Devin Sper

The Democrats’ Betrayal of Israel

Israel is under an immediate, existential threat as Iran develops its nuclear weapons program. The choice between good and evil has never been so clear or the peril to the Jewish State so grave.  The question is now starkly drawn: do Democrats, who view themselves as supporters of Israel, place her survival above party considerations? The issue of Iran’s nuclear program was the acid test on this point, and many Democrats, including many Jewish Democrats, have clearly failed.

President Obama attempted to stop Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu from speaking to Congress on the subject, and dozens of congressional Democrats boycotted the event. Their refusal even to hear Netanyahu highlights the long standing and increasing unreliability of the Democratic Party on the issue of Israel.

Why would liberal Democrats, who advocate dialogue with everyone, even terrorists and their Iranian state sponsor, refuse to listen to the views of the democratically-elected Prime Minster of Israel? Netanyahu knows a great deal about the subject of Iran’s nuclear program, and his country has a greater stake in the outcome of the negotiations than any other, including the United States.

President Obama was ready to agree to Iran’s primary demand: that sanctions be lifted immediately, even while Iran continued her ballistic missile and nuclear programs, aggression against her neighbors, and support for terrorism. If this deal is positive for the United States and the world, why were Obama and Secretary of State Kerry so desperate to stop Netanyahu from speaking about it? Why should a treaty so critical to world peace be negotiated in secret?

Thanks to Netanyahu’s speech, President Obama’s plan to sign a deal legitimizing -rather than dismantling – Iran’s nuclear program has been foiled. The speech revealed the terms of the deal Kerry had been negotiating with the Iranians behind closed doors. Kerry had planned to conclude the deal, and Obama to sign it, before revealing the terms to Congress and the American people. The Democrats will not long be able to delay House Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s request for a debate on the subject. The consequences of the Congress’ action or inaction on this issue are critical to Israel’s survival.

Despite the disrespect shown to Israel’s Prime Minister, many American Jews will continue to vote Democrat because their identity as liberals supersedes their identity as Jews. They prefer to believe that these identities are always in sync. The Democratic attempt to sabotage, and failing that to boycott, Netanyahu’s speech belies this self-delusion.

Those who boycotted the speech can no longer credibly call themselves “supporters of Israel” when their position is identical to those who are anti-Israel. Their behavior towards the Prime Minister of Israel represents an anti-Semitic double standard.  They have not, nor would they ever, boycott any other head of state. The same holds true for liberal American Jews who continue to justify the actions of those Democrats and support them. How can Jews continue to back such politicians without losing all trace of Jewish pride and self-respect?

One cannot imagine the Congressional Black Caucus voting for a nomine opposed to civil rights; no other issues or considerations would matter. If elected Jewish officials will not support the Jewish interest in a case as clear and consequential as this, and Jewish voters do not hold them to account, why would the President, or any other or politician consider the Jewish interest in the future? In the words of Hillel: “If I am not for myself who will be? If not now, when?”

Supporting Israel is not simply giving lip service to the idea that she has “the right to exist” in front of a Jewish audience. This statement is not only meaningless, it insults the memory of thousands of Israelis and millions of Jews who, over the centuries, have sacrificed their lives defending that God-given, basic human right. Supporting Israel means being there for her when it matters, even if there is contrary pressure from one’s own President and party. Israel’s survival requires preventing her delegitimization and the erosion of her security now, before it is too late.

If Obama is allowed to legitimize Iran’s nuclear program the consequences for the six million Jews of Israel could be catastrophic. Jewish Democrats need to look into their souls and consider if their loyalty to their party takes precedence over Israel’s survival. Jewish voters need to reconsider their support for Democratic politicians who mouth support for Israel while working against her most basic interests and failing to support her at this critical hour.

About the Author
Devin Sper was born and raised in New York and lived in Israel for 10 years. He holds a degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Devin Sper is the author of The Future of Israel, winner of a 2005 GLYPH award.
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