This is a bizarre political story that highlights the fact that older American Jews don’t want to hear One Bad Word about Israel: A progressive Democrat who has gotten Bernie Sanders’s endorsement in a challenge to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in an August 30 primary in Miami, is running to her right on Israel!
Law professor Tim Canova, a 56-year-old Jew who is left on economic issues, says that Debbie Wasserman Schultz — who chaired the Democratic National Committee in part because she’s so good at raising pro-Israel money, who found Sanders’s evenhanded statements about Israel and Palestine “disturbing” according to emails leaked last month, and who has said that Jews should not marry non-Jews and that the networks should not show so many pictures of carnage in Gaza — is soft on Israel!
It is all mere posturing by Canova to win the Jewish vote, IMHO. Canova supported Sanders, and vice versa. Wasserman Schultz has been endorsed by Hillary Clinton.
Canova’s chief pander involves the Iran deal. At Counterpunch, Sam Husseini reports:
He’s also adopted an extremely anti-Iran position. Writes AP: “Despite the big fundraising haul, Canova faces a daunting task to defeat a strong a Jewish Democratic incumbent in a district dominated by Jewish and Hispanic voters, where U.S. relations with Israel and Cuba are debated as often as jobs and the economy. … Canova… thinks the landmark Iran nuclear agreement was filled with ‘holes’ and that it was wrong to give Iran access to $100 billion in frozen assets.”
Jewish Insider published a pamphlet Canova has put out that says Debbie Wasserman Schultz doesn’t want to protect Israel. It quotes a Clintonite saying that it’s shocking to think that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not pro-Israel.
This is obvious B.S. Canova is just trying to grab Jewish voters. His own website’s issues page makes clear that he won’t trash the deal.
“Now that the Iran nuclear deal has been adopted by all parties, I support its full implementation and I would not support any efforts by the U.S. to unilaterally scrap the agreement.”
And his website says nothing about this, but last February, Canova told Reddit readers that he was against settlements. “I favor a freeze on settlements and the administration has to make this a big priority.”
His website does tell Floridians that he’s a good Jew.
I was raised in a blended family, Catholic on my mother’s side and with a loving Jewish stepdad for the past forty years. We observed Jewish holy days, honored Jewish traditions, and learned much about Israel from many friends and loved ones who had visited. In the year before I started law school, I decided to live and work on a kibbutz in Israel. I developed a deep attachment to the land and people of Israel, and a deep commitment to Israel as a democratic Jewish state.
The Weekly Standard reported that he opposed Bernie Sanders’s line on Israel in the New York primary:
Canova also attributes Sanders’s loss in the crucial New York primary to Israel. “He started off at [the New York debate] saying ‘I’m 100 percent pro-Israel.’ But that was the last thing he said that was pro-Israeli.”
Nathan Guttman broke this story back in May at the Forward:
Canova, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, is challenging Wasserman Schultz from the left. His progressive campaign against the sitting congresswoman resembles in many ways that of Sanders to against Clinton, including the emphasis put on perils of trade agreements, big money in politics, and protection of low-income Americans.
But when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, Canova is trying to take on Wasserman Schultz from the right.
“She voted for the Iran deal and I’m against the agreement,” he said, voicing criticism of the deal details in a way that echoed many of the talking points raised by hawkish Republicans.
What’s the lesson here? PEP (Progressive Except Palestine) is an ironclad principle of the Democratic Party because of the influence of older Jewish voters– and donors who wield a “gigantic” and “shocking” power in Democratic policymaking. Canova is at the point of the lance, in Miami. But all Democrats feel this pressure. And it won’t be broken till the media, which is in on the Israel-pandering, discuss the issue openly. Which may not happen till young Jews take on their parents and grandparents. I’m not holding my breath.