There’s been a slew of skirt-wearing J-Streeters and other pro-Israel PACs waving leaflets in my face all day. They’re nothing new, reaffirming the shared values between the U.S. and Israel, Israel being the “beacon of democracy” in the Middle East and all. But we’ll have to see how long that claim holds water, given Egypt’s increasingly credible democracy … maybe it’s finally time to talk about the mind-bogglingly underemphasized strategic and technological advances afforded to the U.S. by Israel.
Today is different, though: These are no advocates without a cause. This week the 2012 Democratic Party platform was inexplicably (or rather, really poorly and suspiciously explained as a desire to “change policy emphasis”) stricken of its language affirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, among a number of new omissions. Though some of those new omissions have since been reinstated, the damage is done: It has predictably led to a raft of pro-Israel demonstrations, advocacy emails and GOP accusation of a Democratic lack of patriotism.
And that’s not all: the party also notably left out any mention of God in another piece of party platform released this week.
The logic here is missing. It’s not as if the party hates God or Israel: Monday night’s speeches, notably Nathan Davis’, had components of faith rather blatantly inserted in them. And Obama has been just as strong, if not stronger in his support for Israel than Bush was; he was just quieter about it — a good move, I think, and indicative of the realization that there need to be ways of keeping Muslim countries in America’s orbit once its hegemonic status in the region is gone.
It is the very fact that Democrats are not any less religious or anti-Israel in terms of policy that makes these omissions so odd; they covered themselves in giant “kick me” signs, allowing Republicans to once again play up the characterization of liberals as atheist (communist?), Israel-hatin’ bastards.
Not that the Dems had the evangelical vote anyway, but why risk losing the remaining swaths of the Democratic religious vote? No one wants godless representatives; for those for whom social values are paramount, this could have been a knockout punch.
Jews have been strong Democrats for decades, and probably aren’t going anywhere. But the deletion of the Jerusalem-as-capital plank in the platform is big: The two-state solution is an issue that could make otherwise Blue Jews turn immediately Red. The perception of that issue as an existential one is, understandably, enough to turn even moderate Israel supporters.
But fine, maybe the Dems decided that there are more valuable demographics to win over: By removing mentions of God and support for Israel, we gain the … Oh. Wait.
And therein lies the problem. There really is no chunk of the voting population that could be swayed leftward by these deletions, only those who could be turned permanently off to the left. Who are these now God-Hating Commies gonna get now? The atheists? The Muslims? Both are already pretty solidly Blue, and not likely to change their minds anyway.
I really can’t think of any even halfway decent explanation for this. I thought I was starting to see some sort of logic, or maybe just hoping I was, and then both omissions were reinstated. Granted, this happened over loud objections from Dems, but then again, that all could have been avoided had they not been erased in the first place.