Wednesday, January 28, 2009

J Street And Differing Support For Israel Between The Democratic Party And Its Members

In Why Most Democrats Oppose Israel's Operation Cast Lead In Gaza, I quoted David Frum who theorized on why there is more support for Israel among Republicans than among Democrats. Among the reasons Frum gave:
Fourth, Democratic attitudes are poisoned by the influence of an anti-Zionist hard left, a vociferous faction whose ideology can bleed into outright anti-Semitism. The foreign policy page at the Barack Obama transition website,, features many disturbing examples of this trend.
At the end of my post I asked:
It seems that the "ideological bleeding" that David Frum referred to has already begun. At what point do the rank-and-file Democrats start influencing the pro-Israel stance of the Democratic Party?
This issue, of the bifurcation between the Democratic Party and the rank and file, is also brought up by Jonathan Chait in an interview about his article on defining what it means to be pro-Israel in light of J-Street:

Apparently, J Street means to take advantage of this slippage between what the party leadership and the membership are saying.

Soccer Dad pointed me to some posts at Contentions that highlight the J Street's failure to properly evaluate where in the Democratic Party they can turn to support their liberal agenda. As a result, J Street has found that Democrats that they have supported are not in turn supporting J Street's condemnation of Israel's Operation Cast Lead.

Thus, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of CaliforniaRobert Wexler, Democratic Congressman from West Palm BeachBarney Frank, and Charlie Rangel [actually, Rangel made a statement that is listed on the J Street site] still support Israel despite the credentials that led J Street to support them.

While it is encouraging to see these four Congressman continue to back Israel, the J Street site lists 45 Congressman who apparently back their agenda.

The discrepancy between the support voiced by the leadership of the Democratic Party and the actual members themselves is only going to widen, and J Street is ready to take advantage of this fact.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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