Monday, January 30, 2012

Converting the Nonbeliever

Credit where it's due: I would not have expected Balloon Juice's Doug to agree to drop the term "Israel-firster". And the reasoning is sound too: Plenty of progressives who are doing legwork in trying to change American and Israeli policy for the better find it offensive and alienating, so why be a schmuck. Moreover, as Doug points out, it concedes ground that doesn't need to be conceded: namely, that the problem with the GOP's Israel policy is that it cares too much about Israel, that it is too concerned with Israel's well-being.

Of course, this is precisely what is under contestation, and Ackerman is quite right when he says its a debate we can win on the merits. The fact is that the GOP has evinced nothing that demonstrates a true commitment to Israel's continuation as a Jewish democracy, providing a lot of lip service but no nuance or understanding (and more importantly, no inclination to listen to the mainstream of Jewish voices who, for example, find one-stateism to be an anathema).

In any event, given that the American electorate as a whole remains overwhelmingly favorable towards Israel and wishes to see it survive and thrive, trying to attack Republicans by calling them too pro-Israel is like attacking them for loving puppies too much. For whatever reason, Republicans think they've got an uncontested lay-up on the Israel issue, and it's past time it got swatted back in their face.

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