Saturday, June 05, 2010

Is this the week Israel became a real political issue?

I actually really agree with what this guy is saying:

But something has been different this week: Blunt denunciations of Israel are being voiced by progressives and amplified by the media like never before, highlighting a widening divide on Israel between the Democratic Party's base and its Washington elite.

There was a time when progressives largely bought into the idea of Israel as a heroic underdog, a tiny miracle of a nation surrounded by hostile, hateful enemies just waiting for a chance to destroy it. But Israel's unyielding occupation of the West Bank, its siege of Gaza, and years of disproportionate aggression -- Lebanon in 1982 and 2006, the West Bank in 2002, Gaza in 2009 -- have all fostered disillusionment, even as national Democratic leaders have continued to parrot the Israeli line. A poll earlier this year found that Israel enjoyed a meager 42 percent favorable rating among Democrats, and a 49 percent disapproval rating.

That support stands to drop further -- to plummet, perhaps -- in the wake of the flotilla tragedy.
There was a time when American progressives and I agreed on every single thing, except Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

But, since the invasion of Gaza, the shift in their attitude has been extraordinary.

The Democratic leadership might still sound mostly the same - although Obama's pushing for an end to settlement building was a welcome change of tone - but the party's supporters have woken up to the brutality of the occupation.

Anthony Weiner was a darling of the left for his outspoken defence of Obama's health plans, but, since he issued the usual defence of all things Israeli, the base has turned on him:
Rep. Anthony Weiner's completely non-measured, non-conciliatory remarks on the Israeli attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla are proof that he'd rather be a successful New York politician than a prominent national liberal.
The Democratic base are not going to fall into line behind their elected leaders on this one, something has to give.

Click here for full article.

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