[Marxism] Kerry and the Jewish vote

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 26 08:00:46 MDT 2004

NY Observer, May 26, 2004
Is Kerry Watching President Bartlet For Prep Lessons?
by Robert Sam Anson

The President we wish we had settled the Middle East crisis last week.

That’s how it looked, anyway, for the first 58 minutes and 30 seconds of 
the cliff-hanging season finale of The West Wing.

In case you were watching The Bachelor, here’s how it went: Martin 
Sheen, who supports John Kerry in real life and plays President Josiah 
Bartlet as his day job, was catching hell for not immediately launching 
a cruise missile against the Gaza headquarters of the Palestinian 
terrorist the F.B.I. said blew up the visiting U.S. delegation’s Chevy 
Suburban in the previous week’s episode. That’s where dramatic license 
comes in: The F.B.I. couldn’t find a terrorist bomber if he were hiding 
behind the drape John Ashcroft hung over the boobs of the Spirit of 
Justice holding the scales in the Justice Department lobby.


Mr. Kerry’s aim is to limit George Bush’s take of the Jewish vote, which 
a poll conducted by the American Jewish Committee and Foreign Affairs 
magazine puts at 31 percent—nearly double what Mr. Bush racked up in 
2000. If the margin holds, it could be decisive in battleground states 
with significant Jewish population.

Mr. Kerry has tried just about everything to dent the numbers, including 
noting that his grandfather was Jewish, and that his brother Cameron, a 
convert to Judaism, is married to a nice Jewish girl. But it’s hard to 
best an opponent who’s literally willing to wage war to prove bona 
fides. Mr. Bush’s success in staving off Mr. Kerry was demonstrated last 
week, when his speech before AIPAC was interrupted 21 times by standing 
ovations and chants of "Four more years!" That trumped his chief of 
staff Andy Card, who got an AIPAC ovation two years ago for having 
learned enough Hebrew to proclaim in the vernacular: "The people of 
Israel live!"

A tactic candidate Kerry has yet to consider is standing for something. 
He used to, when talking about bringing a just peace to the Middle East. 
But that was before he became the presumptive Presidential nominee. If 
he needs cover for doing so again, he could conduct a census of the 
anti-war movement, where Jews outnumber the readers of Commentary, The 
Weekly Standard, The New Republic and the Forward put together.

Better still, Mr. Kerry could start paying attention to the people who 
actually live in Israel, where revulsion at the killings in Gaza and the 
daily humiliations visited upon Palestinians on the West Bank infinitely 
exceeds any you’d find in the spanking new headquarters of the 
Democratic National Committee. The moral outrage of hundreds of 
thousands of Israelis—all never sure whether a bus ride will be their 
last—goes largely unreported in the U.S., which really is anti-Semitism.

In the service of expediency, though, Mr. Kerry prefers to take his cues 
from Ariel Sharon.

A million years ago, I had a private meeting with the general. Perhaps 
misled by my middle name, he’d gotten it into his head that I might be 
the ideal amanuensis for a memoir recalling Sabra and Shatila. For 
obvious reasons, the site of the flunked audition (a sealed-off floor of 
the Park Lane Hotel) wasn’t disclosed until 15 minutes beforehand. When 
the elevator door opened, I was greeted by two young Israelis you 
wouldn’t want to mess with, even if they weren’t toting Uzis. Freshly 
frisked, I was ushered to a living room to wait while the general—then a 
minor minister in a short-lived coalition government—completed a call to 
Tel Aviv, hoping to settle a dispute over domestic policy.

Matter resolved, he came in offering apologies. "Politics, politics," he 
grumbled, heaving his massive bulk into an easy chair. "It’s constant 
maneuver. The nice thing about battle is that it’s simple: All you have 
to do is kill people."

We both laughed, I remember.

full: http://www.nyobserver.com/pages/frontpage3.asp


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