Tonight (hopefully), the Presidential election will be over. As we sweep up the fallen banners from the hustings, can we at the very least agree on one thing: That in the future, support for Israel should be a bi-partisan issue.
In my opinion, activists in both parties have done the American Jewish community a disservice by allowing “support for Israel” to become a matter of partisan politics. Yes-both parties are to blame. Republicans have touted their party as the “party that supports Israel” and the Democrats as the “party that throws Israel under the bus”. Democrats have foolishly allowed extremists on the left to engage in anti-semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric that taints the whole party and drives away Jewish voters needlessly.
The truth is, American support for Israel should not be taken for granted by the American Jewish community. Many have nostalgic memories of how “Truman recognized Israel” but support for the Jewish state was not always solid. In the 1950’s many in the State Department felt that American interests would be better served by tilting towards the Arab states. It was only when the Mid-East conflict became a proxy for the Cold-War did Israel become “America’s strongest ally” as so many like to say. (It was the Cold War, not a so-called “Jewish Lobby” that allied the US and Israel so closely).
The Cold War is over and alignments are changing. Unconditional support for Israel is no longer a given. Using support for Israel as a partisan battering ram to bash candidates does not do Israel or the American Jewish community any good. This should be a bipartisan issue.
May we be wiser in the future.