DNC agenda: 1, jobs, 2, healthcare, 3, ‘Jewish messaging’

Great reporting by Nicholas Confessore in the New York Times dances out on the third rail, Jewish donorship, pointing out that getting Jews on board is issue #3 at a DNC meeting today in Chicago:

It’s no surprise that the Democratic National Committee meeting in Chicago on Friday will include briefings on jobs and health care, issues critical to President Obama’s re-election. But “Jewish messaging” will be the third topic presented to top party donors and fund-raisers, according to a schedule obtained by The New York Times.

The session, led [by] Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the committee’s chairwoman, and Ira Forman, the Obama campaign’s director of Jewish outreach, underscores a real but unexpected challenge for Mr. Obama. While Jewish voters generally still give the president high marks, some Jewish donors — a major fund-raising constituency for Mr. Obama and other Democrats — are resisting the campaign’s appeals over unhappiness with the administration’s approach to Israel.

Read the whole piece, there’s more info, a little. Will the Times open the door on the importance of Jews in the political process? “Major fundraising constituency.” The usual figure is 60 percent of Democrats’ money; I’ve heard figures approaching 80, anecdotally. Why did 81 congresspeople just go to Israel, could it have anything to do with this? Eric Cantor’s prominence, and Chuck Schumer’s rise, surely relate to their ability to tap Jewish funds. Why did Wasserman Schultz get her job? I think the mainstream is losing its ability to sidestep these questions. I can’t wait for a Jewish leader to say, But these Jews aren’t giving as Jews qua Jews. They’re just like other Americans. Maybe– except on Israel. Jews are to the right of Attila the Hun on Israel. Does that matter? My generation’s first lesson about politics was, Follow the money.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 38 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “some Jewish donors — a major fund-raising constituency for Mr. Obama and other Democrats — are resisting the campaign’s appeals” – NYT

    MY COMMENT: It looks as though Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee are “counting the Jews” again (or Jewish donors, at least).
    How dare they!
    How dare they!
    How dare they count the Jewish donors!!!

  2. pabelmont says:

    Perhaps those “very, very few, very, very rich” Jewish political machers are more numerous or richer than we thought, or else rich non-Jews just don’t contribute (to Dems anyway). Is this state of affairs anything like whatever the (we must of course say “infamous”) protocols described. Makes you wonder, don’t it?

    Are there really no people-of-conscience (very rich socialists, very rich environmentalists, etc.) who could give a pittance to the Dems? Do they HAVE to be wholly-owned by the AIPAC folks? what a shame. (Or do the other richies stay away because of the AIPAC ownership? Or because the Dems have become so much like Republicans that the richies who like Rs give to Rs directly and the others just tear out their hair like all the not-rich progressives who despair of the Dems — and keep their wallets in their pockets?)

  3. eee says:

    If instead of spending money on stupid flotillas you would have taken the hundreds of thousands of dollars you wasted and given it to a political candidate, you would have made some headway. Instead you complain that Jews donate money.

    Sorry Phil but I find your attitude disgusting. It is the right of every person to donate money. There is nothing wrong with Jews donating more than average. What is wrong is other people not donating as much. How could it be that 2% of Americans donate more than the rest 98% except if the other 98% are apathetic idiots? But you take this argument and make the bad guys in all this the Jewish donors. This is pure hate.

    • what typical hyperbole. Your ‘disgust’ is synthetic. It is not the donations, it is what it buys in return, which puts the interests of a foreign country above those of the voters. Personally I don’t see what ‘right’ foreign countries have to pour resources into elections in order to buy favours and obligations.

    • Cliff says:

      You’re projecting your own insecurities on to Phil.

      The POINT of this article is that Jewish donors are a demographic. They exist.

      Highlighting this FACT is important because on this issue, there is hilarious (if it weren’t so sad) attempts by people like you to downplay the significance of Jewish donors. To make it appear as though they are insignificant in our political process.

      Phil isn’t saying Jews don’t have a right to spend their money on votes.

      And even then, eee, it’s not so simple that a Palestinian-approved candidate is going to get elected through purely money.

      This is one aspect of the political culture in our country.

      The rest of your nonsense is the usual sophistry we’ve come to expect.

      I’m sure you, eee the idf-goon, is going to educate us Americans on the political process and how it’s so simple that we can spend all our money to combat Jewish donors on various issues! Maybe you should write a book about these particular stratagems.

    • I disagree with eee, and think that Phil is simply following his journalistic curiosity, and asking the question “why?” Phil, I believe, is just pursuing the motivation of the donors: what’s in it for them? He did not call them “bad guys” as eee did. But the donors are giving big money for something, no? If the donors are giving money so that the U.S. politicians will thwart the U.S. national interest in order to support and defend an apartheid state with cruel and unjust policies toward an indigenous population of Arabs (Muslims and Christians), that is big, big news, worthy of much discussion in the light of day.

      Sure, politicians in Florida support a foolish US policy vis-a-vis Cuba in the pursuit of Cuban-American campaign donations and votes, but that dumb policy has had no fallout to compare with the attack on 9/11 and the PNAC-inspired war on Iraq.

      • eee says:

        I disagree with eee, and think that Phil is simply following his journalistic curiosity, and asking the question “why?”

        Isn’t the answer obvious? The donors want democrats to be elected over republicans because they support the democratic agenda. The moment you start suspecting their motives, you are implying that they are nefarious.

        • Cliff says:

          Their ‘democratic agenda’?

          How do YOU know their motives?

          And why is ‘suspecting their motives’ automatically nefarious in nature?

          You’re just trying to get people to ignore ‘Jewish donors’ as a demographic. Not only do you want people to ignore this demographic, but if we do think about them, you want us to think about them in purely superficial terms.

          All the while you color any kind of analysis as an antisemitic conspiracy territory.

          You’re anti-intellectual and SHALLOW. And YOUR motivation is Zionism. That’s the only reason you care.

        • eee says “Isn’t the answer obvious? The donors want democrats to be elected over republicans because they support the democratic agenda.”

          Does not explain, eee, why Democrats like former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and billionaire Mort Zuckerman are supporting a Republican over a Democrat in the Brooklyn US Congressional race. Again, one must ask why?

    • American says:

      Huum…apathetic idiots. Well, that is probably accurate right now.
      But if I were you and Israel I wouldn’t count on them remaining that way indefinitely.

  4. I don’t see anything nefarious. You really do?

    • Shingo says:

      Of course you don’t Witty. Then again, you’re the only person on the planet who believes that the Palestine Papers prove the Israelis and Palestinians were evidence of success.

      • eee says:


        Some commenters here are beyond hope. They focus on the positive action of the Jewish community instead of the indifference of other communities that allow the Jewish contributions to be significant percentage wise. You see, Jews are guilty of donating because others don’t donate as much. Go figure.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Are gay rights on the Democratic agenda? Remind me again, are Jews prohibited from marrying in the US? Is it legal to discriminate against Jews for employment anywhere here? Are people turned away when they apply for adoption because they are Jewish?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Also, isn’t it anti-Semitic to suggest that Jews get to control politics by the power of their wealth alone?

        • Mooser says:

          “Some commenters here are beyond hope.”

          And there you are, forced, coerced to read every word and comment. It’s despicable! Free the Zionist trolls! Where is Phil keeping you, “eee”? Just give me the address, and I’ll come and set you free. I’ll go all Entebbe on their ass!
          I mean, can you imagine? Tied up and forced to comment on a worthless website with “hopeless” commenters.

    • Donald says:

      No, nothing nefarious in the sense of illegal. As far as I know it was perfectly legal for tobacco companies to lobby politicians to protect their industry. It might not have been in the best interest of people’s health, but it was legal. Supporters of apartheid South Africa could lobby the parties if they wanted to, and supporters of Jim Crow could put pressure on politicians.

      Similarly, it is perfectly legal for American Jews with Likudist sympathies and a fair amount of financial clout to lobby the Democratic Party and it’s perfectly legal for the Democratic Party to pander to them. Sure, this makes the prospect of a two state solution that you claim to support seem increasingly remote, but it’s all legal. In the long run we get to see what comes next–a vicious war, mutual terror, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, or maybe a one state solution with peace and justice for all. Should be interesting, I guess.

    • worker bee says:

      You’re the one who used the word “nefarious”, and it’s a blatant attempt to put words in Phil’s mouth. So let’s just stop this right here. Nobody said Jewish influence is “nefarious”, or that Jews have less of a right to donate money to influence the political process than other people. Let’s get that out of the way now and move on…

      • eee says:

        Worker bee,

        So what is Phil saying? If there is nothing bad about Jewish donations, why is there need to discuss them at all.

    • Citizen says:

      Richard Witty does not entertain Jewish geography, ever; he’s not into geography at all; he wouldn’t see anything nefarious if it were Arabs, especially Palestinians, who donated so much to the Democratic Party, and also a disproportionate sum to the Republican party and especially to selected Republican politicians. Richard’s amazed at all you folks who are counting heads and dollars. Richard would never “follow the money” to ascertain who benefits from political donations. Why Richard’s just like Karl Rove and Dick Chaney.

      • Mooser says:

        I tell you again: If Phil and Adam started a PRO-Israel website, and didn’t include Richard Witty, Witty would turn into an ANTI-Zionist overnight.
        I’ve been reading Richard’s comments for years, and all I can see is unrequited love and personal jealousy.

  5. ToivoS says:

    eee it is refreshing to have you around. A reminder now then how mean are the spirits residing in the souls of rightest Zionists. Yes, I know you believe 98% of the American people are apathetic idiots, don’t most Israelis deep down despise the American people?

    • eee says:

      I of course do not believe that 98% of Americans are apathetic idiots. I should have said purely apathetic which is true. There can be no other explanation why 2% of the population can donate more than the other 98% in ABSOLUTE terms. American Jews donate more than a population 50 times bigger than theirs! Of course those 98% are apathetic. But according to Phil, who are the bad guys? The Jews, the people who care more and donate more! Unbelievable.

      • Donald says:

        That has a certain plausibility, eee, but my understanding is that Americans are relatively generous (and the poorer they are the higher the percentage of their income they tend to give), but probably not so much to political parties. Here I can speak for myself. I write checks to various organizations (including one or two liberal Jewish ones like Tikkun, which strangely enough seems to have put me on the mailing lists of rightwing Zionist groups). It would never cross my mind to give to the Democrats even if I usually vote for them (when I don’t vote third party instead). I mean, who wants to waste one’s giving on a bunch of sleazy politicians? Well, some do, of course, but probably most people who give don’t want to send their money in that direction.

      • American says:

        Your kind of Jews eee or I should say zios, aren’t compatible with democracy, you want to ‘buy’ and ‘subvert’ government to the detriment of all others and the country.

        • eee says:

          You mean to say that most Jews are not compatible with democracy since most Jews are Zionists. Right?

        • American says:

          Are most Jews zionist?

        • mymarkx says:

          Most US Jews are neither Orthodox nor Zionist. But most Jews who are active in or donate to the Democratic Party are Zionist–their activism is on behalf of Israel, not on behalf of the US.

          Zionism is not compatible with democracy because it is racist. The United States is not compatible with democracy because the government does not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions–only big donors can influence policy decisions. The US is a plutocracy, not a democracy or a republic. It is ruled by the rich, and the rich happen to have a desperate craving for blood-diamonds from the Congo that are distributed by Israel to US politicians as a reward for putting Israeli interests before US interests.

          Blood diamonds are easily concealed and easily smuggled, but always show up adorning the plutocrats and oligarchs when they have their black-tie dinners, fancy balls, and photo-ops. Both Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama wear blood diamonds. Read Glitter & Greed by Janine Roberts to learn the history.

  6. Bumblebye says:

    Apart from political agendas, this is OT -
    Egyptians are out in force demonstrating against the slow progress of political reform, the slow progress of corruption trials, and a sizable element has moved to the Israeli embassy to demonstrate there.

    • Bumblebye says:

      I’m hearing now the embassy has been stormed by the demonstrators.

      • American says:

        Ah, one by one, Egypt, Turkey….which country will be the next to rampage on Israel? The only way Israel is going to be able to keep up it’s violence against others is if the US turns the entire ME to glass and it isn’t going to do that. There is too much hate of Israel and well deserved, for Israel to continue as it is.

        Protesters Storm Israeli Embassy In Cairo
        by The Associated Press

        A protester holds the Egyptian national flag as a fire rages outside the building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday.

        STR/AP A protester holds the Egyptian national flag as a fire rages outside the building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday.
        text size A A A September 10, 2011 Protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped documents out of the windows as hundreds more demonstrated outside, prompting the ambassador and his family to leave the country. The unrest was a further worsening of already deteriorating ties between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.

        Egyptian police made no attempt to intervene during the day as crowds of hundreds tore down an embassy security wall with sledgehammers and their bare hands or after nightfall when about 30 protesters stormed into the Nile-side high-rise building where the embassy is located.

        Just before midnight, the group of protesters reached a room on one of the embassy’s lower floors at the top of the building and began dumping Hebrew-language documents from the windows, said an Egyptian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

        In Jerusalem, an Israeli official confirmed the embassy had been broken into, saying it appeared the group reached a waiting room on the lower floor. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to release the information.

        Israel’s ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and other embassy staff rushed to Cairo airport and left on a military plane for Israel, said airport officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

        Israeli officials refused to comment on the ambassador’s departure. No one answered the phone at the embassy late Friday.

        Since the fall of Mubarak — who worked closely with the Israelis — in February, ties have steadily worsened between the two countries. Anger increased last month after Israeli forces responding to a cross-border militant attack mistakenly killed five Egyptian police officers near the border. Egypt nearly withdrew its ambassador from Israel, and protesters demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Calls have grown in Egypt for ending the historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel, a pact that has never had the support of ordinary Egyptians.

        Several large protests have taken place outside the embassy in recent months without serious incident.

        On Friday, Egyptians held their first significant demonstrations in a month against the country’s military rulers, with thousands gathering in Cairo and other cities. Alongside those gatherings, a crowd massed outside the Israeli Embassy’s building.

        It quickly escalated with crowds pummeling the graffiti-covered security wall with sledgehammers and tearing away large sections of the cement and metal barrier, which was recently put up by Egyptian authorities to better protect the site from protests.

        For the second time in less than a month, protesters were able to get to the top of the building and pull down the Israeli flag. They replaced it with the Egyptian flag.

        Crowds outside the building photographed documents that drifted to the ground and posted some of them online.

        Mustafa Sayid said he was among the group of protesters who broke into the embassy. He showed a reporter cell phone video footage he said he recorded inside of young men ransacking the room.

        The group got into the building through a third-floor window and climbed the stairs to the embassy. They worked for hours to break through three doors to enter the embassy, said the 28-year-old man. They encountered three Israelis and beat one of them.

        Several Egyptian military policemen appeared and escorted the Israelis to safety but did not attempt to arrest any of the protesters, who then set about dumping files out the windows, he said.

        “They have papers on us, they collect information on us, so it’s only fair that we share information on them,” he said.

        It was not until several hours later that Egyptian police and military forces firing tear gas moved in to try to disperse the protesters from around the embassy. By that time, the crowds of youths had swelled to several thousand. Protesters were cleared from inside the building but held their ground outside, lobbing firebombs at the forces and setting fire to several police vehicles.

        The military moved about 20 tanks and troop transport trucks into the area. State radio reported that one person died of a heart attack. About 450 people were injured, including 200 who had to be hospitalized, the Health Ministry said.

        In Washington, President Barack Obama assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. was acting “at all levels” to resolve the situation.

        Obama expressed “great concern” about the situation, the White House said.

        Senior Israeli officials were holding discussions on the embassy breach. Israeli Defense Minster Ehud Barak said in a statement that he also spoke with his American counterpart, Leon Panetta, and appealed to him to do what he could to protect the embassy.

        The demonstrations against Israel coincide with increasing discontent among Egyptians with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country when Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11 after nearly three decades in power.

        Several thousand massed Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as well as in the cities of Alexandria, Suez and elsewhere. Demonstrators in Cairo also converged on the state TV building, a central courthouse and the Interior Ministry, a hated symbol of abuses by police and security forces under Mubarak. Protesters covered one of the ministry’s gates with graffiti and tore off parts of the large ministry seal.

        Seven months after the popular uprising that drove Mubarak from power, Egyptians are still pressing for a list of changes, including more transparent trials of former regime figures accused of corruption and a clear timetable for parliamentary elections.

        Activists accuse the council, headed by Mubarak’s defense minister, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, of remaining too close to Mubarak’s regime and practicing similarly repressive policies, including abusing detainees. The trials of thousands of civilians in military courts has also angered activists.

        “In the beginning we were with the military because they claimed to be protectors of the revolution, but month after month nothing has changed,” said doctor Ghada Nimr, one of those who gathered in Tahrir Square.

        One banner in Cairo read, “Egyptians, come out of your homes, Tantawi is Mubarak.”

  7. yourstruly says:

    what’s being criticized here isn’t the fact that zionist jews are major contributors to both the democratic & republican parties, it’s what these contributions buy; namely, israel first & foremost in the minds of our elected representatives, no matter how many americans get caught in the crossfire – in iraq, in afghanistan & wherever else america is hated for being the zionist entity’s chief backer.

  8. American says:

    “some Jewish donors — a major fund-raising constituency for Mr. Obama and other Democrats — are resisting the campaign’s appeals over unhappiness with the administration’s approach to Israel.”

    What that says is some US Jews are more loyal to Israel then to America. and it’s a fact. Like Eric Alterman said, they expect America and Americans to bend over and take it for them and Israel.
    Surely by now this is no big shocker or secret…….it’s been discussed to death.

  9. Sand says:

    This back in January — The Democratic Party is looking pretty contemporary Zionist to me.

    – House Dems Tapped For Jewish Outreach
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011
    Adam Dickter

    “As part of their efforts to retake the House in 2012, Democrats are ramping up their outreach to Jewish voters and donors, reactivating a national outreach committee.

    Long Island’s Steve Israel, the new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has appointed veteran ***Reps. Shelly Berkley*** of Nevada and Adam Schiff of California and freshman Ted Deutch of Florida to co-chair the committee’s American Jewish Outreach Council. ***Israel has chaired that outreach council in the past.***

    Israel said he has “pronounced differences with the Obama administration” on its approach to the Mideast peace process.

    “I don’t believe that the issue of settlements should define the U.S.-Israeli relationship,” he said. He said House Democrats would make clear to the president that “the bottom line is that it’s absolutely critical that if we expect Israel … to compromise, we have an obligation to watch its back and give it all the strength and comfort it needs to make whatever compromises it believes are necessary.”

    link to thejewishweek.com