Increasing numbers of Jewish Democrats disillusioned with Obama

by Isi Leibler
December 4, 2014

It has been reported that American Jews still voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party in the recent midterm congressional elections. At the same time, there is mounting evidence that increasing numbers of American Jews at the grassroots level have become disillusioned and in many cases outraged by the shabby manner in which the Obama administration has treated Israel over the past six months. This, despite the fact that the American Jewish leadership establishment, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, had failed to criticize the biased and frequently hostile remarks against Israel personally expressed repeatedly by President Barack Obama.

Yet in contrast to the establishment, the Zionist Organization of America has emerged over the last year as the front-runner of American Jewish organizations, which consistently condemned the administration with respect to its Israel policies.

This has resulted in many rank-and-file American Jews, disappointed by the embarrassing silence of their leaders, no longer considering the ZOA to be a marginal or extremist group.

The credit for much of this lies with the organization’s indefatigable leader, Mort Klein, who succeeded in transforming what had become an almost bankrupt organization into a dynamic political machine. Klein was always nonplussed at being dismissed as an extremist and radical right-winger.

Today, his followers are comparing him to Hillel Kook and the Bergson Group, who in the 1940s orchestrated a public campaign to pressure the U.S. government to adopt action to save Jews being murdered during the Holocaust. Initially, he too was condemned by the Jewish establishment as an extremist. In what is now regarded as a permanent blemish on the reputation of the American Jewish leadership, Rabbi Stephen Wise, then head of the Jewish community, warned against antagonizing the Roosevelt administration and introduced the most extreme measures to try to muzzle Kook — even seeking to deport him.

The recent ZOA dinner, attended by over 1,100 people, reflects the growing influence of the organization. The keynote speakers included potential Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, who had recently made an enormous impact on the Jewish community. In a widely reported address to a Christian group, despite prior knowledge that the audience contained hundreds of Hezbollah supporters, Cruz insisted that Israel was the only state in the Middle East that safeguarded its Christian population. When the audience heckled him, the senator responded, “If you will not stand with Israel, I will not stand with you,” and demonstrably stormed out of the meeting.

In his ZOA address, Cruz praised Klein, who suffers from Tourette syndrome, describing him as a man with “the heart of the lion and the voice of Moses.” He bitterly condemned the Obama administration’s policy toward Israel and pledged “not only to reimpose sanctions on Iran, but strengthen them” and insisted that unless Iran dismantled all 19,000 centrifuges and ceased being a promoter of terrorism, “we do not have a deal.”

An additional keynote address was provided by Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel, the most consistent enthusiastic evangelical supporter of Israel. Hagee ridiculed Obama for continually describing U.S.-Israel relations as unbreakable. ”He knows it is unbreakable because he’s been trying to break it the last five years,” Hagee said. He also described Obama as “the most anti-Semitic president ever.” Hagee’s controversial statements were strongly condemned by other Jewish groups, with Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League describing his remarks as “offensive and misplaced.”

As in previous years, the dinner was attended by major Jewish philanthropists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, Las Vegas Sands President Michael Leven and many others.

What provided significant political overtones to this dinner was the inclusion of Professor Alan Dershowitz as a keynote speaker. Dershowitz indisputably represents one of Israel’s staunchest and most articulate public supporters. Yet, he is a fully committed Democrat and until recently, supported the president, insisting that he was a committed supporter of Israel.

In recent months Dershowitz appears to have become increasingly exasperated with Obama’s Israel policies. It would have been difficult a year or so ago to visualize him sharing a platform with Pastor Hagee or even the right-wing Republican Senator Cruz. Yet, in his remarks, Dershowitz referred to Cruz as his former student at Harvard Law School and a friend. He stated: “Israel must always remain a bipartisan issue. … And we must explicitly express appreciation and admiration for those who stand up for the state of the Jewish people, even if we disagree with their other political, theological or social views.”

Dershowitz then stressed that “to be anti-Israeli is to be anti-American” and bitterly condemned “the moral equivalence which the president and Obama administration officials made between innocent Israeli victims of Hamas and Hamas terrorists killed in Israeli military strikes.”

Aside from Dershowitz, a number of other prominent Jews who could by no stretch of the imagination be described as “right-wing” or extremist, have displayed their exasperation with Obama. For example, Michael Steinhardt, the mega-philanthropist and co-founder of Taglit-Birthright Israel, who had actually chaired the Democratic Leadership Council that propelled Bill Clinton to the presidency, hosted Cruz at his investment firm’s office.

Ken Bialkin and Richard Stone, both former heads of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, participated in the ZOA dinner. James Tisch, another former chairman of the Presidents Conference, hosted Cruz at a lunch preceding the ZOA dinner at which Mort Zuckerman, the owner of the New York Daily News and a strong Democratic backer, was also present.

Taken together, these elements suggest that there are major rumblings against the Obama administration within the Jewish community.

In this context, the ZOA can no longer be dismissed as a fringe or extremist group and is emerging as a genuine and vigorous component of the Jewish political mainstream. Indeed, due to the apparent paralysis and unwillingness of the Jewish establishment to speak up, the ZOA today represents the principal organization speaking out on behalf of committed Jews and pro-Israeli forces.

Klein says, “We are frequently called right-wing” but “the ZOA is not right-wing. We are simply right.”

The reality is that he reflects the right-wing nationalist sentiment of Israeli policy. His views tend to parallel the hard-line right-wing elements of Likud and of Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi.

But this is somewhat irrelevant because the primary contribution of the ZOA is to project to Americans the case for Israel and condemn and expose the inappropriate policies adopted by the Obama administration, which seeks to whitewash the PA and condemn Israel.

The remarkable growth in liberal support for the ZOA over the past 12 months, combined with the public identification of some of the most prominent Jewish philanthropic and intellectual adherents to the Democratic Party, unquestionably suggests that many American Jews traditionally supporting the Democratic Party, at this late stage, are reacting against the Obama administration’s shabby treatment of Israel and concerned with the lack of response of the official leadership.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at

He may be contacted at

December 4, 2014 | 12 Comments »

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  1. Yidvocate Said:

    And you can add that to the many achievements of the Obamanation administration.

    actually it goes back 30 years to the reagan years. Its the product of allowing china free access to US and EU markets with no corresponding plan to deal with the inevitable dislocation to the economy.

  2. Many Americans are Blind, Deaf and Dumb
    We are in an Islamic Cultural War. That has no Borders
    Islamic Culture must destroy Western Culture OR
    Western Culture must destroy Islamic Culture.
    Stealth Jihad will destroy America!
    It is a Genocidal War.
    Islamic Culture = Evil: Western Culture = Civilization
    Choose Freedom or Slavery
    This is a battle between Light and Darkness or Good and Evil or Knowledge and Slavery
    Decided which side you are on?

  3. Has Alan Dershowitz ever made a clear, unambiguous public statement directly criticizing Obama’s policies toward Israel and Iran or express second thoughts about endorsing O twice? If he has I’d like to see it. But I don’t think Liebler or anyone else can find one that’s in black or white. BTW: Empty gestures (like standing next to Hagee)don’t count.

  4. Many Jewish Democrats have turned against Obama simply because of buyers’ remorse, not because they have seen the light which is that Obama is not only anti-Semitic but inherently evil.Obama not fulfilling their fantasies they will probably turn to Hillary in the next election as SHmuel HALevy 2 mentioned in his post.

  5. Stand Up for Israel

    Texas Longhorn cattle fit and thrive in hostile desert environments. This is an educational, cattle-crossbreeding and research project that is helping Israel, Jordan and East Africa.

    1. Longhorns can eat invasive shrubs and cacti (decreasing fire hazards).
    2. Longhorns have higher reproduction rates and very low loss rates.
    3. Longhorns have excellent calving and mothering abilities.
    4. Longhorns solve the problem of rising feed costs.
    5. Longhorns protect their calves from predators.
    6. Longhorns are highly resistant to diseases.
    7. Longhorns will use less land and less water.

    Problems in Israel Beef Cattle industry

    1. Their European cattle are failing to thrive in Israel’s desert environment.
    2. Poor disease resistance, genetic diseases and high losses due to predators.
    3. Soaring feed costs, as they do not eat shrubs, tree leaves, or cactus.
    4. Calf losses as high as 30% and low reproduction rates.
    5. Poor mothering skills and birth complications.

    To solve these problems we are creating a small self-sustainable herd of Texas Longhorn cattle.

    We will be using 22nd century cattle handle methods called, Stockmanship and ecological grazing techniques called Strategic Grazing. Both will be taught to Israeli, East Africa and Jordanian Ranchers. See below…

    Stockmanship or a Method of Creating Happy Cows or Cattle

    A method of moving cattle without stress, it is a method that uses the cow or herd’s body space. Just like in people when someone gets to close to you, you move away from the pressure. Cattle do the very same thing. We use pressure and release with the cattle simple by moving into their personal space and then releasing the pressure by moving out. This causes then to yield to the pressure and move off in the direction we asked for. This can be use for any kind of herd animal. Once the pressure is released the animal feels relief and stays in the pasture section where you placed them, until you move them again. Animals demonstrate a positive and pleasurable response to this method of movement, “Stockmanship”.

    This method of animal handling also improves meat quality, increasing tenderness, increasing meat quantity. It decreases disease and meat deformity and discoloring. There are fewer dark cutters therefore, 30% more kosher cattle.

    Strategic Grazing

    A rotating method of grazing using every part of your pasture, one section at a time allowing grass and plant life to restore itself.

    Dividing your pasture into equal parts and graze your herd in each area separately before moving on to the next. Resting grazed areas for days, weeks or even months, restores plant life. This can be done with electric fencing or even better with “Stockmanship”.

    Robin Rosenblatt M.Sc. Hebrew University, School of Agriculture
    The Longhorn Project
    22 Yarnall Place
    Redwood City, CA 94063
    Tel: 650.631.9270
    Nonprofit 501(c) 3 #74-3177354

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  6. NormanF Said:

    I’m a conservative. Have been for a long time.

    A- What are you trying to conserve
    B- Jews are so insignificant in the US whatever they vote will have no bearing on election results.

    C- A majority of American Jews will not shed a tear if Israel disappeared tomorrow. According to all polls I’ve seen

  7. I’m a conservative. Have been for a long time.

    Quite frankly, American Jews continue a blind loyalty to the Left not realizing its turned against Israel.

    Its that bad…

  8. Morton Klein has done a magnificent job on a tight budget for a long long time. Jewish organizations need to study the ZOA and understand how to advocate for Israel, for a change.

    His attorney there Ms. Tuchman has worked her tail off, protecting abused Jewish students on American college campuses for one, working impossible hours doing extraordinary work and deserves to come out of the shadows as a true Jewish American heroine. Congratulations to both of them and the organization.