Seemingly like clockwork, every four years, Republicans ask whether or not this is the election cycle when American Jewish voters turn to the GOP. And every four years, American Jewish voters step into the ballot box and vote for the Democratic Party. In his latest op-ed in The Hill, political activist Steve Sheffey explores the reasons why American Jews have and will continue to stay Democratic.
The same untruths are repeated again and again in the hope that people who are not paying close attention will believe them. Still, reality keeps getting in the way.
It's as if our Republican friends are projecting their shame for what Republican presidents actually did onto Obama by warning us about what Obama might do. Forcing Israel to relinquish territory? President Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai. Condemning Israel at the U.N.? President Reagan supported U.N. condemnation of Israel's attack on Iraq. Denying financial aid to Israel? President George W. Bush cut loan guarantees to Israel. Suspending military aid to Israel? Reagan and George W. Bush (among others) did it.
Obama has never cut or even threatened to cut financial, military or diplomatic support for Israel. But after hearing so many times during the past six years that he might, some of us actually believe that he did. Delegitimizing Obama has been the Republican goal since day one.
Last summer, after enduring hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel did what any other country would have done much sooner and took military action to protect its citizens. Obama's strong support for Iron Dome saved countless Israeli lives, and even while calling on both sides to exercise restraint (using words almost identical to those used by George W. Bush), Obama resupplied Israel with munitions and reiterated Israel's right to defend itself.
Obama is on the verge of finalizing a deal that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The deal will not provide certainty, but is more likely to succeed than sanctions or military action and is a major foreign policy triumph.
Yet Republicans continue to oppose a deal, insisting on unrealistic demands that pander to domestic audiences. Too bad they weren't as vocal during the George W. Bush administration, when North Korea acquired nuclear weapons.
Obama was quick to condemn the Paris Kosher market attack as anti-Semitic, consistent with the Obama administration's strong stand against anti-Semitism.
These accomplishments come despite unprecedented Republican efforts to use Israel for partisan gain. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) went behind the White House's back and, without even consulting his Democratic counterparts, invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in a vain attempt to drive a wedge between Democrats and the pro-Israel community.
Forty-seven Republican senators wrote an open letter to the government of Iran telling Iran's leaders not to trust the president of the United States. This unpatriotic, irresponsible action proves, as if more proof were needed, that too many Republicans are simply incapable of conducting responsible foreign policy.
Of course, Jews also consider domestic issues. On nearly every issue that most Jews consider important — reproductive choice, economic fairness, environmental stewardship, gun control, separation of religion and state, equal rights for minorities — the Democratic party is the only credible choice.
You can read Sheffey's entire op-ed here.