Via the Blaze, I have nothing to say about the clip. I just really wanted to write that headline.
Okay, I’ll say one thing about the clip. This snippet from an interview with Israeli author Amos Oz (highlighted recently by Jeffrey Goldberg) resonates.
Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusal way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?
Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!
Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?
With these two questions I pass the interview to you.
That’s not an excuse for Israel to do whatever it wants in responding to Hamas — even Oz says in the interview that he thinks the IDF’s gone too far at times — but when the rest of the world greets this conundrum with either indifference or noisome support for Hamas, don’t expect Israeli public opinion to quaver at their disapproval. The ol’ “root causes” argument works both ways. What do critics like Geraldo suppose is the root cause for near-unanimous Israeli support of the mission in Gaza, a mounting death toll and international opprobrium notwithstanding? Is it bloodthirstiness or rather a weary determination to cripple Hamas knowing that Israel will be demonized come what may?
I’ll say a word about this silliness too, since we’re on the subject of Israel.
Republicans believe that the deepening crisis in Gaza could ultimately loosen the grip that the Democratic Party has traditionally held upon American Jewish voters…
[According to former Bush advisor Noam Neusner,] “The bigger issue is with the Democratic Party electorate, namely academic elites, African-Americans and younger voters. As those blocs of voters become more skeptical of Israel’s right to defend itself — and that seems to be happening — that is going to make American Jews who are Democratic Party voters less comfortable in their own party.”…
Highlighting the recent polls, another Bush administration Jewish liaison, Tevi Troy, said, “Democratic voters are much less likely to be supportive of Israel and Republicans voters are overwhelmingly supportive. That means that, if you are a Democratic politician and you are speaking to your base, the audience that you’re speaking to has a less than 50-50 shot of being pro-Israel.”
But Troy also noted that expectations among conservatives that Jewish voters will align themselves with Republicans have been raised — and dashed — before.
Indeed they have. In fact, “Jewish voters defecting to the GOP?” stories are a staple of political writing whenever there’s a flare between Israel and the Palestinians and the lefty base reacts predictably. There’s just no reason to think it’s going to happen anytime soon, though. Like everyone else, Jewish Americans aren’t single-issue voters; Israel matters to them, certainly enough to make Obama leery of taking a position that’s as pro-Palestinian as he’d probably like, but by and large they’re socially and fiscally liberal. Unless Democrats in Congress and the White House turned on Israel completely — which is unlikely, right, Michelle Nunn? — Jewish voters are safely Democratic in the short term. Longer term is trickier for the reason Neusner gives in the clip. It may be true that as demographics change, the Democratic base will become more anti-Israel. According to Pew’s poll last week, young adults, blacks, and Latinos — all core constituencies of the Obama coalition — were far more likely to blame Israel for the current conflict than older voters and white voters were. If that trend persists, inevitably congressional Democrats will start to rethink their support for the Jewish state. And then Jewish voters will have a decision to make.