Cindy Sheehan is purported to have said that if Israel pulls out of Palestine it will contribute to a reduction in terror. That sounds like a pretty reasonable statement to me. If I hear another white, right-wing, Christian pundit speak for the Jewish community again and call Cindy Sheehan an anti-Semite for that statement, I think I am going to explode. The same goes for the Jewish pundits who are part of a radical minority of Jews in they way they come down on this issue. It is obscene and wrong to call her anti-Semitic, and all Jews in the country should pay close attention to and not forget the arguments that the GOP and its mouthpieces are trying to make on this occasion.
As a member of the Jewish community I can say that it is likely that the vast majority of Jews in this country (76% of whom voted for John Kerry) realize that the separation between George Bush and Cindy Sheehan on the Israel issue is minimal at best. Bush did better with Jews than his predecessors, but to come away in 2004 with just 24% of the Jewish vote, and then to try to play the “religion-card” in this circumstance leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. There is an underlying feeling of anti-Semitism emanating from the person playing the “religion-card”.
A small minority of Jews believe in a manner similar to Republicans and the George Bush administration. They believe that anything goes; the ends justifies the means; ethics is not important as long as you win; caring for the poor, sick, and helpless in the community take a back seat to capitalism, and it is better to get a tax cut during war than to shoulder a heavier weight to prepare our government (and its budget deficit) for our children. Most Jews do not subscribe to this philosophy.
We are by and large Democrats and we by and large share the values of Cindy Sheehan, and to tarnish her as an anti-Semite and associate her with the likes of racist-Republican David Duke, as some have done, is obscene. Some Jews in this small minority may speak out against Cindy Sheehan. While they are entitled to their opinions, they are not entitled to speak for the vast majority of Jews. The voices of this radical minority are much louder right now, and in fact this is a direct result of the Republican Party having a superior message machine and media infrastructure than the Democrats.
A brief history lesson might be instructive as to why the political party in America with a “religion problem” and a “race problem” is the Republican Party. Howard Dean called the Republican Party mainly a “white-Christian party”. One can argue about whether he was tactful or not when he said it, but what he said was essentially true. One of the ONLY demographics Republicans win consistently is white, Christian men. Lucky for them it is a large demographic. Democrats, on the other hand, win with Latinos, blacks, immigrants, gays, and Jews (pretty much everyone else).
These voters are not stupid. They vote the way they do for reasons. Most Jews support Democrats for the very reason that there is no component of racism or religious persecution in that party. Moreover the Democrats by and large believe in peace, social justice, social tolerance, religious tolerance, minimum wages and standards that can improve the lives for the weakest among us, cheaper health care for the sick, dying, and mentally ill, and an education system that works in a manner that is equal for all, and without any external religions pushed on the students.
Most Jews support Cindy Sheehan because she is acting in a manner that is consistent with (and even required by) the bible. She is speaking out for peace in a non-violent manner, and almost shaming the President to finally devise a plan for Iraq. Anyone who would attack her for that is suspect at best. From a Christian perspective you should ask yourself “what would Jesus be doing?” Would he be protesting the war right now or flying a fighter jet to carpet-bomb Fallujah?
The “white-Christian” Republican Party is supported mainly by the “white-Christian” Southerners–the same descendants of former slaveholders, with an only partially changed mentality. Abraham Lincoln called himself a Republican, but everyone knows that the Republican Party of Lincoln is now the Democratic Party, and the descendants of the Democratic Party of the segregated-South, make up the current Republican base.
The anti-Semitic, anti-black Southerners, from Zell Miller, to David Duke, to Tony Perkins, to Trent Lott, to Jesse Helms, to Strom Thurmond, are all remnants of the racist past of the Democratic Party, who are now firmly implanted at the highest levels of the Republican Party. Some of these Republicans have even switched parties in our lifetime from Democrat to Republican, ala Strom Thurmond and David Duke, or switched this millenium ala Zell Miller, providing even further proof that if Abraham Lincoln were alive today he would be called a “liberal” by James Dobson and would be a key component of the Democratic Party.
This shift is not unnoticed to Jews, and apparently other minorities see it as well (88% of African-Americans voted for Kerry). The base of the segregated South is now the Republican base. The family-values, anti-gay, Christian prayer in school crowd, who are a danger to Jewish culture and an overt threat to the African-American descendants of the freed slaves, are the people that should be worried about the label of anti-Semite, not Cindy Sheehan.
Cindy Sheehan’s statement on Israel, if she even made them at all, sounds exactly like Bush’s public position. She wants Israel to leave Palestine and she thinks that will contribute to peace in the Middle East. Guess what, big shocker, SHE IS RIGHT. Israel pulling back will not be an end all to terror, nothing will, but certainly it will help. If Cindy Sheehan understands this fundamental concept, why doesn’t George Bush?