Throughout the presidential campaign, and especially after Sarah Palin came on the scene, liberal Jews used the issue of abortion as a prime reason for voting for Obama. Even those people who claimed to be avidly pro-Israel were willing to ignore the candidate’s long history with the Reverend Wright and his association with many other leftists who espouse varying degrees of anti-Zionist/anti-Israel/anti-semitic dogma. They argued that domestic issues such as the fragility of Roe v Wade in a conservative Supreme Court outweighed the concern for the degree of American support for Israel. 77% of American Jews voted for Obama, only to find a scant year later that the senate health care bill, spearheaded by their president would allow states to prohibit abortion coverage in state-based insurance exchanges. The New York Times gently tsked this in their next to last paragraph of an otherwise glowing editorial on the imminent passage of this bill. No feminist protests have appeared in its op-ed pages this week as if the entire women’s movement has colluded with democrats to just push this bill through and worry about fine-tuning it later - a preposterous notion akin to deciding that it’s easier to catch that fraudulent cat once it’s out of the bag.
So gays voted for a man who openly declared his opposition to gay marriage, and women voted for a man who did nothing to promote coverage for abortion, and Jews voted for a man who apologized to Muslims for America’s past sins and made the occupied territories the centerpiece of his middle-east diplomacy. And where are the mea culpas of such institutionalized bastions of Jewish liberalism as the Reform movement and its assorted secular appendages? They will probably respond the same way they did to the obvious failures of pressuring Israel to keep ceding more territory to appease Arab demands and ignore the larger picture of growing fundamentalist hatred of the Jewish presence in a Muslim map - with stunning silence. Way before Obama was a blip on organized Jewish radar, the argument was that evicting Jews from Gaza was a good thing because even if it didn’t work, the world would then understand that Israel had done everything it could and now the fault would clearly be in the Arab court. Of course it turned out exactly the opposite. That delusional reasoning is the same that allowed Jews to ignore the actual credentials of the Obama candidacy: the editor of the Harvard Law Review and adjunct at the U. of Chicago Law School with no paper trail; the lawyer who never wrote yet managed to produce two acclaimed best-sellers without crediting any professional assistance; the man whose entrance was gained and tuition paid at Ivy League schools by questionable sources; the student whose grades were never released by any school he had attended; the church-goer who denied ever hearing any of the Reverend Wright’s fulminating screeds; the community leader whose friends were radicals, and most significantly, the man who was willing to cut himself off from those long associations once they proved problematic to his political expediency. The hollowness at Obama’s core is a fitting rebuke to the blind-sidedness of Jews who exhibit perspicacity and capability in so many endeavors yet harbor a morbid fear of being perceived as people who deign to vote their actual self-interest. Abortion trumped Israel as an essential Jewish voting point - it has been treated with cynical disdain and relegated to the bottom of the heap of the health bill. Has any lesson finally been learned?
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