations?

Again, the facts here are wrong – Secretary Rice did not pressure Israel to have a peace treaty with Hezbollah, but actually rescued the government from a disastrous campaign that ultimately cost the defense minister and (indirectly) the prime minister their jobs. As every Israeli knows, the Bush administration allowed Israel all the time it wanted “to complete the military operation,” but the army simply failed, and after more than 30 days the government was desperate to find a way to end the war. Still, much worse is the attempt to delegitimize the very mild comments Secretary Rice made in support of Palestinian human rights. I knew that the constitution forbids comparing the occupation to Apartheid, but this certainly marks a new all-time low, at least for Democrats.

I understand what campaigning is, especially in a two-party system, but words and positions do matter. If this is how the Democrats are selling Obama, using the language of the Israeli hard right and the settlers, then I say no thanks. If this is how a Jewish coalition interprets being pro-Israel (as opposed to supporting the long term interest of both Jews and Palestinians living here), then their support is unwelcome. Eventually these politics will also backfire, because you can’t be more rightwing than the right, and voters are not that stupid.

Reading this piece just made me wonder if Romeny would actually be that bad, or that different from the current administration. And with him, at least we would know where we stand.

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    1. aristeides

      To quote Butch Cassidy, “Who are these guys?”

      Reply to Comment
    2. Max

      Complain as much as you like…you’ll thank us when we win the damn election.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Rorr

      Its called politics. I know it agravates 972 but being pro-Israel works in America

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jack

      If there is no lobby (as the counter argument goes), what makes the politicans so obsessed with Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Great piece. Positions matter; truth matters. The DNC should be ashamed of itself. I’m a supporter of Obama’s candidacy, will vote, work, and donate to his campaign. But this approach is bad.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Adam

      “If there is no lobby (as the counter argument goes), what makes the politicans so obsessed with Israel?”

      Because the voters support Israel. Sometimes democracy is such a bitch!

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jack

      Its not the average joe on the street that makes politicans get so obsessed with Israel. Primary becuase the average joe neither care about the conflict in the middle east nor have the lobby money that goes to these politcians.
      That talk wont fool anyone here.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Adam

      Jack– I disagree with your claim that “The Average Joe” doesn’t care about the conflict in the Middle East. It’s probably the only part of the world that Americans pay attention to. Obviously we’re not going to agree about such vast generalizations, but here’s another lens through which to examine the issue. The tobacco lobby had more money than God, and American politicians were certainly in the pocket of the tobacco lobby for many years. But once the American public turned against Big Tobacco, the politicians gutted the tobacco industry. I’m deeply upset about the power of the NRA, but I understand that millions of Americans have very different opinions about gun control than I do, and that’s why many politicians, including Obama, don’t have the moral courage to do anything about gun control. The conflict in the Middle East plays out on our television screens and in the the newspapers. American politicians are supportive of Israel because the voters share that support.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      Democracy has always been a bitch. Ask Plato or Aristotle. They knew from experience how democracy is corrupted by demogoguery.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jack

      Most american do not care about the conflict in the middle east, why would they? But the lobby and the pro-israeli politicians surely trying to make such a bound between the american public and Israel, making the impression the people want this relationship.

      In 2011 there was a survey(http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/bbc2011_palestine/) in 19 western states, the question were if their respective governments should recognize Palestine or not (this was before the vote on the same issue in the UN later on). Every 19 of these states asked said their government should recognize Palestine.
      Even in the US 45% were pro and 36% against. It clearly show that the support US presidents give Israel on the one hand and the view publics hold is totally different and
      therefore you cant therefore not claim “Because the voters support Israel.”.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Rorr

      The American people, unlike Europeans, recognize who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in the middle east. The NJDC wouldn’t do this if their reserach and focus groups told them it would work.
      Adam is right,

      Reply to Comment
    12. Rorr


      Reply to Comment
    13. Peter H

      The vast majority of voters couldn’t locate Israel-Palestine on a map, let alone base their Presidential vote on that issue. I agree that the American public has much stronger pro-Israel attitudes than other Western (& non-Western) countries, but it can’t explain why U.S. politicians are so keen to side with Israel. If public opinion polls were the primary driver of foreign policy, then the US would have withdrawn from Afghanistan years ago.

      This is about going after a small sliver of Jewish voters (& perhaps more importantly, Jewish donors).

      Reply to Comment
    14. Prometheus

      It’s either that Romney guy got no clue or whatever he says or does is of no importance.
      Some of the questions are plain silly, others are blatant lies. Comments by Romney are even worse.
      Qualitative Military Edge collapsed? ROFL.
      Russia is #1 geopolitical foe? ROFLAAA. This guy was hibernated for last 50 years or what?
      Why only the dumbest became the top politicians?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Prometheus

      @Peter H
      “But it can’t explain why U.S. politicians are so keen to side with Israel.”
      That’s simple.
      US can’t allow Israel to side with anyone else. Like China, Russia, India or even EU.
      Reasons to that are rather numerous. Most important are:
      1 – Foothold in the Middle East.
      2 – (Military) Technologies Israel has developed. It’s not that US scientists and technologists are not able to develop anything similar or better, they surely can. US just could not allow it’s geopolitical rivals to have technologies similar to what US has.
      US not once vetoed sales to China and other countries. Each and every military-related deal must be approved by the DoD.
      I know people who are producing lenses for missile heads. It’s joint India-Israel firm, with factory somewhere in India.
      They spent almost two years to get DoD permission.
      Handful of Jewish voters are of really very little importance.
      Jewish donors… yeah.
      Racketeering as in good old 20’s.
      “You give us money or go out of business.”

      Reply to Comment
    16. Prometheus

      “Most american do not care about the conflict in the middle east, why would they? ”
      Dude. You got no slightest clue.
      Most Americans are good Christians. They certainly do care about the Holy Land and the City of Jerusalem.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Roy

      Interesting and a bizarre tactic that will backfire.

      As an aside, today I received an email by an active “anti-Obama” activist. He and his group is disgusted by the display of Romney’s boot licking in Israel this weekend.

      These people are neither anti Israel nor pro Israel. They care about getting on with their lives and their own futures.

      They understand that the endless aid and “support” of Israel has corrupted and damaged Israel (before 1974 there was no such aid and Israel was stronger with less internal corruption). While undermining Israel of a future — in the way an over indulgent can undermine and destroy a child — the US is also harming it’s own citizens with all this supposed defense support.

      In the end, it makes a few rich and steals from a citizenry its future.

      American’s (and more and more Israelis)have figured this out.

      Political operatives live in a bubble and have not.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Lloyd Miller

      Islam is objectively tyrannical, FAR MORE TYRANNICAL than anything anywhere in the Modern West. The American People notice this even if pointy head liberals often DON’T!

      Reply to Comment