What’s coming (and why the US is making it worse)
This is the best short summary of what Israel and the US are facing. Everyone should read this:
My local newspaper published an AP article last week in which they mentioned the “millions of Palestinians that fled” Israel’s War of Independence. They didn’t see fit to publish my letter in which I pointed out that the actual number was more like 600,000. But many people, even Zionists, don’t know the true circumstances of said flight. Were they ethnically cleansed at gunpoint the way the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem were?
Not exactly. Efraim Karsh writes (in Ha’aretz of all places!):
In the largest and best-known example of Arab-instigated exodus, tens of thousands of Arabs were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa (on April 21-22 ) on the instructions of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective “government” of the Palestinian Arabs [controlled by the Nazi Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini — ed.]. Only days earlier, Tiberias’ 6,000-strong Arab community had been similarly forced out by its own leaders, against local Jewish wishes (a fortnight after the exodus, Sir Alan Cunningham, the last British high commissioner of Palestine, reported that the Tiberias Jews “would welcome [the] Arabs back”). In Jaffa, Palestine’s largest Arab city, the municipality organized the transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea; in Jerusalem, the AHC ordered the transfer of women and children, and local gang leaders pushed out residents of several neighborhoods, while in Beisan [Beit Shean] the women and children were ordered out as Transjordan’s Arab Legion dug in.
Were there cases in which Jewish troops forced Arab residents from their homes? Yes, particularly the fortified villages along the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem road, which prevented the passage of food and supplies to Jerusalem. Was it the exception rather than the rule? Almost certainly.
Jews deserting Obama?
Are Jews likely to vote Republican next November as a result of his Israel policy? More importantly, will Jewish money stop flowing into the Democratic Party? Ron Kampeas writes in JTA:
Where the Jews stand on Obama matters not just because of the Jewish vote, which is significant in key swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, but also because of Jewish money. The 2012 presidential election will be the first since a Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited corporate giving to candidates. The Obama campaign has said it will need more money than ever because big business tends to lean Republican.
Obama captured 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, and estimates over the years have reckoned that Jewish donors provide between one-third and two-thirds of the party’s money.
“Every two or four years Republicans say, ‘This is the year Jewish voters, or donors, or activists, are going to trend Republican,’ ” said Steve Rabinowitz, a strategist who advises Democrats and Jewish groups. “Every November it turns out not to be true.”
There are some Jews who simply cannot overcome their distaste for Republican domestic policy. Obama would have to grow a Hitler mustache and wear a kefiya to work in order for these people to vote against him. And of course there is the hard core of left-wing Jews who represent the Jewish opposition to Israel — they like it when Obama pressures Israel.
But what about the majority of American Jews who are pro-Israel, as the recent Luntz poll showed? I don’t think the Democratic spin that the position implied by his May 19th speech is no different from that of previous administrations is convincing at all (and I’m a Democrat). I think that many Jewish Democrats are very uneasy about the president and his advisers on this issue.
It might not be enough to make them vote Republican. But it might keep them — and their money — at home.