Democrats and Israel

Democrats and Israel

I caution that making predictions is very difficult. In sifting through the debris from the presidential election, I suggest that your columnist, Martin Raffel, and others would be well-advised not to draw conclusions from the recent past. Exit polls such as the one showing 71 percent of American Jews remained Democratic and voted for Hillary Clinton may be no more accurate than they were before the election. More to the point, trying to tweeze support for Israel from the many other concurrent issues, conflicts, and challenges of two unpopular candidates may not reveal very much.         

Instead we should look to the body of the elected Democratic Party to see whether they stand with Israel or if they are part of an historic shift by liberal Democrats hinted in the Pew Research Center poll cited by Raffel, “Jews, Israel, and the Democratic Party” (Jan. 12). It will be a disappointment to most of us that House Resolution 11 (“Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes”) overwhelmingly passed on Jan. 5. Seventy-nine percent of Congress voted for it, but almost 45 percent of Democrats did not support it, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. From New Jersey, the only two votes against it were both Democrats — Donald Payne and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Oh, and what of Keith Ellison — whom Raffel would have us believe has walked away from his association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — his vote against supporting the Iron Dome missile defense system that has saved lives, and whose words have raised what the Anti-Defamation League calls “the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government?” He also voted against this resolution. I suppose as he seeks the chair of the Democratic National Committee, that we can expect other attempts at rewriting the past and delayed apologies, but we should not forget where he and other Democrats were in 2017. 

Jonathan Hirst

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