The West seems to be in the process of switching sides when it comes to Israel and Iran. Negotiations that will lift sanctions on Iran are in the final stages; meanwhile European leaders are discussing the imposition of sanctions on Israel.
Moreover, under President Obama, the U.S. is no longer committed to ending Iran’s nuclear weapons program which represents an existential threat to Israel. Instead, it is prepared to sign a deal that will pave the way for Iran to complete the development of such weapons while enjoying the fruits of the end of sanctions. The deal is also intended to preempt an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program, something Obama surely would not tolerate. In an important sense, we have become more Iran’s protector than Israel’s.
Under these circumstances, it has become increasingly important to demonize the leader whom the Israeli people have once again elected. This need, coupled with old-fashioned sour grapes, helps explain the accusation that Benjamin Netanyahu used a racist appeal to win this week’s election.
The accusers point to Netanyahu’s statement to his supporters that Israeli-Arabs voters “are coming out in droves to the polls; left-wing organizations are busing them out.” But why is it racist to try to get out the vote by pointing out that a bloc of voters that overwhelmingly supports one’s opponent is voting in droves?
I have heard several leftists say that the racism of Netanyahu’s warning becomes apparent if one transports it to American politics and substitutes Blacks for Arabs. The warning would then be that African-Americans are voting in droves.
But that statement is no more racist than an exhortation to the African-American community to turn out the vote. Both statements rely on the same view of African-Americans, namely that they are extremely likely to vote for Democrats.
Nothing more is implied. There is no suggestion that African-Americans shouldn’t vote or that anyone should interfere with their exercise of the ballot. There is simply a recognition, shared by both political parties, that they will vote a certain way as a group.
Now let’s substitute “tea party” for “Arabs” and assume that liberal Democrats consider the tea party a lily-white organization, which surely they do. Would it then be racist for liberal Democrats to warn that the tea party is turning out for an election in droves? Of course not.
Israel’s enemies have long held that Zionism is a form of racism. The U.N. General Assembly once passed a resolution saying this, though the resolution was revoked years later.
Jeremiah Wright is a leading American exponent of the view that Zionism is racist. Obama must have heard Wright, his spiritual leader, preach this lie frequently. He may believe it.
In any case, as Obama pushes the U.S. to switch sides in the Middle East, it’s not surprising to see the move accompanied by charges of racism against Israel’s popularly elected leader and the voters who helped him win.
With Obama causing the U.S. to switch sides in the Middle East, we can expect the American left to employ the race card against Israel.