Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:


Alex, the son of anti-Zionist billionaire George Soros, is starting a Jewish political action committee:

Bend the Arc PAC will back progressive candidates by making direct contributions to their campaign committees. It will focus on issues such as income inequality, marriage equality, social justice and immigration reform.

Alex Soros explained that
There’s an opportunity to launch something that actually speaks to what the American Jewish community cares the most about and to show the narrative of what the real American Jewish experience is.
But what’s the point of creating yet another ‘progressive’ PAC? Why specifically target Jews when there is no specifically Jewish issue that it is concerned with? The answer lies in what it is not concerned with:
Hadar Susskind, who has previously worked for other Jewish organizations including J Street, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, will serve as director of Bend the Arc PAC…
“We don’t touch any foreign policy stuff,” he said. “One of the reasons behind doing this is that [the other Jewish groups] aren’t really representing the views of the American Jewish community…” [my emphasis]
Does that sound familiar? It’s J Street without Israel! This PAC will undoubtedly fund the very same candidates that the J Street PAC does. But J Street has been losing its appeal, as the Obama Administration’s anti-Israel policies have begun to make even some ‘progressive’ Jews uncomfortable.

Since Roosevelt’s presidency, American Jews have leaned left because of their concern about social issues, as exemplified by the civil rights movement. Reform Jews have even been criticized for acting as though Judaism was synonymous with liberal politics. Most, however, strongly supported Israel — and so did most Democratic politicians. With the advent of Obama, that is no longer the case, and liberal Jews are caught in the middle.

Soros has come along with a brilliant solution to their dilemma: be progressive, but don’t think about Israel.

Bend the Arc will be able to funnel Jewish contributions to the left-wing politicians that support and will continue the administration’s policies, including its anti-Israel ones. But because it won’t “touch any foreign policy stuff” none of those hard questions about Hamas and Iran need come up. Jewish progressives will be able to donate to it with the clearest of consciences, with warm and fuzzy feelings about gay marriage and immigrant rights, without any nagging doubts that perhaps they are betraying their people.

The traditionally liberal Jews who have been forced to choose between their progressive domestic agenda and their love for Israel will now have a home.

And it won’t be a lightning rod for criticism by Zionist Jews the way J Street was. Anyone who opposes Bend the Arc can be dismissed as a right-wing ideologue, or even a Republican.

Finally, it is a diversionary tactic. It will work to focus the Jewish community on domestic issues. The less any American, Jewish or otherwise, thinks about the radically anti-Israel and anti-American policies of the Obama wing of the Democratic Party, the better it will be for them.

I doubt that any of the Democratic presidential candidates — yes, I expect challenges to Hillary — will explicitly campaign on the foreign policy record of the Obama Administration (it’s too gruesome), but I do expect that at least one will embody the same philosophy of helping America’s enemies and hurting its friends.

And you can bet that that candidate will be the favorite of Bend the Arc.

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