As a political junkie, one the most baffling aspects of national elections is the Jewish vote. American Jews vote overwhelmingly for Democrat candidates in national elections. 2008 was no exception, as reported in an editorial at HAARETZ.com immediately following the election:
Despite the tense rift between Republican and Democratic Jews over the course of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, exit polls on Tuesday showed that Barack Obama received about 77 percent of the Jewish vote.
These numbers were higher even than the 2004 election, when Democratic candidate John Kerry received 74 percent of the Jewish vote. Al Gore received the highest percentage of Jewish votes in 2000, with 79 percent.
My puzzlement over these voting patterns is based on the fact that the Republican Party has been far more supportive of Israel than has the Democrat Party. This trend of decreasing support for Israel by Democrats and increasing support for Israel by Republicans was confirmed by a Rasmussen Poll in January, 2009.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans back Israel’s decision to take military action against the Palestinians, but only half as many Democrats (31%) agree. A majority of Democrats (55%) say Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first, a view shared by just 27% of Republicans.
While 75% of Republicans say Israel is an ally of the United States, just 55% of Democrats agree. Seven percent (7%) of Democrats say Israel is an enemy of America, but only one percent (1%) of Republicans say the same. For 21% of Republicans, Israel is somewhere in between, and 28% of Democrats agree.
Probably the most anti-Israel president the US has ever had is Jimmy Carter. Three decades after he left the presidency, Carter continues to blame Israel for the conflict in the Middle East. Some say Carter’s continuing animosity toward Israel is based on his hatred for Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister, who Carter blames for the failure of his Mideast peace plan and, ultimately, for his loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. This implies, of course, that Carter didn’t blame the breakdown of the peace process on Yassir Arafat, perhaps the most effective terrorist leader of all time. It also implies that American voters would have ignored the utter mess Carter had made of the economy and everything else during his presidency. But I digress.
Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was fully on board with Carter’s anti-Israel policies. Brzezinski is now working on Obama’s foreign policy team and, it appears, is giving advice similar to that which he gave Carter. In today’s Weekly Standard blog, Michael Goldfarb has a post which I find quite startling:
In a little noticed interview with the Daily Beast (presumably little noticed because serious people don’t read the Daily Beast), Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Barack Obama do more than just refuse to support an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites — the American president must give the order to shoot down Israeli aircraft as they cross Iraqi airspace:
DB: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
Brzezinski: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?
DB: What if they fly over anyway?
Brzezinski: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.
So basically Brzezinski is raising the possibility that US warplanes will shoot down the planes of one of our best allies in order to defend one of our worst enemies, Iran. In other words, America will defend Iran against Israel. Think about that.
Let’s contrast the Obama Administration’s views on Israel and Iran with Governor Palin’s stated position. In September 2008, she was set to deliver a speech on this very topic when, at the last minute, she was abruptly disinvited for fear she would upstage other speakers. However, the McCain campaign eventually released the text of this great undelivered speech. Here’s an excerpt:
But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. It sponsors the world’s most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran’s desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.
Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran’s official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government’s threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.
Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel’s enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain’s promise and it is my promise.
Read her entire speech here. I continue to be amazed at the complete ineptness of McCain’s campaign. It is inconceivable that they could not find another venue in which she could deliver that speech. I also continue to be amazed at the inexplicable support the Jewish American community gives to the Democrat Party. An administration they supported with 77% of their vote believes it is a reasonable policy option to defend Iran against Israel.
This has been quite an instructive week for those trying to get a handle on Obama’s foreign policy philosophy, such as it is. This past Thursday Obama decided to appease Putin and abandon two of our most loyal allies. Now this. I’m afraid to speculate on what may be next. An invasion of Canada perhaps?
If Governor Palin were in charge, there can be no doubt that Israel, one of our most loyal and trusted allies, would not be second guessed in their right to defend themselves. Earlier in this post I noted that Jimmy Carter was the most anti-Israel U.S. president. I may have spoken too soon.