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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Israel and Republicans

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, writes in The Washington Examiner:
I lead a partisan organization concerned with getting more Jewish Americans to vote for Republicans. My job is inherently political, but recently I have been shocked at how Israel, once a bipartisan issue, has become so very partisan.
Today, there is daylight between the state of Israel and the Democratic Party, owed in large part to Barack Obama. This daylight has been nurtured by a president who has allowed personal enmity for Prime Minister Netanyahu and a vainglorious attempt at a foreign policy legacy to hijack one of our most important international relationships.
Recently, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., wrote an op-ed in Politico complaining that Republicans were playing a "dangerous game" on Israel. Unfortunately it seems that Congressman Israel cannot escape his own bias in understanding the problems we face. It is the cynical political game Democrats and this president are playing with Israel, not Republicans.
Peter Baker reports at The New York Times:
That shift really began in earnest under President George W. Bush. Although he, too, had his differences with Jerusalem at times — he was the first president to make support for a Palestinian state official American policy — he became known as probably the strongest ally Israel had ever had in the Oval Office.
Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary at the time, recalled a flare-up of violence between Israel and Arabs. He was given talking points with a typical American message for such episodes urging both sides to refrain from violence.
“I took them to Bush, and Bush said: ‘No, don’t say that. Just say this: Israel has a right to defend itself,’” Mr. Fleischer said. “It was one of those decisions that sent shock waves through the bureaucracy. But that was Bush.”
Mr. Bush, and other Republicans, came to identify with Israel’s struggle with terrorism. “Sept. 11 made it vivid, made it real and made it powerful,” said Mr. Fleischer, now a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors. “It happens to them, it happens to us, we’re on the same side. Being pro-Israel is a no-brainer, absolutely moral issue to take inside the Republican Party.”