Thursday, July 31, 2014
No home for Israel in the Democratic Party
It's official: The Democratic Party has abandoned Israel to its fate. This development has nothing to do with that most ancient of hatreds, anti-Semitism. Rather, in an age when a compelling narrative increasingly trumps a cold, hard history lesson, Israel's version of the events leading up to Operation Protective Edge, while factually sound, is a snoozer.
The results of a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed the largest partisan gap in 40 years on the issue of supporting Israel.
Conducted July 8-14, the week Israel began its air operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip but before its ground invasion, the poll asked 1,805 respondents: "In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side to you sympathize with more -- Israel or the Palestinians?"
The poll found that respondents considering themselves conservative Republicans supported Israel by 77 percent, compared to 68 percent of moderate Republicans. Among Democrats, 48 percent of moderate Democrats supported Israel, compared to 39 percent of liberal Democrats.
In other words, 61 percent of liberal Democrats either sympathize with Hamas, a group of war criminals designated as a terrorist organization by, among many other countries, the United States, or are utterly apathetic to the plight of a small, faraway democracy whose millions of citizens are being forced to flee for their lives under daily, sometimes hourly, rocket fire.
While the Israeli government and its supporters have done a valiant job of delivering just the facts to a ravenous international media, the fix is in. After all, you would have to be made of stone to not be moved to tears by the sight of defenseless Palestinians being mowed down by the Israeli war machine.
Israel vs. Hamas. Goliath vs. David. Got it.
Now, at the risk of throwing cold water on the misguided passions of Hamas supporters and the otherwise uninformed, let us compare founding documents.
The Hamas Charter states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
Doesn't leave much room for a Turkish and Qatari-backed cease-fire, does it?
Now, let us get a glimpse into the heart of darkness that is, to the mind of many liberal Democrats, the Israel Defense Forces.
"The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position."
Sounds positively progressive.
The Israel Defense Forces is sending soldiers into the hornets' nest of Palestinian terror -- booby-trapped with mines and riddled with subterranean tunnels -- when it could simply be carpet-bombing these areas.
Let's not forget that during World War II, the British army responded to Nazi attacks by leveling entire German cities from the air, with tens of thousands of innocent civilians being killed as a result.
I don't recall a war crimes tribunal being convened against the winners of World War II.
Yet, the IDF's unimaginable restraint has left good American liberals in a tizzy of moral outrage.
What is it about men in uniform that never fails to make good-hearted (is there any other kind) progressives see red?
This phenomenon may be connected to how the liberal Democrat processes information. Slaves to gut emotion, and averse to rigorous academic research, liberals do not bother to figure out who is right or wrong in any conflict.
Instead, they instinctively root for the scruffy-looking student, professor or terrorist, and against the uniformed military.
Hamas is responsible for the murder of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks since 1996. Its founding charter calls not only for the destruction of the State of Israel, but the murder of all Jews.
Each missile that Hamas is now launching against Israel constitutes a crime against humanity because it is directed at civilian targets.
Forced to respond to such attacks, Israel is doing so, but only after warning Gazans to evacuate their homes before bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, international law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing.
Back to American partisan politics. In 2014, you will find Israel's staunchest and most consistent defenders in the Republican Party. Meanwhile, the ranks of Democrats include a good number of the State of Israel's harshest, most vocal critics.
As such, Israel has no home in today's Democratic Party.
Gidon Ben-Zvi is the Jerusalem correspondent for the Algemeiner newspaper and blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind.