A rather predictable group of Jewish right-wing supporters of Israel including William Kristol, Rachel Abrams, and Noah Pollak, along with their strange bedfellows allies in the end-of-days evangelical Christian ultra-right, in this case led by Gary Bauer, have apparently founded an organization called the ?Emergency Committee for Israel.? And what “emergency” would that be? Well, by the looks of things it’s certainly the emergency of not having a Republican president or Congress, since the group’s efforts seem to be entirely targeted at Democrat candidates for Congress in the upcoming November election. In other words, the ?emergency? would seem to be the election and the intention would be to use bizarre scare tactics about ?anti-Israel? policies of the Obama administration and other Democrats as a scare tactic to promote Republican candidates.
All’s fair in love and whatsit, I suppose, but who would the actual targeted voters be in such a campaign? Jewish voters are mostly Democrats and they are unlikely to be convinced that Obama-supporting Democratic candidates for Congress should be rejected because of Obama’s policies towards Israel. The long-established fact is that most Jews are Democrats and they mostly don’t vote based on Israel. Does anybody really expect a large number of them to suddenly vote Republican because Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer say Obama is anti-Israel? I suppose the more plausible target would be the evangelical Christians, but how many of them would have been tempted to vote for any of these Democrats in the first place? Wouldn’t the teabagging orgy of Obama-hatred be sufficient to bring them out anyway? So while the structure of the organization seems entirely geared around the midterm election, the logic of its strategy isn’t evident at all. I mean, whose votes are they really trying to influence?
It’s certainly all very anti-Obama. And maybe in the end you don’t have to have a plausible electoral strategy for actually influencing the outcomes of congressional races to justify a Republican attack on Obama, or any Democratic president for that matter, on any basis whatsoever. Might as well throw Israel into the mix, along with the death panels, the debt crisis, the BP oil spill and the defection of Lebron James Did I forget anything? Oh yes, the failure to win the Olympics for Chicago. That too. So perhaps this new ?emergency committee? is just another way of getting some rich people to pony up for a campaign against Obama and the Democrats on yet another issue among many (that almost no Americans base their vote on anyway), simply to pile on the pressure in a gigantic war of attrition by the right against the left. That is almost a satisfactory explanation. But not quite.
Perhaps it will be more accurate to say, as it turns out, that the ?emergency committee? is not simply a familiar group of Republicans, and therefore predictably and indeed professionally anti-Obama, but in fact proves to be a group that is much more deeply pro-occupation and anti-peace. In other words, what if the ?emergency? in question is not the election and targeting Democrats like Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania but rather the new consensus in the Washington foreign policy and indeed military establishments that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that ends the occupation is a vital national security interest of the United States? What if this constitutes an effort by a neoconservative and evangelical coalition to try to systematically push back against the idea of the centrality of peace for the American national interest? What if all this electioneering is really a red herring and the long-term idea is to turn back the clock to the days when linkage was generally thought to be a dubious concept proposed by questionable “Arabists” lurking around the CIA and State Department, rather than an established and consensus strategic understanding?
If this ?emergency committee? isn’t it, some such group or coalition of existing groups will certainly have to coalesce soon to challenge this idea because it has gained so much traction that only oddballs of this variety openly challenge it (and that too, mostly in the context of Republicans critiquing a Democratic administration, as is their job, therefore lacking the odor of real conviction). The idea has even strongly taken root in some of the mainstream and center-right Jewish pro-Israel organizations who might in the past have been sympathetic to the attitudes of this ?emergency committee,? but will now find themselves either largely indifferent to its activities or quite possibly at odds with them.
At any rate, something tells me the ?emergency? will not be over even if Republicans take over the House and possibly even the Senate in November (which I don’t think they will). It seems more likely to me that the “emergency” (alarmist terminology reminiscent of the ur-neocon ?Committee on the Present Danger,? is it not?) is mostly represented by the growing national and international consensus that peace is essential, and that peace, whether right wing Jewish supporters of the occupation and Armageddon-yearning Bible bashers like it or not, in fact requires ending the occupation. The very worst part of this ?emergency? is a growing understanding that this is not only in the Palestinian, Arab, international and American (gasp) vital national interests, but that it is essential for Israel as well. If that it isn’t an emergency for supporters of the occupation, then I don’t know what is.