Israel and the Democratic Party - updated
You will be able to watch something as if in slow motion over the course of the next few years: the collapse of support for Israel by Democratic Party politicians who harbor ambition for national office. It will follow the pattern we saw of collapse of support for the pro-life cause by leading Democrats in the period of 1973-80 (and particularly 1973-76). One by one, major pro-life Democrats, perceiving the writing on the wall, flipped to supporting abortion and, eventually, even its public funding: Teddy Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Richard Gephart, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, and many others. (Something similar happened on marriage, by the way, in the period of 2000-2012, especially 2004-09, culminating in Barack Obama’s “evolution” and Hillary Clinton’s change of heart.)
Similarly, today’s leading Democrats will move from support for Israel, to merely nominal support for Israel, to neutrality, to quiet, somewhat ambiguous opposition, to something effectively indistinguishable from “Zionism is racism.” The left calls the tune, and just as the left settled in on abortion in the early 1970s and marriage redefinition in the 90s, it has now settled in on opposition to Israel–not merely the policies of its government, but its very existence as a Jewish state and homeland of the Jewish people. Do you doubt me? You can do a test of your own. Go to the center of campus at your local university and hoist a placard bearing a large blue star of David and the words “Long Live Israel!” (Notice: Please make sure your health and life insurance coverage are in good order before conducting this experiment.)
Sen. Marco Rubio threw a rock at a political hornet’s nest on Monday when he tweeted, “The shutdown is not the reason Senate Democrats don’t want to move to Middle East Security Bill. A huge argument broke out at Senate Dem meeting last week over BDS. A significant # of Senate Democrats now support #BDS & Dem leaders want to avoid a floor vote that reveals that.”
But what about Michigan's senators, Stabenow and Peters? Whose side are they on?
On Monday and Tuesday, fellow Federalist senior contributor Ellie Bufkin and I contacted the office of every Democratic senator, along with the two Independents who caucus with Democrats. We offered every senator an opportunity to clarify his or her personal position on BDS. Only two offices responded.
Tom Mentzer of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office pointed me to a statement on her website that reiterated her “strong support for Israel” and described Rubio’s bill as unconstitutional.
Sue Walitsky of Sen. Ben Cardin’s office emailed Cardin’s official comment: “We should not stand idle when foreign countries or international governmental organizations use BDS tactics to isolate one of our key allies and bypass direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.” She added, “Senator Cardin has a very clear record opposing the BDS movement. He strongly believes in individual First Amendment rights that permit anyone to support BDS if they want to do so. He simply disagrees.”
Feinstein and Cardin have historically been pro-Israel. But taken together, these comments read less like full-throated support than a delicate dance between voicing support for Israel and not sounding judgmental about those who don’t.
So it seems that Michigan's two senators, both of whom receive overwhelming support from Michigan's Jews, are content with throwing Israel to the wolves. The frustrating thing is the fact that most Jews will probably continue voting for them.
UPDATE: The final paragraph has been revised so that it reads correctly. Thank you, Jim Newman.