Devorah Titunik
Devorah Titunik

Dear Progressives

You are driving us away. I used to love Nina Turner and, if I lived in Ohio, would have voted for her in a heartbeat. But not anymore. After her primary loss, instead of reflecting on how the progressive left could do better to win the next one, they chose to blame “evil money” from the group Democratic Majority for Israel. Once again, blaming Israel and Jews.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the antisemitic comments coming from their members in Congress and silence or support from the rest. I’m sick of seeing posts from my progressive friends blaming Israel for the fact that we don’t have things like universal healthcare. Like the majority of my progressive, Jewish friends, I feel politically homeless. And please don’t inform me that their leader, Bernie Sanders is Jewish, I already know that. But since he faced criticism in 2016 for daring to say there are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict he’s been bending over backward to prove he’s a “good Jew” by embracing people who wrap their antisemitism in a flag of social justice.

Let me tell you why I believe the progressive wing of the party has lost the last few primaries:

  1. Inflammatory language. Phrases like “defund the police” may go over well in very progressive districts, but not in the rest of the country. That is the reason the Democrats have such a narrow majority now. Many people hearing that believed you want to do away with police altogether and the thought of something bad happening and not having the police to call scares people. The Republicans used it to pronounce effect in the 2020 election. Democrats want to win more seats in the midterms, not let the Republicans regain the House and Senate.
  2. You’re taking an all-or-nothing stance in much the same way the Tea Party did. We don’t have a big enough majority to get everything you want passed. If we are going to get anything done, we need to compromise. Already, Biden has both proposed and passed legislation not seen since FDR, but you keep criticizing and fighting, demanding more than it would be possible to gain. Showing support and unity will get you further than constantly attacking.
  3. You blew a terrific opportunity with the infrastructure bill. McConnell has made it clear he will fight anything and everything Biden and the Democrats try to accomplish, but now he doesn’t have to. By saying you want the infrastructure bill to be much bigger, or insisting it be passed in concert with another exceptionally large bill, you are allowing him to pretend that he supports the current bill so that in the midterms Republicans can blame Democrats for infrastructure not passing instead of the other way around.
  4. Talk is easy, getting things done takes work. You say what people want to hear. It gets you a great deal of attention. The problem is attention doesn’t get things done. For that, you must be willing to collaborate with other elected officials, both in your party and the opposition. You need to learn from those who have experience in negotiations. Instead of disparaging them, you should listen and learn from them.
  5. At least since the time of Roosevelt, Jews have been staunch supporters of progressive programs and Civil Rights. Your anti-Israel and antisemitic positions and talk is driving away allies that could be a tremendous help in your domestic program.
About the Author
Devorah Titunik is a graphic artist and poet, and a mother of three grown children. Social justice has always been important to me. For the past several decades I have been concerned with the growing antisemitism I'm seeing from both the right and the left. I hope communication and art can help bring understanding.
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