Sunday, November 08, 2009

Are US Democrats Really Friends of Israel?

Of course they are.

But less than the Republicans, if we use the Goldstone Report as a yardstick.

Last week, resolution HR 867 was brought to the US House of Representatives;

"Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" in multilateral fora."

We owe a big thank you to Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) for sponsoring this resolution, the 202 other bi-partisan co-sponsors, and to congress in general for passing the resolution by 80% of the House.

The resolution passed overwhelmingly, which shows that Congress stands firmly behind Israel, and condemns the Goldstone report for the lopsided bias that it is.

Yet the story is behind the numbers -- those that voted against the resolution (thereby not unequivocally rejecting the Goldstone report), those that were present but lacked a moral backbone to vote either way (you have to wonder what they're doing in congress in the first place), and those not present all.

Democrats: 70% voted against the Goldstone report, while 30% voted in favor, couldn't make up their mind, or didn't show up.

Republicans: 93% voted against the Goldstone report, while only 7% voted in favor, couldn't make up their mind, or didn't show up.

This blog is avowedly non-partisan, yet Democrats need to answer why more than 4 times Democratic Congresspeople are lukewarm to Israel (at best) than the Republicans on this issue.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the bias in Goldstone's report.

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ehwhy said...

The voting results reflect two major areas of concern. The 2nd being the position taken towards Israel. The 1st being American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Acceptance of the Goldstone report could lead to American soldiers and politicians facing war crimes charges. Democrats are more likely to be in conflict between those two positions leading them to sitting out the vote rather than face the consequences of choosing sides.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

ehwhy: Why would Democrats stab US soldiers in the back? They didn't choose to serve there.

Zionist Jew said...

Excuse me ehwhy,but what does Goldston's "report" he is doggedly trying to justify he is right?Wanting people to accept his logically twisted view versus Israel's "CAST LEAD" accusing it of "crimes"(which a false preposition)to do with the Americans troops in Iraq/Afghanistan?
A load of cods wallop.Excuses we will not accept.In any case the 18 who votted against it are the good democratically inclined that care for Israel defending itself and made their voices COUNT.
The ones who dithered were most probably wanted to,but instead they ubstained.

Neshama said...

The more difficult it gets ... the closer we are to the geulah. The A-S are coming out of their closets, whether supposedly Jewish or not. Moshiach will be able to tell with a "sniff" who is really Jewish.

Jewish End of Days blog makes a good case linking him to the Erev Rav.

Soccer Dad said...

Before another co-blogger mis-reads this post and claims that you are selling Democrats short, Rep. Howard Berman (and/or members of his staff) deserve a lot of credit for drafting the resolution and for rewriting the resolution to address Goldstone's specious response. Here's Ron Kampeas's somewhat dishonest - he intentionally mis-read the original resolution - account:

Yori Yanover said...

It’s silly to form your view of either political party based on how members votes on this or that singular amendment.

It is legitimate to try and assess which side of the aisle is more pro-Israel, but to do that you have to review their voting pattern over an entire session, and even then what you often get is more a collection of raw snapshots than a useful analysis.

Also, when we assess who is “pro-Israel” do we consider members who support positions of the Israeli left “anti-Israel”?

Certainly, to conclude that “more than 4 times Democratic Congresspeople are lukewarm to Israel (at best) than the Republicans on this issue” is the stuff of political campaign ads and not serious study. There are many reasons why a member votes or abstains each time, and you simply can’t lump all of them together based on their temperature toward Israel.

Finally, you committed a serious sin of omission against your readers by basing your report on percentage of members only. Nowhere in your report (tell me if I’m wrong) do you mention that that the resolution passed with the votes of 179 Democrats and only 165 Republicans. That’s 14 more Democrats supporting Israel.

Sure, the Democrats have a bigger delegation – but that’s exactly why you’ll find more variety and discrepancy in their ranks. Also, historically, Democrats always split their votes much more than Republicans. (“I don’t belong to any political party, I’m a Democrat”). But to neglect to even mention that more Democrats supported the resolution than Republicans is the stuff of Limbaughism.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shalom Yori!

A few thoughts.

I thought this was clear enough, "We owe a big thank you to Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) for sponsoring this resolution, the 202 other bi-partisan co-sponsors, and to congress in general for passing the resolution by 80% of the House.". BIPARTISAN means Democrats (who are the House Majority) and the Republicans.

To say that's a Limbaughism is simply inappropriate.

I also prefaced the post, in bold that yes, indeed Democrats are friends of Israel. (Well, many of them)

The "sin of omission" you claim by not explicitly stating that "14 more Democrats than Republicans" voted for the resolution would be an example of lying with statistics.

From a purely statistical model, I provided the numbers (not only percentages) on the accompanying graph (plus the link shows all the data as well).

Like it or not, 30% of those who call themselves Democrats voted against, abstained, or didn't show up.

As you wrote, more votes need to be looked at as well - but even individual votes can be observed, based on their importance.

If the Democratic party is serious about their image -- then they need to disassociate themselves from those who go against it (or are embarrassed by them). By the very fact that this post touched a raw nerve, then perhaps the issue is with people identifying themselves as Democrats, when in fact, they aren't?

Here's a lehavdil example: Jack Teitel, the alleged Jewish Terrorist is a settler. What was the first thing that happened when it was announced he was a religious settler? The settlers repudiated him, and said, "he's not one of us, he doesn't represent us, and if the allegations are true, he belongs in jail".

It seems that instead of looking at the numbers on this very serious issue, you're simply being defensive of those who voted against the resolution.

Regarding if the left is anti-Israel or pro-Israel, this blog has discussed that a lot over the past few weeks, specifically concerning J-Street.

Lastly, I received a note from a friend last night that Democrat Rep. Howard Berman deserves alot of credit for helping draft the resolution.

Yori Yanover said...

Joe HaYakar,

Your readers pointed out that the main reason some Dems either voted against the resolution or voted Present had more to do with future prosecutions of Blackwater than with Israel. I wasn't being defensive when I objected to your lumping all their votes into a love/hate Israel packages. In that same context, the fact that a vast majority of Dems voted yes also permitted a few to vote otherwise. It's a parliament, there are complex motives for each vote.

I'm a very proud registered Democrat from the Lower East Side, which is not known as a hub of anti-Israeli sentiments. But I can understand how a member from Ann Arbor, MI, might feel differently about this essentially non-binding legislation. It's politics.

BTW, the record for anti-Israel verbiage still belongs to B2, the first US president to utter the words "Palestinian State" in a sentence, and the father of Hamas rule in Gaza.

Nachum said...

It's only confusing to people who, for some reason (usually historical), have the mistaken impression that the Left (Democrats, liberals, etc.) are more friendly to Jews and Israel than the Right. It just ain't so.

(I risk Goodwin's law, but it helps to point out that the Nazis were all a bunch of leftists.)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yori: This blog is non-partisan, and when it comes to Israel, that's our #1 yardstick.

We have no love for the Republican party...or the Democratic one.

(And we bashed GWB as well)...

Perhaps my view has gotten slightly skewed over the years, as Israel's party system is so much more platform dependent than in the US.

yori Yanover said...

Terribly sorry, Nachum, but first debater who brings up the Holocaust loses.

Also, if you consider the Republican Right, comprised of evangelical Christians counting the days until the mass conversion of Jews as being friendly to Israel, then remind me to bring this up at the next pogrom.

Finally, for the sake of historical accuracy, I urge you to read: Who Voted Nazi? by Dick Geary, a Professor of Modern History at the University of Nottingham and the author of Hitler and Nazism. Here are a few telling quotes:

Surprisingly, the first electoral breakthroughs enjoyed by the Nazis came in Protestant rural areas, such as Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, where peasant voters had earlier registered discontent with their traditional representatives from the DNVP (German National People's Party or Nationalists).

* * *

...Hitler and his followers were able to build support in small provincial towns and rural areas more effectively than in the large cities precisely because political mobilisation was less developed in the provinces and the countryside. SPD (Social Democrat) and KPD (Communist) support had been and was still concentrated in the big cities, and the electoral drive of the NSDAP encountered powerful traditions and loyalties there.

* * *

For many years the Nazi movement was seen as a political response of the German Mittelstand (lower middle class) of small businessmen, independent artisans, small shopkeepers and the self-employed, to the threats coming from big business and large retail stores, from the trade unions, the SPD and the KPD, and from increased government interference and taxes to pay for Weimar's burgeoning welfare state.

* * *

In other words, Nachum you need to take back your misinformed note. The leftists in Weimar voted Communist and Socialist. The article points out a relatively high level of working class participation (55%) in the Nazi party--most acutely after it took office--but that's far from suggesting that they went Nazi because they were leftists.

Thank you for the opportunity to correct an error propagated by Tea Party and other Republican outlets.

ehwhy said...

A few things to keep in mind. The US had not signed the Rome Statute. The US didn't want their troops to worry about being investigated by the ICC. Only one country voted against the creation of the Goldstone commission, other countries concerned about the biased language in the mandate abstained. The US Administration's main explanation for objecting to the report is that they don't want the UNSC dealing with Human Right's issues.

A significant number of Americans think it is time to bring the troops home. One of Obama's big promises was to close Guintanamo Bay. Obama looks like he is going to excuse the torture and other alleged abuses that took place there.

There are also those (similar to J-Street) that while acknowledging the bias of the court see nothing wrong with and would be in favour of an independant investigation for war crimes by both sides. When the flaws in the report ignored to come up with a simple question, some will hold that if there is nothing to hide, why shouldn't there be an investigation.

With mid-term elections on the horizon these may be just a few conflicting issues that could turn off voters on an issue that does not strike a chord with the majority of the electorate.

Don't forget the American systems focuses more on the individual than the party. That is one of many for why it is so hard to get legislation passed. That is also how a Rebublican Governor could be invited to a Democrat Convnetion.

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