The article about the split on Israel among Democrats in the latest New York Times Magazine, “How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics,” indicates that there may be some difficult times ahead for the Democrats and their Jewish supporters. Typically, the Democratic Party has been the home of Jews, with about 70%-80% of Jews voting Democratic. This article points out that the entry of blacks and Muslims into the party has muddied the waters. Liberal Jews preach diversity, but many of them don’t like it when it affects their interests. American Jews are split in their attitudes toward Israel. Some back Israel 100%; others are critical of Israeli human rights violations, particularly toward the Palestinians. This article says, however, that virtually all of the big-money, Jewish donors to the Democratic party are uncritical, strong backers of Israel. There is a split between the two main Jewish lobbying froups. AIPAC is unquestionably loyal to Israel, while J-Street questions some aspects of Israeli politics.
I wonder whether this turmoil among American Jews played some role in Netanyahu’s decision to return to Israel just before he was scheduled to speak to the AIPAC convention. He sent virtual remarks from his plane or something, but they apparently were not well done and were not well received. Maybe Netanyahu did not want to come, but felt that he had to get Trump’s blessing to help his re-election campaign.
This NYT Magazine provides some interesting reading about the political influence of American Jews, and how the Democratic strategy of building its base on black and brown voters and immigrants is complicating the Jewish role. Will Democrats lose Jewish big-money donors by recruiting increasing numbers of black and brown voters? Will they go for the money or the votes? All of the current publicity about Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rouke and others getting millions of dollars from many small donations may signal a current perception that new voters’ contributions may offset any lost big-money contributions, but it is still early in the campaign to see if that strategy will work throughout the election cycle.