U.S. Liberal Jews Continue to Support Obama, Abandon Israel

No matter how often Obama excuses Islamists, insults Israel, or spits in the face of Jewish history, progressive Jews continue to support him with Pavlovian devotion.

Matthew M. Hausman, J.D.,

OpEds Matthew Hausman
Matthew Hausman
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Barack Obama pledged on the campaign trail in 2008 “to fundamentally transform” the United States, and perhaps consistent with that promise his presidency has been marked by a transformative indifference to legal process and constitutional procedure.  He most recently showed his disregard for the system of checks and balances by cajoling Congress to endorse his Iran deal despite the American public’s overwhelming disapproval.  He did so by misrepresenting the goal of preventing a nuclear Iran, failing to disclose side deals that make substantive enforcement unlikely and effective monitoring impossible, and mustering his partisan lackeys in the Senate to block a Republican resolution disapproving the deal – even as many of them acknowledged that Iran would certainly violate it.

Though establishment Jewish organizations condemned it, the sad reality is that many American Jews – including the majority of Congressional Jewish Democrats – supported the deal, just as they have supported the most anti-Israel president ever to occupy the White House.  The truth is that unified Jewish opposition by itself could not have defeated the deal; Jews have neither the numbers nor power to sway Congress, despite what conspiracy theorists might say about pervasive Jewish influence.  However, the goal of opposing the deal was not simply to defeat it, but to avoid giving the Jewish stamp of approval to a foreign policy that contravenes US interests and poses a genocidal threat to Israel and her people. 

Unfortunately, attempts to withhold Jewish imprimatur were dashed by liberals whose support was used to bless the deal and validate the administration’s ridiculous claims that it will somehow bolster Israeli security and regional stability.  Jewish proponents seemed unmoved by Iran’s continuing anti-American rhetoric and threats to annihilate Israel; and some of them even mocked Israel’s existential concerns as overreactions.

No matter how often Obama excuses Islamists, insults Israel, or spits in the face of Jewish history, progressive Jews continue to support him with Pavlovian devotion.  And in justifying his corrosive Mideast policies, they demean Jewish historical rights and national aspirations – often repeating anti-Semitic slanders that have been embraced by the political left. 

When Obama’s minions besmirched the patriotism of the deal’s critics, insinuated that Netanyahu was orchestrating domestic opposition to it, and identified its opponents with those who “rushed to war with Iraq,” they cagily invoked traditional canards of undue Jewish influence and warmongering.  Many Jewish progressives sold their souls by rationalizing or agreeing with such comments, or simply failing to chastise the evocation of classical stereotypes while the president claimed with faux innocence to be hurt by accusations of anti-Semitism.

Progressives will never admit that their actions provide cover for anti-Semites who deny Israel’s right to exist and excuse Islamic terrorism.  They delude themselves into believing that the BDS movement is engaging in legitimate political speech, that Palestinian revisionism supersedes objective Jewish history, and that progressive anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitic.  And they remain devoted to a president whose policies have enabled Islamists, undercut Israel, and compromised American strategic interests.

The willingness of Jewish progressives to whitewash left-wing anti-Semitism reflects their estrangement from traditional values, ignorance of history, and failure of moral resolve.  It also connotes their attachment to a political ideology that excuses Jew-hatred and radical Islam with trite homilies about the evils of colonialism.  They falsely regard Israel as a colonial creation and western imperialism as the cause of Islamic radicalism, but ignore the long history of Islamic holy war, conquest and subjugation.  Likewise, they overlook the fact that civilizational friction between the Muslim and western worlds started not with the Crusades, but with the spread of jihad across Europe hundreds of years earlier.   

Many progressives believe that anti-Semitism is simply a response to bad Jewish behavior.  In their view, the nadir of such behavior was the establishment of Israel at the putative expense of the Palestinians – a people whose apocryphal national identity was created for the purpose of repudiating Jewish history and the legal underpinnings of the modern Jewish State. 

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz claimed to be following her “Jewish heart” in supporting Obama’s Iran deal, under which the Iranians will achieve nuclear breakout by the end of the agreement if they comply and much sooner if they don’t.  Given that credible intelligence sources indicate the Iranians have numerous covert facilities and will continue to enrich uranium under cover of the agreement, nuclear breakout will likely occur sooner rather than later.  This should be troubling to all members of Congress, particularly in light of Iran’s continuing anti-American incitement and threats to destroy Israel.  It is difficult to see how the “Jewish heart” can be called upon to sanctify an unenforceable agreement with a bad actor who promises a new Holocaust.

The progressive identification with policies that threaten Jewish survival, however, may well run deeper than simple partisan politics.


The litmus test for whether criticism of Israel crosses the line is whether it ignores history, distorts facts, or adopts the tropes of anti-Semitic rhetoric and propaganda.
The compulsion to rationalize the president’s treatment of Israel and progressive anti-Semitism may be rooted in a ghetto mentality or the same pathological impulse that triggers Jewish self-loathing.  Certainly, not all progressives are self-haters; many are just ignorant of tradition and history and, accordingly, have no frame of reference for evaluating their questionable political loyalties and jaundiced views on Israel.  Some hold as an article of faith that liberalism is synonymous with Jewish values and that criticism of Israel is in the spirit of Jewish self-reflection, even when that criticism portrays Israel as a colonial occupier or apartheid state. 

However, Israel is neither of those things under any objective analysis, and to claim otherwise bespeaks either ignorance or malice.  The litmus test for whether criticism of Israel crosses the line is whether it ignores history, distorts facts, or adopts the tropes of anti-Semitic rhetoric and propaganda.

Lack of knowledge does not necessarily imply bad faith, but willful ignorance and knowing distortions do.  Those who advocate the revisionist Palestinian narrative, rationalize Islamism as a response to western provocation, or deny the Holocaust are not simply naïve or misguided.  Neither are those who mangle history, condone political anti-Semitism, or condemn Israel’s identity as a Jewish State without criticizing the religious or ethnic character of the twenty-two Arab-Muslim states in the Mideast.

The persistence in applying one standard to Israel, which respects individual rights and the rule of law, and another standard (or none at all) to Arab and Muslim nations that suppress minorities, women, and political dissent, is malicious and dishonest.

The belief that unbalanced criticism of Israel reflects Jewish values is fostered by a mainstream press that actively promotes the Palestinian cause and delegitimizes the Jewish State.  In this biased media environment, stories that cast Israel in a negative light are deemed newsworthy no matter how dubious their sources.  Similarly, Jews who reject Israel, support BDS, and eschew traditional values are presented as authoritative and often used to counterbalance charges of progressive anti-Semitism. 

Evidence of Jew-hatred on the left abounds, and yet progressives deny its existence or rationalize it as a response to Jewish transgressions.  They often disparage Israel in the vilest of terms and support Islamists who preach genocide, but deflect accusations of prejudice by pointing to Jews who do the same.  They ask how they can be considered anti-Semitic when there are Jews who also condemn Israel, repudiate Jewish history and snub tradition; and this rhetorical deceit is abetted by those liberals who fail to expose its calculated dishonesty. 

The real question, however, is not whether animosity towards Israel and the Jews is absolved of its hateful impetus by the complicity of certain segments of Jewish society, but whether Jews who engage in such odious conduct are themselves anti-Semitic.  There can be little doubt that self-hatred is a potent form of anti-Semitism, which for generations has motivated turncoats and apostates to emulate their aggressors, torment their own people, and degrade their own communities. 

Not all Jewish liberals who support the president are self-haters, but they’ve become so detached from normative values and priorities that they are unable to recognize when political ideology threatens Jewish continuity and survival.  Moreover, their affinity for Mr. Obama as the apotheosis of the progressive agenda blinds them to the harsh realities his administration has created.  One need only consider how American retreat and weakness have empowered Russia, China and ISIS – and how Iran has been emboldened by the nuclear deal – to see that Obama’s policies have set the stage for geopolitical disaster on a global scale. 

Russia is increasing its footprint in Europe and the Mideast, propping up the Assad regime, and attacking US-backed rebels in Syria, while Iran is testing long-range missiles, funneling arms to Hamas, sending troops into Lebanon to strengthen Hezbollah, and increasing its involvement in terrorism.  Meanwhile, Obama’s military and humanitarian failures have caused a tidal wave of Syrian refugees to swarm Europe with disastrous political, social and economic consequences.   

Those who believe that “Jewish heart” mandates support for policies that threaten the US and Israel – or for a president who finds moral equivalence between knife-wielding terrorists and their Jewish victims – need to question their own purity of heart, clarity of vision, and soundness of priorities. 

There is no legitimate Jewish interest in supporting an administration that undermines Israel, appeases Islamists, and facilitates the nuclearization of Iran.  Political chaos and dysfunction may coincide with the president’s agenda, but they are antithetical to real Jewish values.  




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