In 2008, Barack Obama ran for President of the United States. He ran as a pro-Israel candidate. Obama stated: “I will always support Israel’s security.” He delighted and charmed the deep pocketed pro-Israel folks at AIPAC. At the 2008 AIPAC conference, Obama told the audience that Israel’s security was “sacrosanct” and “non-negotiable.” Subsequently, Obama would receive tens of millions of dollars from the U.S Jewish community. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. It would not take long to realize that Barack Obama would become the most hostile to Israel President in history. Far more hostile than Jimmy Carter.
Early in Obama’s first term, he delegitimized Israel in a speech in Cairo, Egypt. He would go on to spend his presidency admonishing Israel about settlements in Judea and Samaria, while saying nothing about the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist, or to negotiate a peace agreement. Obama would also rarely (if ever) condemn the barbaric incitement that occurred in “Palestinian” schools and mosques.
During Obama’s second term, he signed the radical Iran nuclear deal and supported a disgraceful anti-Israel resolution at the UN by failing to use the U.S veto power during the lame-duck period of his presidency. However, it has become clear that Obama was thinking long-term. Obama did not just want to delegitimize and endanger Israel during his two terms as President. Obama’s long-term strategy was to destroy Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party, and turn Israel into a partisan issue.
Israel had enjoyed strong support from the Democratic Party for decades. Democratic President Truman became the first world leader to recognize Israel. While Senator of Massachusetts, future President John F. Kennedy said: “Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success.” President Lyndon Johnson also had a sympathetic policy towards Israel.
In the U.S Congress, Democrats such as Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Senator John Glenn were all friendly to Israel. Martin Luther King had a deep affection for Israel as well. He would go on to famously say “the whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” Later Senators Joe Lieberman, Bob Menendez and others would also embrace Israel.
Then along came President Barack Obama. Obama hated Israel and he despised Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu intensely. Obama understood that turning Israel into a partisan issue would severely damage Israel’s ability to generate support in Congress and international forums such as the hostile UN. So how could one turn Israel, which had enjoyed bipartisan support, into a partisan issue?
One of the first things that Obama wanted to do was erode Israel’s support from the U.S Jewish community, a demographic that Israel could (for the most part) always count on. One of the ways he worked to accomplish this was by aligning with the Israel-hating Jewish group J-Street. J-Street vigorously supported Obama’s policies, such as his condemnation of Israeli settlements and his Iranian nuclear deal. J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told the New York Times that “Our No. 1 agenda item is to do whatever we can in Congress to act as the president’s blocking back.”
Today J-Street endorses over 100-plus left-wing Democrats, including Senator Tim Kaine, the failed Vice Presidential candidate, who boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S Congress, and the radical Rep Keith Ellison, who voted against funding for the Iron Dome program which has saved the lives of hundreds of Israelis. J-Street will often take Democrats to Israel and present a dishonest and biased narrative about the Israel-“Palestinian” conflict, in an attempt to diminish support for Israel among Democrats in Congress.
The Obama-aligned J-Street also slanders Israel on college campuses all over the United States. J-Street has co-sponsored events that feature the anti-Semitic “Students for Justice in Palestine.” J-Street also brings anti-Israel speakers to campuses to defame Israel in their attempt to turn a generation of Jewish young people against the only Jewish state on the planet. Sadly, the strategy seems to be working. According to a recent poll conducted by the Brand Israel group, support for Israel among U.S Jewish college students declined by 32 percent from 2010 to 2016. Overall, the eight years of the Obama administration attacking Israel took a toll on the U.S Jewish community’s support for Israel, which is a demographic that overwhelmingly supports the Democratic Party. Marc Zell, who is head of Republicans in Israel, stated that “under the Obama Administration, the Democratic Party moved sharply to the left. As an example they nearly nominated Socialist Bernie Sanders as their Presidential candidate. The radical left agenda includes hatred of Israel and identification of Palestinian claims.”
President Obama was also a major advocate for Muslim immigration, which has been a disaster for European Jews. During his administration, Obama prioritized Muslim migrants over Christian migrants, allowing thousands of Muslim migrants to take refuge in the United States. Between 2007 and 2014, the Muslim population in the U.S doubled in size. In 2016, the final year of the Obama administration, the United States allowed 38,901 Muslim immigrants into the United States. Muslim immigration has created a significant voting bloc for the Democratic Party, especially in Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. By 2016, more than one million Muslims were registered to vote. 37 percent of this voting bloc is under 30.
The increased Muslim voting bloc (embraced by Obama) in the United States has had an adverse effect on Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party. Left-wing organizations such as CAIR, American Muslims for Palestine, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and many others have made many Democrats question their support for Israel, out of fear of alienating the increased number of Muslim voters. Bigots such as Linda Sarsour have become mainstream in the Democratic Party. Organizations such as the BDS Movement have successfully engaged the Obama-endorsed Black Lives Matter group. In 2016, there were Palestinian flags waved at the Democratic National Convention. There were also anti-Israel protests outside the convention.
As Obama intended, the various Muslim groups (and their supporters) have been able to successfully lobby Democrats such as Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand to have more of an anti-Israel position. The examples are numerous. In 2016, 83 U.S senators signed a letter to President Obama, demanding an increase in military aid to Israel. Of the 17 senators who did not sign the letter, 14 were Democrats, including Bernie Sanders. In July 2016, Rep. Hank Johnson of the House Armed Services Committee referred to Jewish settlers as “termites.” In December 2016, President Obama allowed an anti-Israel UN resolution to pass. This decision would subsequently be supported by a number of Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Senator Dick Durbin would later block the Senate’s attempt to condemn the UN resolution. In September 2017, four Senate Democrats, Cory Booker, Tom Udall, Chris Murphy, and Jeff Merkley, voted against the Taylor Force Act, which would have cut funding to the “Palestinian” Authority for providing financial support to the families of terrorists. In November 2017, 10 Senate Democrats wrote to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to not demolish structures in a “Palestinian” village.
Barack Obama’s intention of eroding and even destroying Israel’s support in the Democratic Party is thus far working. According to a Pew poll conducted in January 2018, only 27% of the Democrats polled stated that they sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians, compared to 44% in 1978 and 38% in 2001. By contrast, among Republicans, Israel has a 79% approval rating. Only 18% of Democrat respondents had favorable views towards Netanyahu. 46% of Democrats polled said that President Trump is too favorable to Israel. The poll also showed that younger Americans were less likely than older Americans to support Israel.
Despite Israel supporting gender equality, gay rights, universal health care, and having an incredibly responsible record on the environment and many other “progressive” values, the numbers outlined in the Pew poll will likely continue to decline. Barack Obama turned the Democratic Party into a far-Left party. The damage that the Obama administration did to Israel’s relationship with the Democratic Party may be irreparable. Perhaps Israel will need to prepare for a time when the support that it receives from the Democratic Party is negligible.
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