Democratic Neocons: Party of Liberals Aligns With Extremists on the Israeli Right
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Moreover, Israel's current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is far more experienced than any of his predecessors with US politics and has very deep and close ties to prominent neoconservatives and wealthy right-wing Jews in the US. With the birth of super-PACs unleashing Sheldon Adelson and his ilk on this issue, the GOP's love affair with Netanyahu can really flower.
Both the Israeli and American right wing seem to be much more inclined to believe that the Oslo process, and with it, the two-state solution, is dead and buried. And they seem to be forging ahead with creating their vision of a post-Oslo future. Thus, the idea is that what looks today like a radical stance would soon become mainstream, conservative thinking.
That explains the Republicans' shift. Why, however, are the Democrats following them instead of trying to stake out some ground that could differentiate them, and perhaps even lead to diplomatic progress?
Democrats depend even more on pro-Israel contributions than Republicans. They always have, even before the Citizens United era began. And even if more pro-Israel money comes into GOP coffers now that the reins have been taken off the super-rich, Jewish donations count for a major chunk (anywhere from one-third to two-thirds, according to estimates cited by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) of Democratic fundraising and, while polls consistently show Israel to be a very minor factor in Jewish voting preferences, politicians are loathe to take so big a risk.
It may well be a case of politicians simply taking the path of least resistance. Their donor base might not flee if they were perceived as less favorable toward Israel than the Republicans, but they see no political gain in taking the chance.
The dramatic shift to the right by the Republicans opens up an opportunity for a progressive movement to bring some change to US policy regarding Israel-Palestine. But until the various peace groups -- from the centrist J Street to center-left groups like the Arab-American Institute to groups that lean further left on this issue like Jewish Voice for Peace-- can more credibly influence the political campaign process, and not just the debate in the media, such opportunities will continue to slip away.
And the Democrats will continue to chase the Republicans on an ever-rightward track.