When Israel’s critics lose, it’s “the fault of the Jews”


The dome of the US Capitol is seen in Washington, United States, on December 17, 2020. Photo: REUTERS / Erin Scott

JNS.org –One of the oldest in the national Arab lobby is James Zogby, who has been making propaganda against Israel and the pro-Israel lobby for decades. Zogby has managed to win the favor of Democratic Party leaders, but remains frustrated with his inability to abandon Israel and support the terrorists and human rights violators who lead the Palestinian national movement. And, like all anti-Semites, he accuses the Jews.

Zogby created the Arab American Institute, which he hoped was the Arab lobby’s response to AIPAC, but failed to breach America’s bipartisan support for Israel. Zogby was nominated by Vice President Al Gore and President Barack Obama, and served as deputy campaign manager for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns. He has tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to insert criticism of Israel into the Democratic Party’s programs. An ally of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Zogby and other Israel critics tried again in 2020, but Joe Biden rejected the effort to refer to Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank or to condition aid to the country.

In August, Zogby complained about what he claimed was the influence of ‘black money’ – particularly Jewish money – in the failure of Ohio State Senator Nina Turner to win a vacant seat in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Turner is a progressive who co-chaired Sanders’ campaign and shares many of The Squad’s views, including their critiques of Israel.

Zogby is upset that pro-Israel Americans have used their democratic right to pay money to his opponent, Shontel Brown, who opposes BDS and cutting aid to Israel. During the May fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Brown condemned the terrorist organization and spoke at a pro-Israel rally, while Turner was retweet messages from IfNotNow calling on the State Department to “say #SaveSheikhJarrah and #EndApartheid”.

It was reminiscent of the Jews who were blamed when “pro-Arab” Republicans were beaten by pro-Israel candidates. Zogby rightly notes that AIPAC and the pro-Israel community have taken credit for defeating two of the most anti-Israel members of Congress: Representative Paul Findley and Senator Charles Percy. He is also forced to admit, however, that there were other, less nefarious reasons the pair lost: the black vote backfired on Percy and the redistribution made the Findley district more democratic.

Knowing and admitting this, Zogby nonetheless launches the idea that the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) influenced the Ohio election by investing $ 1.6 million in commercials against Turner and $ 4 million to support Brown. He claims that DMFI “has spearheaded the campaign to defeat candidates who oppose unconditional support for Israel.”

This idea that Americans who believe in a strong US-Israel relationship are asking for blind support is ludicrous. Even AIPAC has sometimes criticized Israeli policies, and those in Congress who do the same are not all against re-election. For example, Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), one of Israel’s most fervent supporters, criticized Israel for “military actions which resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli attacks on buildings housing international media ”. He jumped to conclusions before learning that the building housing the Associated press was used by Hamas; nonetheless, he is not going to clash with supporters of Israel (except perhaps some Republicans for partisan reasons).

Those whom the pro-Israel community opposes – and why shouldn’t they be? – are anti-Semites like Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) And Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), And members who want to delegitimize Israel by supporting BDS or who seek to cut aid to defensive programs such as Iron Dome.

Mainstream Democrats, including President Biden, believe our two countries share both values ​​and interests. They recognize that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic and counterproductive in the pursuit of peace. They reject unilateral criticism of Israel, and they don’t think Israel should be denied the resources it needs to defend itself. Progressives, on the other hand, demanded that Iron Dome funding be removed from a spending bill, which led to the introduction of separate legislation to provide $ 1 billion to replenish stocks of missiles from Israel. This bill passed by an overwhelming 420-9 majority, with just eight Democrats (including Tlaib and Omar) voting no.

Zogby doesn’t mention that Turner’s campaign raised and spent around $ 4.5 million compared to around $ 2.1 million for Brown or that Turner led Brown to 35 points but lost almost six.

Even in calling the role of “black money” unsettling, Zogby must admit, as was the case in the Percy and Findley races, that Jewish contributions were not the reason she lost. About 5% of the district’s residents are Jewish and 53% are black. Like Turner, Brown is black and had the support of this community as well as the Jews.

Turner was seen as someone, like the members of “The Squad,” who would not vigorously support the President’s agenda. In fact, during the presidential campaign, she basically called Biden “a bowl of shit **”. Therefore, it was Brown who was supported by Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), and the Congressional Black Caucus and its chair, Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). It was, in Zogby’s own words, a “classic ‘progressive versus moderate’ battle.”

Yet Zogby says campaign finance reform is needed to prevent Americans from supporting candidates who support Israel rather than “more balanced US policy.” Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with J Street and others spending money to support the candidates he prefers.

Like other critics of Israel, Zogby will never understand why Americans support candidates who recognize that there is only one democracy in the Middle East, and that it is the only country that shares our values ​​and our interests. He does not understand why they do not support radical Islamist terrorists in Gaza and the authoritarians in Ramallah who are so corrupt that 80% of Palestinians want him to resign.

Zogby believes the polls indicate Americans are turning away from Israel, so it must have been another blow to his fantasy of hearing the Democratic president reaffirm America’s staunch support for Israel when he meets with him. Prime Minister of Israel and watch nearly every Democrat Vote in the House to provide additional aid to Israel at the same time its handful of allies proposed cuts.

The way campaigns are financed is a serious problem; however, Zogby’s view of Jewish contributions as a problem is yet another example of the normalization of anti-Semitism by the far left of the Democratic Party. As long as Israel’s supporters play by the rules, they have the right in our democracy to support those candidates who they believe best represent their values ​​and positions.

Mitchell Bard is a foreign policy analyst and authority on US-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews, and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

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