One of the most vicious Republican lies is that the President is not only anti-Israel, but that he is the most anti-Israel president in history. These lies come from the mouths of right-wingers such as Bill Kristol and then are repeated by the Republican presidential candidates pandering to their base and seeking to break the strong and historic bond between Jewish-Americans and the Democratic Party. The lies are offensive enough in their own right, but what is even more offensive is the implied claim they make about Jewish-Americans. Namely, these lies paint a picture of us as single-issue voters with our primary, and decisive, issue being Israel.
These lies are nothing more than an implied claim of dual loyalty, or, even worse, an implied claim of primary loyalty to Israel. It completely ignores the fact that, like most other Americans, we primarily base our votes on a panoply of issues, many of them, in fact domestic. Jewish-Americans have voted Democratic in every presidential election starting with 1924. Think about that for a moment. If the rest of the country voted like we do, we would have had President Stevenson and President Humphrey and President Mondale and President Dukakis. There would have been no conservatives in the White House. There would have been no tax cuts for the wealthy that transferred wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthy. There would have been no erosion of our social safety net. There would be single-payer. There would be marriage equality. That is why we vote Democratic and that is why we will continue to vote Democratic.
Despite this, these claims persist in the mainstream media, which is all too happy to feed this false narrative. Every other word when it comes to either the Middle East or Jewish-Americans is how the President is anti-Israel and how we're leaving the Democratic Party in droves. These lies could not be further from the truth, and, yet, the media continues to repeat them. It would be bad enough if such lies were limited to coming from the mouths of those of the right. That, however, is not the case, for whereas certain elements of the extreme right and the extreme left differ over whether President Obama is anti-Israel or pro-Israel, respectively, there is one area where too many of them agree: dual loyalty accusations against Jewish-Americans.
Unfortunately, the implied claims of dual loyalty are also found on the left. A quick perusal of the hidden comments at this site, a site claiming to be the premier liberal/progressive and Democratic blog on the web, will often show vile antisemitism against Jewish-Americans, particularly with claims of dual loyalty or primary loyalty being to Israel. Much of it, however, is not explicit, but rather consists of dog whistles, which, to the untrained ear sounds perfectly innocuous, but to those of us that have personally dealt with antisemitism causes our ears to perk up like a Geiger counter at a nuclear power plant.
All of us are familiar with the Paulbots that come to this site, as well as others on the left, who support Ron Paul because of his foreign policy stances and completely ignore the damage he would do in the world through isolationism and at home with his economic policies. It is in instances like this that we find an old maxim proves true. At some point the left goes so far left, and the right goes so far right, that they bend around and meet each other. Foreign policy, foreign aid, in particular, is a place where this frequently happens. People like that Ron Paul, or now Rick Perry, would cut foreign aid to certain countries and because of that they will support such a conservative candidate, not caring for one second the damage a Paul Presidency or a Perry Presidency would cause to our country and to our nation.
Well, now, President Obama has decided to hit back. Last night, I came across the following ad from the President's re-election campaign while on Facebook:
When I clicked on the ad, it led to a petition (note: once you sign the petition it leads to a page asking you to make a donation to the campaign) denouncing the plans of several of the GOP candidates to bring foreign aid down to zero:
STAND AGAINST "ZEROING OUT" AID TO ISRAEL
Republican candidates for president Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich all say they would cut foreign aid to Israel—and every other country—to zero.
Stand up to this extreme isolationism and join the call to reject the Romney-Perry-Gingrich plan.
It's about time President Obama seriously hit back against the Republicans on this false meme. I stand with our President. As a proud Jewish-American, I give him my hechsher (seal of approval). President Obama is pro-Israel. Yes, Israel is very important to many of us, but the reason for my, and our, strong emotional attachment to Israel is the same reason Italian-Americans have such an attachment to Italy, German-Americans to Germany, Mexican-Americans to Mexico, etc..., but that is not the only reason he receives my hechsher. Mostly, it's for the reasons I enunciated earlier about why Jewish-Americans are so overwhelmingly Democratic. The man is not perfect — no person is. However, he's fighting to make this country a better place for all of us, and not just the 1%.
To many, it may not seem like that all the time, but he can only play the hand he has been dealt. He has to deal with a Republican House and a Republican Senate minority that is always saying no. He is not a dictator and cannot simply enact policy through executive fiats. He has to get it through those Republicans, as unpalatable of much of those compromises might seem at times. If we want to enact our policies and our legislative goals, not only must we re-elect the President next year, but we must work to recapture the House and strengthen the Senate majority. Every bill ever passed is a compromise. If we want to make progress, then we must accept it will not all come at once and that sometimes we will move more slowly than others. President Obama understands this. That is why he has my full support.