Left­ist first, Jewish sec­ond

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Den­nis Prager

Ispent the last week of Oc­to­ber speak­ing to thou­sands of Mitt Rom­ney sup­port­ers in four “bat­tle­ground” states: Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio, Florida and Vir­ginia. I trav­elled with my Salem Ra­dio Net­work col­leagues Hugh He­witt and Michael Medved, and the ac­tor Jon Voight, one of the few Hol­ly­wood stars who is a po­lit­i­cally out­spo­ken con­ser­va­tive.

Dur­ing the tour, I of­ten wished that ev­ery Amer­i­can Jew could have seen and heard what was said about Jews and Is­rael and how much time was de­voted to Jews and Is­rael. The two non-Jews, Jon Voight and Hugh He­witt, and who­ever was the mod­er­a­tor (in no in­stance was it a Jew) em­pha­sized sup­port for Is­rael and the Jews — in com­bat­ting Is­lamic an­tiSemitism, in ac­knowl­edg­ing the Amer­i­can and the Western world’s debt to the Jews, and re­gard­ing the Jewish ori­gins of Chris­tian­ity — as much as they did any Amer­i­can do­mes­tic is­sue, in­clud­ing the econ­omy.

More­over, the au­di­ences, over­whelm­ingly com­posed of non-Jews, re­acted in kind. They cheered at least as en­thu­si­as­ti­cally when Jews and Is­rael were men­tioned as they did re­gard­ing any other is­sue dear to con­ser­va­tive hearts, such as small gov­ern­ment, lower taxes, oil in­de­pen­dence, a strong mil­i­tary, pre­vent­ing Iran from ob­tain­ing nu­clear weapons, etc.

I won­dered what most Jews — mean­ing Jewish lib­er­als — would think had they seen this. Would they think it was an act? That it was done to pro­cure Jewish votes? That Demo­cratic Party ral­lies would sim­i­larly fo­cus on sup­port for Jews and Is­rael?

I pon­dered these three pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Surely a Jewish lib­eral could not have dis­missed the time and at­ten­tion paid to Jews and Is­rael as in­au­then­tic. What would be the pur­pose? If peo­ple put on an act, there has to be a rea­son for do­ing so. But there was no such rea­son, since vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one present at each of the ral­lies was a fel­low Repub­li­can.

One doesn’t put on an act among like-minded peo­ple. When you’re with 1,500 other peo­ple who share your pol­i­tics and your val­ues, you are at your most authen­tic.

Was it done to pro­cure Jewish votes? That is as im­plau­si­ble as the first ex­pla­na­tion. There were few Jews present, and ev­ery one of them was al­ready on board as a Rom­ney voter.

And what about ex­pla­na­tion num­ber three — that the same pas­sion­ate sup­port of Jews and Is­rael would be ex­pressed by the speak­ers and au­di­ence at Demo­crat Party ral­lies? This, too, is im­plau­si­ble. We all had one op­por­tu­nity to see how Democrats feel about Is­rael when we ob­served the Demo­cratic del­e­gates at the Demo­crat Na­tional Con­ven­tion split down the mid­dle when vot­ing on whether to in­clude men­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal in the Demo­cratic Party plat­form.

But even with­out that spec­ta­cle, it takes an ex­tra­or­di­nary de­gree of self-de­cep­tion to be­lieve that the left is as pas­sion­ately sup­port­ive of Is­rael and the Jewish peo­ple as is the Amer­i­can right.

Out­side of the Mus­lim world, vir­tu­ally all the world’s anti-Zion­ism, anti-Semitism and anti-Is­rael ha­tred comes from the left, while vir­tu­ally all of the great­est sup­port­ers of the Jews and Is­rael are con­ser­va­tives. The most pro-Is­rael world leader to­day is Stephen Harper, the prime min­is­ter of Canada: he is a con­ser­va­tive and a reli­gious Chris­tian. And the world leader most in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties to counter the Is­lamic and left­ist worlds’ ef­forts to dele­git­imize Is­rael is the for­mer prime min­is­ter of Spain, Jose Maria Az­nar, an­other con­ser­va­tive. Az­nar founded the Friends of Is­rael Ini­tia­tive, an in­ter­na­tional ef­fort of lead­ers (all non-Jewish) to “counter the at­tempts to dele­git­imize the State of Is­rael and its right to live in peace within safe and de­fen­si­ble bor­ders.”

The New York Times re­ported that 15 lead­ers of lib­eral Protes­tant Churches called on Congress to re­con­sider giv­ing aid to Is­rael. The lop­sided anti-Is­rael let­ter so up­set Jewish lead­ers, in­clud­ing lib­eral ones, that “the Jewish lead­ers re­sponded to the ac­tion as a mo­men­tous be­trayal and an­nounced their with­drawal from a reg­u­larly sched­uled JewishChris­tian di­a­logue meet­ing. ... The Jewish lead­ers called the let­ter by the Chris­tian groups ‘a step too far’ and an in­di­ca­tion of ‘the vi­cious anti-Zion­ism that has gone vir­tu­ally unchecked in sev­eral of these de­nom­i­na­tions.’ ”

Mean­while, evangelical and other con­ser­va­tive Chris­tians reg­u­larly gather to honor Is­rael and the Jewish peo­ple in their churches.

At each of our ral­lies, Jon Voight read a pow­er­ful state­ment he had writ­ten cel­e­brat­ing Is­rael and the Jewish peo­ple. No press, no cam­eras, no one to per­suade. He just wanted to emote about his love for Jews and Is­rael be­fore fel­low Republicans and con­ser­va­tives. In each case they gave him a stand­ing ova­tion.

Is there a sin­gle other Academy-Award win­ning ac­tor or ac­tress read­ing love let­ters to Is­rael to non-Jews? Is there a sin­gle Demo­cratic rally of mostly non-Jews where such sup­port for Is­rael and the Jews is ex­pressed?

The tragedy is that none of this mat­ters to most Amer­i­can Jews. Why? Be­cause for many Amer­i­can Jews, Left­ism is their re­li­gion, while Ju­daism is merely an eth­nic iden­tity.

(A ver­sion of this col­umn was pub­lished in the Jewish Jour­nal of Los Angeles.) Den­nis Prager is the au­thor of “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs Amer­i­can Val­ues to Tri­umph”.

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