Senator John Kerry has been making nice with Jewish leaders the past two weeks since he has become the all but certain nominee of his party to run against President Bush. He met with 40 major Jewish organization leaders in New York last week, and publicly reversed position on several issues related to the Israeli—Palestinian conflict. He now says he supports Israel's security fence.
In the fall, Kerry attacked Israel's security fence in front of an Arab American group in Michigan, claiming it was a barrier to peace. Kerry now admits that President Bush was right to isolate PA chairman Arafat, whom Kerry suggests has isolated himself. During the Clinton years, Kerry, like Present Clinton, had offered warm words about Arafat as a partner for peace, and an essential player in the peace process. Kerry has also backtracked from his previous statement suggesting that former President Carter, or former Secretary of State James Baker, would be good Middle East special envoys. Now Kerry says former State Department negotiator Denis Ross, or former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger are the right people for the job.
President Bush may be slipping in some polls, but even Democratic Party officials concede that Bush is likely to do much better with Jewish voters this time around than he did in 2000. In that year, Bush was estimated to have won just under 20% of the Jewish vote. Current surveys show the President's support north of 30% among Jewish voters, were the election held today. Of course, some Jews are still afraid to admit in polite company that they will vote Republican. A positive development in Jewish political open—mindedness is that many younger Jews I have met are much more open about the fact that they plan to vote for Bush, primarily because he has been a good friend of Israel, and a strong leader in the war on terror.
As Kerry swings in the wind, now trying to solidify his Jewish support, along comes Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Rockefeller, generally conceded to be one of the dimmest bulbs in Washington, is the senior Democrat on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Relying on an article from the left wing journal, The Nation, Rockefeller wants to know if US intelligence estimates on Iraq were in some way reliant on intelligence (presumably bad intelligence) fed to the US agencies by Israel's Sharon government. So the senior Democratic Senator on the Intelligence Committee is now a party to the 'Jewish neocon conspiracy theory' for why we went to war.
Pat Buchanan loves to say that Israel runs US foreign policy through its cabal with the editors of the Weekly Standard magazine. Now Rockefeller joins the illustrious 'blame the Jews' club by relying on a far left political screed as his source of conspiracy theories for the war. When it comes to blaming the Jews or Israel, the far left and far right are in the same ugly boat.
Just a few weeks back, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, tipping his hat to Al Qaeda and Hamas, disgraced himself by arguing that Prime Minister Sharon controls the White House. Now Rockefeller suggests that Israel controls our intelligence agencies. Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, an ardent and articulate defender of the US Israel relationship, immediately jumped on Rockefeller's fishing expedition, and his reliance on a left wing propaganda piece.
In a recent episode of the very funny HBO comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David, no doubt influenced by his real life very hard core left wing activist wife Laurie David, asks the waiting room receptionist at a doctor's office to get some better magazines— Golf and The Nation are the two he suggests. This of course would make David one of very few Americans who reads both of these publications. Contending that The Nation makes for good reading is admitting to being a fellow traveler in the fever swamps of the left — where no degree of anger is adequate for the crimes of the Bush administration and its lackey, or puppeteer, (depending on the week), Israel.
Senator Kerry may be trying to shift back sharply on his Middle East position (he has been doing a lot of shifting on a lot of issues the few months), but Senator Rockefeller's foolish request for information on US Israel links from the US intelligence agencies (no such links were requested for any other country's intelligence services), will not help Kerry convince Jewish voters that the Democratic Party is still a reliable friend of Israel.