14 September 2011

Spiting the face.

The Democrats are in a real bind, losing a solidly Democratic district in Queens to a political unknown, Bob Turner. The district is heavily Jewish, and most speculation is that the Democrats lost the seat because American Jews are displeased with Obama's stance on Israel.

Which, if nothing else, should show the Democrats the foolishness of taking lukewarm stances in theory and doing absolutely nothing on the ground.

Contrary to popular belief, Obama has not abandoned Israel. He has steadfastly refused to lend any sort of actual support to humanitarian relief efforts in the Palestinian territories (occupied territory, Gaza, West Bank, Greater Israel...whatever your preferred nomenclature) and the US continues to work in the UN to block any resolutions or activities that would harm Israel.

What he has done, and this of course is his great crime, is suggest that Israel is not as pure as the driven snow.

For some, this position is tantamount to declaring that Hamas is full of goody-two shoes whose main objective is to make streets safe for the elderly to cross.

Some otherwise educated people have difficulty distinguishing these two positions.

Israel bills itself as a democracy, and it pretty much is. There's no question Israel is a freer society than its neighbors. That's a red herring. Criticism of Israel does not amount to support for the criminal regimes of Syria's Assad and Egypt's (recently deposed) Mubarak, or the relatively more legitimately elected Iranian government (let's face it: Ahmadinejad isn't the real power in Iran, so the "legitimate" part is only relative).

Israel is not alone in its inability to face its own abuses. The "land of the free" long into the 20th century saw no problem with billing itself as a champion of democracy and liberty, which of course it was...so long as you weren't Black (and to a lesser extent so long as you weren't Jewish, Asian, Indian, Catholic, etc.). Those who worked for justice and pointed out US hypocrisy were reviled by the power structure and significant chunks of the US population.

The Democrats lost the South when they decided to support equality for all American citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. To even declare that white supremacy wasn't the natural order of things, that the white racial power structure wasn't pure as the driven snow, was grounds for landslide defeat in most regions of the South. So these politicians and activists who were called enemies of the South and enemies of America and enemies of Christianity figured there was no use in going half way...you weren't going to win the bigot vote by suggesting that bigotry was wrong anymore than you would by taking a strong stand and enacting legislation guaranteeing full citizenship to Blacks.

What the Democrats have lacked since the early 1970's is the backbone to take those stands domestically or internationally.

No comments: