Thursday, July 31, 2014

No home for Israel in the Democratic Party

Gidon Ben-Zvi

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.

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