Thursday, October 21, 2004

Democrats and the [Vanishing] Jewish Vote

Over at Shermblog, Jeff linked to a great National Review piece: "The Principled President: Bush has taken the heat in the way that American Jews can appreciate."

Anne Bayefsky presents a background of President Bush's position on the Israel-Palestine situation throughout his first term, starting with this:
President George W. Bush's foreign-policy record is plain. He was the first American president to sideline Yasser Arafat and to state unequivocally that support for terrorism could no longer coexist with the status of peace partner and entitlement to American largess. In a speech on June 24, 2002, the president said: "Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror."

President Bush made it clear that the Israeli fight against terrorism is not a localized dilemma but rather part of the same war being waged by Americans against global terrorism.

First, this is correct - the War on Terror is a Global War and President Bush understands that. As John Kerry continues to focus his talk about the War on Terror on Osama bin Ladin he continues to marginalize the Jews years of suffering under Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. These groups may have different names and different origins, but their goals are similar. We cannot wage a Global War on Terror and continue to conduct peace talks with Yasser Arafat, while Arafat refuses to condemn terror attacks in Israel by Palestinian bombers. I understand that condemning those attacks would be certain political suicide for Arafat, and might also genuinely endanger his life. He protects himself in this way, and that's fine, but the Palestinians need to understand that and realize that if they truly want a Palestinian state they need a leader who takes peace and coexistence seriously.

But as far as this election is concerned, these final paragraphs makes the situation the most clear:
In a world in which the future of freedom-loving little guys everywhere depends on whether America understands the fight against terrorism to be a global war, violent Islamic fundamentalism and a nuclear Iran to be global threats, and winning European and U.N. friends by serving up Israel to be pouring fuel on the fire, one presidential candidate has a courageous and principled record. The other scores debating points.

So the question for American Jews deciding whether to vote for a Republican president, in Hillel's words, is, "If not now when?" If the answer for most American Jews is never, then make no mistake about it: No Democratic president will ever feel that protecting the state of Israel is necessary to win Jewish votes - and no future Republican president will ever take the heat as President Bush has done.