Nikki Haley’s pandering to Jewish Republicans is bad for Israel: opinion

Nikki Haley is not a stupid politician. She only plays one when she indulges in wealthy Jews.

That’s what he was doing in Las Vegas making out with the Adelson-funded Republican Jewish Coalition and its members telling them that bipartisanship is bad for Israel.

“I want all Democrats to support Israel,” he declared, but apparently only on his terms and issues.

He feigned outrage at how AIPAC could continue to deal with Democrats who had the audacity to support the Iran nuclear deal, especially by inviting them to its annual policy conference. AIPAC should banish and reject all supporters of the “disastrous Iran deal,” he said. And if it were up to her, Israel shouldn’t waste time waiting for “an American green light” to attack Iran because “it might never come.”

Another war in the Middle East is not your problem. If Iran and its allies launch thousands of missiles at Israel, he is confident that none will be able to reach his home in South Carolina.

Nikki Haley speaks during a press conference at the UN headquarters in Manhattan, New York, USA, September 20, 2018 (Credit: JEENAH MOON / REUTERS)

I do not question the sincerity of her vigorous defense of Israel during her two years as a United States envoy to the United Nations. When he resigned, a joke said that it meant Israel would be left with only one ambassador there. Jewish groups, mainly conservatives, repeatedly invited and cheered on her based on her record at the UN, none other than AIPAC.

So it’s puzzling that she attacked the pressure group. Maybe it’s because of his audience last weekend at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas: Miriam Adelson, Sheldon’s widow, who cut off support for AIPAC because she backed the two-state solution.

Sheldon Adelson was so outraged that he even started his own competing group, the American Council of Israel. The Adelsons are the largest contributors to the Republican Party and the RJC. The current leader of AIPAC, Howard Kohr, is the former deputy director of the RJC’s predecessor, the Jewish National Coalition.

The disgraced former leaders of the US and Israel have been shunned by voters and are under criminal clouds as their successors attempt to rebuild the bipartisan basis of US-Israel relations, one that Haley apparently believes has not been the case. sufficiently damaged.

He lunged forward to undermine the consensus that has long been so critical to Israel’s support in the United States. Miriam Adelson spoke to RJC about the need to work “across the hall” and “fight for greater unity among Jews,” but the focus of her and her husband’s political contribution suggests a one-sided definition of unity.

Adelson’s money has played an influential role in that destructive polarization, but the real father of the movement is Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House worked closely with Netanyahu, an ambitious and forthcoming Israeli politician in the 1980s, and like-minded friends at AIPAC to transform the bipartisan consensus for Israel into a highly partisan wedge issue.

Gingrich understood that winning Jewish votes was a long shot: Jews still overwhelmingly vote for Democrats despite all that Republican love, but in reality he was looking for campaign money. The Adelsons are currently the largest Republican contributors and were the largest contributors to the previous president’s campaign.

Despite Senator Ted Cruz’s efforts to take credit last weekend for the former boy’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, well-placed insiders at the White House say it was a phone call. by Sheldon Adelson urging that the measure be announced quickly.

By presenting itself as the party that loves Israel the most, and with the support of Netanyahu’s right-wing government, the Republicans have managed to drive the gap so deeply that support from Democratic and Jewish voters has been dwindling to the point where the new Israeli government is really worried and openly trying to change course.

AIPAC took a right turn in the 1980s following the election of Ronald Reagan and aligned itself with the Likud and Netanyahu.

Lobbying for the organization continued to be bipartisan under Tom Dine, but the mindset persisted as influential forces in the group pushed to refocus attention on the “proactive” executive branch, as Reagan was very friendly and, far from the Congress, it was a “reactive” branch. that was just a sideshow.

That proved problematic when Democratic administrations returned and AIPAC tried to deny its Republican allegiance. Democratic criticism grew louder, especially as Netanyahu veered further to the right.

One result was the growing influence of J Street, a left-wing lobby demanding that Israel do more to make peace with the Palestinians.

At their meeting in Las Vegas, would-be Republicans rallied, extolling their love for Israel and condemning the disloyalty of the Democrats. “President Joe Biden has turned his back on Israel,” said former Vice President Mike Pence. His former boss appeared on video and modestly declared: “No president has ever been a best friend of the State of Israel.”

None of the speakers tried to explain why Jews consistently overwhelmingly vote and donate Democrats and few are ever elected on a Republican ballot.

Haley and the Adelsons’ point of view on bipartisanship requires sharing their point of view on a number of critical issues in the Middle East. It doesn’t work that way. All advocacy groups understand the need to work across party lines and that today’s opponents could easily be tomorrow’s allies. As Dine explained, “AIPAC would soon fail as a lobby and collapse if it depended on one party today and the other tomorrow.”

No one will agree on all issues all the time (Iran’s nuclear weapons and settlements are prime examples), but demanding blind obedience suggests other motives, starting with high-ranking partisanship. What Haley and many supporters like her don’t understand is that working across party lines is the secret to Israel’s success on Capitol Hill. His formula is one for disaster.

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