Here is further evidence that the cat is out of the bag–that American policy in Israel/Palestine issue will at last be discussed openly in our media, and that American voters will get to divide over the matter.
At Huffington Post, James Zogby says the Steve Rothman defeat in New Jersey signals the empowerment of Arab Americans:
When the results were in, Bill Pascrell emerged victorious with over 60 percent of the vote. The Paterson turnout was decisive with Arab precincts recording such lopsided totals as 134 for Pascrell to 3 for Rothman, and 222 to 6 and 195 to 6 and 290 to 20.
While this election had been termed by some Jewish writers and organizations as “Arabs versus Jews” and being “all about Israel,” it was not. If anything this election was about Paterson voting for its favorite son, and it was about Arab Americans coming of age, demonstrating that they will not be quiescent in the face of attacks that slander their friends and attempt to demonize and marginalize the community.
Then there’s rightwinger Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post saying that Rothman’s defeat represents the downfall of the Jewish community, under the heel of antisemitism. This is so crazy I have to quote it, though yes I wonder if under the hysteria there is not a political development here.
Note that Glick says Rothman was singled out for being Jewish:
The striking weakness of the American Jewish community was exposed on Tuesday with the Democratic primary defeat of Rep. Steve Rothman in New Jersey…
Ahead of the 2008 US presidential elections, the anti-Israel pressure group J Street made a sudden appearance. Claiming to be pro-Israel, the anti-Israel lobby set about neutralizing the power of the American Jewish community by undermining community solidarity. And it has succeeded brilliantly.
Rothman is Jewish and a strong supporter of Israel. His defeat at the polls in New Jersey by Rep. Bill Pascrell owed in large part to openly anti-Semitic activism by Pascrell’s Muslim supporters.
Then there’s the Democratic race for Congress in Brooklyn between Hakim Jeffries and Charles Barron, in which Barron’s harsh critiques of Israel are being thrown at him. Yesterday several of Barron’s critics held a press conference, “billed as an effort ‘to Denounce Charles Barron as Enemy of the State of Israel’ and the Jewish community,” according to this report by Politicker:
[Congressman Jerrold] Nadler was specifically concerned by Mr. Barron’s statements comparing the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians to the holocaust. He carried a few selected quotes made by Mr. Barron on a small slip of paper.
“When he compared what the Israelis are doing in Gaza to the conditions Nazis imposed on the Jews. Where is the Auchswitz? I mean, come on. That is so irresponsible, and so libelous and so disgusting,” said Mr. Nadler. “To compare Israel to Nazis, calling what Israel’s doing genocide? Israel’s trying to survive in a tough neighborhood….They’re not doing anything like Nazis. To even put them in the same universe is a disgrace to the English language….His election to Congress, to some extent, would legitimize this kind of anti-Semitic discourse and we don’t need that.”
I have no idea what Barron has said, and how ugly or not it was. I was reminded of the Warsaw Ghetto when I went to Gaza, and the Holocaust plainly has affected the Israeli mindset: many critics, and I’m one, believe that Israel has modeled the behavior of the abuser. Oh and by the way, and not that two wrongs make a right, but the late Tom Lantos compared Saddam to Hitler, and Netanyahu has repeatedly likened Iran to Nazi Germany.