Scott McDonnell, writing Friday at mondoweiss, draws attention to a recent Zogby poll that, among other things, notes that "63 percent of Dems agreed with the statement ‘Israeli settlements are built on land confiscated from Palestinians and should be torn down and the land returned to Palestinian owners.’"
And only 42% of Democrats, according to the poll, currently have a favorable opinion of Israel.
At firedoglake, we’re well aware that Democratic Party leadership doesn’t necessarily follow the wishes of Democrats, let alone progressive Democrats. And some of the most notably courageous and progressive younger Democrats, like Alan Grayson, seem to be committed to fully defending policies of any Israeli government, no matter how far-right, or how oppressive.
What we may be seeing, as witnessed by the numbers in Zogby’s polling, is growing differentiation between what support for Israel means from within the Democratic Party. McDonnell explains that "higher income and more educated Dems tended to be more in favor of real effort to move the peace process." Higher income doesn’t always translate into more involved, or more motivated donor, though. Many of the most influential and aggressive fundraisers for Democrats are ardent Zionist expansionists, and this has been the case for years.
As the GOP is using blind support for the most brazen Israeli expansion policies as a litmus test in California races, so some Democratic Party races now seem to be shaping up that way. In Pennsylvania’s 6th District, Democratic Party primary candidate Doug Pike, who is somewhat progressive, had to scamper this week, returning a donation to the moderate Zionist organization, J Street. Friday he was pressured to write an article disavowing J Street and its aims:
I am also troubled by J Street’s position that Israel needs to end construction of any new housing units in East Jerusalem—an issue inflamed by the recent ill-timed announcement of a go-head for a 1600-unit project there. While this might seem an acceptable price for getting the Palestinians back to the bargaining table, underlying it is the Palestianians’ unrealistic hope of retaking control of East Jerusalem. Because I see Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, I do not like to hear loud voices in Washington—including top administration officials and J Street’s leadership—demanding an end to all housing construction in East Jerusalem.
But look who is issuing the strongest criticism of Pike and his stance supporting the total disregard of both international law and the official position of Pike’s own government – the progressive and increasingly powerful Jewish organization, Tikkun:
What positions? Well, take settlements and building in East Jerusalem. He didn’t know J Street, his own Democratic president, and the rest of the world outside Israeli right wing circles opposed such expansionism. Pike appears to believe Bibi Netanyahu should be able to plop down massive amounts of new homes for Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox and their 12-children households right smack dab in the middle of historically Palestinian neighborhoods.
This fracas is helping to raise the visibility of a more progressive candidate in the primary race, Dr. Manan Trivedi, an Iraq War veteran.
What we will see more and more, in the post Gaza Invasion environment, is a growing dissonance between Democrats who blindly support any Israeli move, and those who are more objective. The disgusting attacks on President Obama these past two weeks, for defending longstanding U.S. Government policies, even while his envoys, negotiators and Vice President are insulted and rhetorically spat upon by Israeli leaders and their, as Tikkun characterizes them, "craven [and] cowardly" supporters, will have deep ramifications on the 2010 campaign landscape. The very survival of the shaky coalition that the Democratic Party is increasingly becoming is at stake.
If you want to be well educated on how this trend of growing skepticism about Zionist expansionism is influencing the 2010 American political landscape, I suggest you watch the entire video presentation of the Zogby poll data: