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Democrats Risk a Jewish Backlash with Netanyahu Boycott

Vice President Biden and what is now more than a dozen Congressional Democrats are playing with political fire by refusing to attend the scheduled March 3 address by Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.

Their absence will give Republicans a chance to showcase that which has become undeniably true but which may still be poorly understood by many American Jews: The best friends Israel has in America today are Republicans, not Democrats.

The traditional Jewish backing of Democrats is already eroding. Gallup polling shows a steady decline in Jewish support for Democrats and a corresponding increase in their support for Republicans. In just six years, identification with Democrats among Jews has dropped ten points, to 61 percent.


But the suspicions of some Jews about Republicans, and their susceptibility to caricatures about conservatives being, well, maniacs – and latently anti-semitic – run deep. I can’t prove it, but as an American conservative Jew, I can tell you this is my experience with my co-religionists.

What Jews will see March 3 is a Republican Party united in support of Israel’s leader, and Democrats, including the vice president of the United States, willing to insult him.

What these Democrats – caught up in their own foot stomping over House Speaker Boehner’s maneuver around the White House to bring Netanyahu to Congress – don’t fully understand is the deep emotional tie many Jews, particularly those middle aged and above, have to Israel.

There is a lingering sense of insecurity among Jews stemming from the Holocaust. Older Jews either experienced the Holocaust or know about close relatives who died in it. Those in middle age have heard these stories from family. And the young have at least read about it.

Many Jews, even in the greatest haven they have ever had, the United States of America, feel they can never know for sure that they are safe. The Jews of France and the rest of Europe are finding that out right now, and immigration to Israel from Europe is starting to boom.

This is sense of peril is exactly what Netanyahu will be addressing when he speaks to Congress. He won’t be there to discuss the items on the Seder plate. He will be warning of an existential threat posed by Iranian nuclear weapons to Israel, the country that is the ultimate guarantee for Jews.

It’s not clear at all that this will help Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections. It seems pretty evident that he thinks he must speak about the danger, regardless of politics.

As Netanyahu speaks, American Jews will have to ask themselves if they really trust whatever deal President Obama is trying to work out with the Iranians, given Obama’s passivity toward threats and the lack of credibility his promises in other areas have had. And they will have to ask themselves whether they are okay with Democrats seeming so reluctant to hear Netanyahu out.

I don’t begrudge Democrats objecting to Netanyahu’s appearance. They have a right to their opinion. But to turn their back on an ally whose country is threatened with obliteration is not, shall we say, kosher.

And it may well not be kosher with Jewish voters, who may come to understand what I have experienced constantly: The sincere, abiding and even emotional commitment to Israel on the part of conservatives.

10 thoughts on “Democrats Risk a Jewish Backlash with Netanyahu Boycott”

  1. At what point does the Jewish voter realize that the Dems support anti-semitic attitudes and use their wealthy for financial support only.
    The Dem refusal to welcome the upcoming visit by the Israeli premier is just another example of the Dems distain for anything Jewish, and the state of Israel.

    At the real risk of being non-PC, the Jewish community is still trusting that others will be as humane, as non-judgemental, or as generous as they are. The meaning of the motto/slogan “Never Again” seems to have dimmed in time.

    1. Sadly, all the Dem targeted groups are for their votes and money, blacks, hispanics, etc are all political pawns. I see no improvements in their quality of life over these past 6 years.

      Bibi has a lot of supporters beyond the Jewish demo in our country, and we’re paying attention to the crappy treatment he’s getting from the Choom Gang.

  2. Its time for a new party. Anti Immigration, pro US citizen, conservative Party.
    We are being over run. Can not the Jews see this? Its only time before the terrorists start targeting them here! Welcome to the future!

  3. I hate saying this. Blue state Jews individually believe they know more and they understand more than other people. They will vote for Obama and Hillary. They will only read the anti Israel NY Times. They will be bleeding hearts. They will continue to think Bibi is bad.

    Whether it’s the guy in the synagogue or Steven Spielberg they won’t turn from their high horse views.

  4. totally right, Keith. expect a backlash not only from Jews, but from evangelical Christians and in fact most other Americans, who as a whole are strongly pro-Israel.

    as a Republican, I’m licking my chops thinking about the great TV spots the GOP can make: the embattled and charismatic Israeli PM, the enthralled Republican congressmen, and the empty seats where Democrats should have been. oh yeah: stay away from that speech, Dems!

  5. Because the American Jews in the Democratic party have turned against Israel. That is because they don’t believe in religion anymore, they believe in the democrat/communist party. That is their new religion. How can they believe in God anymore when they believe in the killing of millions of babies and fight for it every day? So they now worship their political party, not God anymore. They should be ashamed of themselves. The United States of America is the only country that truly likes the Jews, unlike other countries, how dumb is that? They were welcomed here when almost every other country threw them out and/or exterminated them and now they turn their back on their faith, their babies, and the only country that they can feel safe in. And they also worship a President who is the worst one we have ever had? How dumb is that too?

  6. Yes, by all means, Democrats — take your marbles and go home when BiBi comes to town. Defend this empty suit in the White House, and let us all see how you put party and politics above everything. It used to be that both parties believed politics stopped at the water’s edge. All those empty seats on your side of the House will make great campaign spots for the GOP in ’16.

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