When Secretary of State John Kerry made his speech on Middle East peace, he announced more than just the outgoing Administration’s vision of the Middle East. Secretary Kerry announced a major shift in the political makeup of the American Jewish community. The announcement was recognizable by the reaction to the speech by the American Jewish community. From the right, there was uproar. From the left, there was no response. Usually, when a controversial political event occurs, we hear from both sides. This time it was different; there was a deafening silence from my pro-Israel friends on the left.

 

This gave me cause for concern. Either my pro-Israel friends on the left no longer care or they have finally realized what I have been saying all along: The Democratic Party and the American political left is anti-Israel. I do not believe that my pro-Israel Democratic friends don’t care about Israel anymore. If you are brave enough to post or comment regarding politics on social media then clearly you care about the happenings of the world. If you tend to do so regarding Israel then you too have the same passion for your people and religion as I do and you have great care for the future of the Jewish and Democratic State. Usually, there is a raucous debate between the right and the left. Yet, when I did not hear much from my pro-Israel friends after the Kerry remarks, I knew that my pro-Israel friends on the left had come to the realization that the left is anti-Israel. This is new chapter in the dynamic U.S.-Israel relationship.

 

At this point, I think it is wise to take a sober look at where we are on the timeline of U.S.-Israel relations. On May 14, 1948, the United States formally recognized the State of Israel. Relations between the United States and Israel were merely lukewarm at that time, as the United States feared its’ support of Israel would threaten its’ relationships with the Arab Muslim countries. It was not until 1967 that the U.S. began to look at Israel as a vital ally. The Jewish and democratic State had proven its mettle on the battlefield during the 6-Day War, and thus the United States began to view Israel as a strategic ally against the spread of Russian communism. President Nixon then firmly supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack during our holy Day of Atonement. As international terrorism began to develop as a threat, Israel and the United States became even closer allies. Palestinian airline hijackings, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Beirut Marine Barracks bombings, Al Qaeda attacks and the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon woke the United States to the threat of jihadist terrorism, and Israel has been America’s number one ally against it. There have been some bumps in the road, but Israel and the United States have been allies in lock-step for most of Israel’s contemporary history.

 

Then, in 2008, Barrack Obama took the Oath of Office of the President of the United States. President Obama initiated a significant change within the Democratic party, which ultimately changed the relationship between the United States and Israel. When he was a candidate for the Presidency, promises were made to continue to support Israel. The Junior Senator from Illinois spoke of how he was moved by his visit to the Kotel and how his experience at Yad Vashem led him to believe in the importance of the security of the State of Israel. Eight years later, we know that President Obama’s deeds rarely matched his words as a candidate. Obama’s souring of the U.S.-Israel relationship began with his speech in Cairo, in which he invited the leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to sit front row. Those were the same Muslim Brotherhood leaders who founded Hamas, which has terrorized Israel since Hamas’s inception. It continued during the President’s public spat with Prime Minister Netanyahu during Operation Protective Edge over Israel’s use of artillery shells instead of precision guided missiles, and the subsequent ordering of the FAA to halt all flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel’s vital entryway. Needless to mention, the President signed the Iranian Nuclear Deal in 2015 granting international legitimacy to Iran’s Nuclear program and billions in cash for Iran to pursue a modern day Persian Empire stretching to Israel’s border.

 

After defeating Prime Minister Netanyahu in a political battle over the Nuclear deal, President Obama decided to take things one step further. Breaking with long standing United States policy, Obama discretely pushed for the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, declaring all areas won after the Six Day War as occupied territory and in violation of international law. President Obama ushered a UN Security Council resolution declaring the Kotel to be illegally occupied Palestinian territory and in “flagrant violation” of international law. When you thought it could not get any worse, President Obama sends the Secretary of State in front of national television to speak about his vision for Middle East peace. In that speech, John Kerry spoke exclusively about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, implying that Israel is the impediment to peace in the Middle East. Secretary Kerry implied that the war and violence that is gripping the Middle East, including the conflicts in Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, is being caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that settlements and occupation are the reason for it. While such a notion is no doubt absurd and extremely disappointing, we must accept that this is where we are today in U.S.-Israel relations.

 

If you are a Democrat and are pro-Israel, it is understandable why you may not be so vocal after Secretary Kerry’s speech. After 8 years of political attacks against Israel from a Democratic President, your party has continued where the President has left off. The 2016 Democratic Party Platform almost held a platform labeling Israel an occupying power due to the demands from progressive anti-Israel activists. The Democratic Party is looking like it will choose Keith Ellison as the next DNC chair, famously known for his anti-Semitic leanings and close friendship with the racist and anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan. You know you have a problem when Haim Saban, Democratic donor extraordinaire, calls Keith Ellison an anti-Semite. It has been a series of unfortunate events for any pro-Israel Democrat, and they should rightfully feel uneasy. They cannot both defend their party’s policies from attack from the right, and also defend their pro-Israel positions from their own party’s attacks from the left. They are being attacked from both sides.

 

American Jews are at a time of reckoning. The left is fast becoming anti-Israel, and the right has never been more supportive of the Jewish and Democratic State. This moment of political clarity shatters wide-held views of the American political spectrum: that Democrats are the party of the tolerant and inclusive, and that the Republicans are the party of the bigots (a narrative frequently espoused this past election cycle). The political reality of today is proving that view to be backwards. American Jews have long been a bulwark of support for the Democratic party, yet that pillar of support has been slowly eroding. American Jews are now increasingly more willing to consider other options on their ballots. That is why since 2008, the percentage of Jews who identify as Republican went up from 22% to 29%, and those who identify themselves as a Democrat went down from 71% to 61%. That is also why Mitt Romney won 30% of the Jewish vote in 2012, and why Hillary only received 71% of the Jewish vote even though many American Jews were frightened by the idea of a Trump presidency. Even with her record of support for Israel, Hillary Clinton received the lowest percentage of Jewish votes (outside of Obama in 2012 for obvious reasons) since Michael Dukakis received 68% of the Jewish vote in 1988. These patterns, along with the political facts on the ground, show that more Jews than ever are leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republican party because the Democratic party is anti-Israel. Secretary Kerry’s speech publicized this phenomenon, and the pro-Israel left just confirmed it.

            


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