US Jewry at the crossroads: LIberalism or the Jewish State
The American Jewish community has reached a great divide, one that will likely lead to a permanent schism within a community which for over a century has been steadfastly cohesive.
On one side are the pro-Trump, pro-Republican, pro-Israel Jews. And on the other are the liberal Jews still loyal to the increasingly anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Democrat Party.
The 2016 Election was the watershed year for American Jewry, whether they realize it or not. The gauntlet was thrown in. The choice was clear. Trump or Clinton. Israel or liberalism.
If Trump won Israel would win since he would scrap the Iran nuclear deal that the Democrats wrought. If Clinton won Israel would lose since she'd continue the Iran nuclear deal that would threaten the very survival of the Jewish State.
And yet to the astonishment of the rest of the country between the coasts, the majority of American Jews chose Hillary. Once again, too many Jews demonstrated that they could not shake their blind loyalty to a Democrat Presidential candidate even when it became evident that by supporting Hillary Clinton and the Democrats they were putting the Jewish State in mortal peril.
Obama created so much turmoil, wreaked so much havoc in the US-Israel alliance, it's a wonder that the two nations didn't recall their ambassadors.
The Democratic Party, since the time of FDR and through the pro-Israel liberal Kennedy-Johnson Era, had long since succeeded in cornering the loyalty of the vast majority of American Jewry to the point where it was almost the next rite of passage following one's Bar Mitzvah to register as a Democrat.
As long as the Democrats maintained a monolithic pro-Israel stance, and such liberal stalwarts as Ted Kennedy, Scoop Jackson, and Walter Mondale were hawkish on Israel, all was well. Or so it appeared.
Even a Bill Clinton who initiated the ridiculous idea of reviving a defeated PLO, escorting them to Israel, then arming them with enough weapons to start a small war ( which is what they ended up doing ), couldn't dissuade the Jewish Democrat loyalists that their sacred Party was starting to work against the interests of the Jewish State.
George W. Bush inherited the mess that Clinton wrought, and stabilized the American-Israel relationship in a manner that hadn't been seen since the Reagan Era.
Then came Barack Hussein Obama. The most anti-Israel President. Ever.
Obama created so much turmoil, wreaked so much havoc in the US-Israel alliance, it's a wonder that the two nations didn't recall their ambassadors. So great was the damage that Obama caused Israel, or tried to cause, that by the end of his presidency he even surprised his most adamant critics ( this columnist included ), those who had warned of his anti-Israel tendencies when he was first elected. Yet no conservative's worst case scenario ever envisioned Obama siding with Iran over Israel. But it happened.
And the majority of American Jews continued to support him. Twice.
In a mere eight years Barack Obama brought the Democrat Party into the anti-Israel orb, from which it has not emerged.
The 2016 Democrat Convention saw the ascendancy of anti-Israel Democrats running the convention floor while their compatriots burned Israeli flags outside its doors.
The Left took over the Democrat Party. The anti-Israel Left, led by Black Lives Matter, the March for Women, and recently, Antifa.
Hillary Clinton played to her Leftist chorus in a manner that would have been unthinkable to Walter Mondale or Al Gore a few decades earlier. But this, after all, was the Party that Obama had fundamentally transformed, and she was determined to ride it into the White House.
Enter Donald John Trump.
The brash nationalist burst on the political scene with an unabashed pro-Israel stance so manifest it wasn't even open for debate. His Republican Party became totaly pro-Israel, surpassing the old-style Democrats as the most pro-Israel Party, but it soon became the only pro-Israel Party.
At a time when Obama and Hillary sold Israel out, and effectively gave Iran the go-ahead to build nuclear weapons, there stood Donald Trump, the anti-liberal, poised to undo Obama's socialism, build a border wall, take the battle to the Islamic extremists, stifle immigration from threatening countries, and stand up to Iran until it no longer posed a threat to the United States and Israel.
A Trump victory meant a pro-Israel Administration, or rather, a complete reversal of the anti-Israel Obama. But it would also mean a repudiation of liberal government.
And there lies the conundrum for liberal Jews.
A conservative President who would ensure the survival of the Jewish State by confronting its enemies directly - and at a critical time in Israel's history - while backed by a Republican Party equally dedicated to Israel's protection.and
A Democratic Party, preaching and practicing Obama liberalism; run by an anti-Israel cadre bent on appeasing Islamic extremists and cozying up to Iran.
On paper it really shouldn't be a difficult choice for American Jews. But oddly enough, it is.
The uncomfortable reality for liberal Jews is that the same Democratic Party which they've spent most of their lives endeared to has become the anti-Israel Party. This isn't a matter of speculation, but a statement of fact.
The Democratic Party Platform is biased against Israel, and those rare Democrats' like Chuck Schumer and Steve Grossman are pro-Israel relics of the past. Even liberal Alan Dershowitz had to admit this new reality.
Liberal Jews have a hard time facing the unpleasant fact that this new Democratic Party is not the pro-Israel Democratic Party of their parents. And yet even now liberal rabbis will whine against the President Trump. The Anti-Defamation League will rally their liberal base against him. The AJC and other alphabet Jewish organizations will cling to their archaic liberalism as if it matters more than Israel.
They're all trapped in a liberal time warp, hoping that the Democrats will reemerge as pro-Israel Kennedyesque clones. But that Democratic Party is gone. And it's not coming back.
The Republican Party is the pro-Israel Party. President Trump is the pro-Israel President.
And at this point liberal American Jews need to answer one simple question- what matters to them most, their Jewish liberalism or the Jewish State?
Tom Mountain was the 2016 MA/NH Trump Campaign Director for Jewish Outreach