[Marxism] Congress Is Giving Israel Vote of Confidence WnPost July 19 2006

Ralph Johansen mdriscoll at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 19 14:38:50 MDT 2006



[Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are rushing to offer 
unalloyed support for Israel's offensive against Hezbollah fighters, 
reflecting a bipartisan desire to not only defend a key U.S. ally but 
also solidify long-term backing of Jewish voters and political donors in 
the United States, according to officials and strategists in both parties.]

"Jewish _/*voters*/_" (1%)?  What are they doing for us "_/*other*/_" 
(10%", "_/*nones*/_" (10%) and Muslim (1%)? Of course, other than 
Muslims we have no bloc, certainly no single issue heavy donors? But we 
bear the sobriquet "other-none" with pride.

CIA  -- The World Factbook
United States
Religions: Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, _*Jewish 1%*_, 
Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10% (2002 est.)


washingtonpost.com
Congress Is Giving Israel Vote of Confidence
Both Parties Back Ally, Court Jewish Support
By Jim VandeHei Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 19, 2006; A05

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are rushing to offer 
unalloyed support for Israel's offensive against Hezbollah fighters, 
reflecting a bipartisan desire to not only defend a key U.S. ally but 
also solidify long-term backing of Jewish voters and political donors in 
the United States, according to officials and strategists in both parties.

With Israel intensifying its air and artillery attacks on Lebanon and 
warning of a protracted war, the Senate yesterday unanimously passed a 
bipartisan resolution endorsing Israel's military campaign and 
condemning Hezbollah and its two backers, Iran and Syria. A few hours 
earlier, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) delivered his 
most strident defense of Israel since the conflict erupted a week ago. 
The House is expected to pass a similarly pro-Israel resolution today.

At the same time, several candidates in highly competitive races are 
touting their unequivocal backing of Israel. Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. 
(R-Fla.), who faces a tough reelection race against a Jewish Democrat, 
introduced his own resolution charging that "both Syria and Iran are 
directly responsible for this act of terrorism and should be held 
accountable." In Minnesota, Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Senate 
candidate, is criticizing what his campaign calls Democratic candidate 
Amy Klobuchar's "deafening silence" on the conflict, calling her a 
"timid soul." Klobuchar, however, has staked out a similarly pro-Israel 
position.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman punctuated the day 
with a speech to Christians United for Israel last night, declaring that 
"today, we are all Israelis."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center 
and the Pentagon, support for Israel has only intensified among 
politicians and the public, lawmakers say and polls confirm. The Jewish 
state is frequently praised as a vibrant democracy and trusted U.S. 
ally, one that has suffered greatly from terrorism.

Israel is also the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, and benefits 
from a widespread perception that it is smart politics to embrace 
Israel, according to Democratic and Republican officials and strategists.

But some U.S. officials worry that the political calculation is 
undermining efforts to find a peaceful solution to the latest conflict. 
"There is no danger for the candidates," said Rep. James P. Moran Jr. 
(D-Va.), adding that those politicians "will get rewarded politically 
and financially for being out front in their support."

Moran said, however, that the outpouring of political support could 
prove dangerous for Israel. That's because Israeli officials "know they 
can only go as far as the United States backs them," and the flurry of 
pro-Israel activity "can encourage their leadership to overreach and 
create situations that become more problematic," he said.

Moran was forced to apologize three years ago for blaming U.S. Jews for 
pushing the country into the Iraq war.

Moran holds a minority view in Congress. Many Democrats, who are among 
the largest recipients of Jewish votes and money in federal elections, 
are working with Republicans to pressure President Bush to reject calls 
to strike a more measured tone and prod Israel to show greater restraint.

"I don't think [Republican politicians] made any of their decisions in 
this crisis or previous ones based on politics," said Matthew Brooks, 
executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is running 
newspaper ads in Jewish newspapers praising Bush for backing Israel. 
"However, there is certainly a collateral [political] benefit" of 
speaking out early and forcefully.

Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said lawmakers in both parties 
"believe there are very important groups in American politics that care 
about Israel, and that includes the Christian right and Jewish groups," 
she said. Based on her research and experience, however, Greenberg said 
Jewish voters are motivated as much by domestic issues such as 
separation of church and state as by a candidate's passion for Israel.

Still, the rising pro-Israel sentiment in Congress has coincided with 
stepped-up efforts by Democrats and Republicans to increase their 
support among Jews.

On the Republican side, the dynamics have changed considerably in the 
past decade.

Evangelical Christians, who were once suspected by some of 
anti-Semitism, have led a Republican effort to forge close ties with 
Israel.

The effort is working, strategists from both parties said. In every 
presidential election since 1992, Republicans have increased their share 
of the Jewish vote. In 1992, Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, 
won 11 percent. In the 2004 presidential election, the current president 
captured about 25 percent, according to exit-poll data.

"Jewish voters are becoming less partisan and more independent in their 
thinking, which I think gives an opportunity for inroads among 
Republicans," said Shaw, who represents a large number of Jewish voters 
along Florida's southern Gold Coast.

Based on a study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, 
Republicans are also getting a larger percentage of money from Jewish 
political committees and self-identified Jewish donors. So far this 
election cycle, Republicans have received about 42 percent of money from 
Jewish groups and individuals. If that number holds, it would be the 
highest percentage since the center started tracking these donations in 
1990.

The Jewish community remains predominantly Democratic and is considered 
one of the most influential parts of the party's base.

Polls show most Jewish voters agree with Democrats on social issues and 
many other domestic concerns. While some House Democrats have questioned 
the wisdom of unconditional support for Israel -- a point pro-Republican 
Jewish groups frequently make -- party leaders such as Reid are among 
the biggest defenders of Israel.

Political researcher Zachary A. Goldfarb contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company




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