According to the most recent Gallup poll, support among Americans for Israel over the Palestinians is at a near all time high. 63% of Americans (more than voted for Barack Obama) support Israel, while only 15% support the Palestinians, with 23% choosing “both/neither/no opinion.”
Despite this overwhelming support, which must come overwhelmingly from American Christians given the percentages, supporters of Israel regularly are smeared with the term “Israel-Firster” by a wide spectrum of fringe players, from neo-Nazis to far leftists.
The term Israel-Firsters is a favorite term of outright anti-Semites like David Duke, who seek to portray American Jews as disloyal. This is just a variation on the age-old anti-semitic theme that Jews cannot be loyal to any country.
But the term is not limited to neo-Nazis and former Klan leaders. The phrase has been used by people and groups who urge a more “balanced” approach to Middle East policy, but who cannot make the argument on the merits, so they seek to paint Israel’s supporters as disloyal. Groups such as The American Educational Trust and people like Michael Scheuer use the term.
In fact, the entire “Israel-Firster” theory is at the core of the complaints about the “Israel Lobby,” the view that it is not possible that Americans come to support Israel on the merits. There must be some sort of Jewish cabal twisting public opinion and policy.
The term also is used by the far left of the Democratic Party. Phillip Weiss of Mondoweiss, a virulently anti-Israel Jewish blogger, uses the term, as does M.J. Rosenberg, who blogs at HuffPo and works for Media Matters. The use of the term by Jews is their way of proving their über loyalty.
Glenn Greenwald used the term just days ago to smear Rep. Anthony Weiner and others in Congress who voiced support for Israel over the Turkish flotilla provocation:
Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack (obviously) but also, revealingly, pronounced: “Even if we are the only country on earth that sees the facts here, the United States should stand up for Israel.” In other words: who cares how isolated it makes us or what harm we suffer? What matters is not American interests, but Israel.
The “Israel-Firster” smear is as old as the oldest hate, so it is not surprising that it rears its ugly head at this time of international trouble.
The fact that the slur is used so frequently by leftist Jews reflects that in the information war against Israel, all is fair in the eyes of the American left.
Update: Joel Engel, who now blogs at The Death of Common Sense, wrote an interesting article for The Weekly Standard in 2004, From Me to Jews, on the ease with which Democrats embraced people like Al Sharpton:
The evidence is overwhelming that acceptable anti-Semitism has moved from right to left on the political continuum, and that its philosophical home now resides in the Democratic party, which has become less the party of liberals than of leftists.
I think the situation is far worse now. Leftist Jews regularly use verbiage and imagery which would be declared to be anti-Semitic if used by non-Jews, because they have lost the war for the hearts and minds of the American public. The reversion to ancient stereotypes and blood-libels is sickening and reflects the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the left-wing of the Democratic Party.
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