the yawning gap between Democratic leadership and Obama’s progressive base

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Glenn Greenwald has a brilliant piece of analysis of the Rasmussen poll of American attitudes re Gaza. Greenwald points out that while Americans are generally split on sympathy for Israel or Palestine, Democratic voters are lopsidedly critical of Israel over Gaza. But their Democratic party leadership is as lockstep as the Republican leadership in support of Israel. And the progressive base that built the Obama movement is surely angered by Gaza, and thoroughly unrepresented politically. Though we all wait for Obama the sphinx to speak.

Typically, Greenwald stops short of the important last step in this analysis. Why is the American elite out of touch with the American street? And so forcibly out of touch, from Iraq to the occupied territories. Rome was not built in a day. To engage this question honestly means embracing the Israel lobby theory, and the significance of Jewish conservative influence in the American establishment: the fact that Obama never ran against the neocons openly! the fact that Clinton and Bush ran against each other in '92 both campaigning in favor of the evil settlements!

Why why why. If you are to have intellectual honesty about the matter, you must broach questions of Jewish wealth (we are the top, among religions) and the Jewish prominence in the media and Democratic Party giving. And the issue of Zionism as a fervid belief inside the Jewish family. Dividing families. Divide more, please–we won't get to the promised land till the foodfight breaks out in public! I've said before that I don't think Greenwald goes after this issue forcefully because he's afraid of reaction against Jews. Yes, I'm mindreading–Glenn, when are you and I going to talk about this?

I'm a lefty too, by the way. But the left is generally hamstrung by its materialist/Chomskyian/imperialist view of American foreign policy, and its love of Jewish progressivism, which are all good so far as they go–and believe me, I demonstrated against a war-for-oil, in 1991, even as my new guide, realist John Mearsheimer, was promoting that war– and thereby the left ignores the rival culturalist school of Michael Walzer, which matters far more than materialist motivation in Jewish life. What culturalism says is that We are all the tribe we are born into and feel allegiance to that tribe. Parochialism. Ethnocentrism. And culturalism is still regnant. Which is why most American Jews, even J Street Jews, are way behind the curve on dividing Jerusalem.

Here is a Culturalist datum: "Chaired by [Obama adviser] Dennis Ross, the JPPPI [Jewish People Policy Planning Institute] seeks to formulate an overarching
'Jewish policy' with an eye towards strengthening the status of Israel
as the 'center of Jewish life.'"

And here is a leftwing fallacy: Scott Horton's claim in Harper's that the dog is waggin the tail in Gaza. He's wrong. Israel is a militant Zionist state. The tail is waggin the tail.

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