Democrats have always enjoyed overwhelming support from Jewish voters and, in many cases, very substantial financial backing for liberal candidates and causes.
Over the course of presidential elections for the last 50 years, there has been only one occasion when the Democrat candidate received less than 60 percent of the Jewish vote.
In more than half of those races majorities ranged above 75 percent and in one of those years, nine out of 10 Jewish voters cast their ballots for the Democrat nominee.
The address to Congress last Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have marked the turning point in that historical trend.
Never miss a local story.
It is very hard for me to imagine any American Jew who was not at least a little offended by the behavior of more than 50 congressional Democrats who shunned the leader of one of our nation’s most important allies.
That goes double for their chosen spokesperson — the irrational and petulant former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Declaring the prime minister’s speech as “insulting to the intelligence of the United States” moves to very near the top of the long list of all the reckless and inane things she has ever uttered.
And please don’t try to excuse her colleagues or her own behavior on some theory of protocol. What Netanyahu had to say about the threat the world faces from the most dangerous country on the earth transcended any and all formalities.
The prime minister stood at the podium of one of the most sacred places of freedom on earth as the real leader of the free world, and that brings us to President Obama.
Netanyahu demonstrates a remarkable understanding of international affairs that has somehow escaped the grasp of the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military force on the planet.
Among the very many statements the prime minister made exhibiting notable clarity of what is at risk was this: “Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about. Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted.”
Our president once assured us that he would not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon and that he would never take military options off the table in negotiations with the world’s most threatening terrorist state.
That assurance was comforting to all peace-loving people everywhere, but likely none more than the people of Israel — the nation that Iranian leaders have said they would wipe off the face of the earth.
But that was in 2008 in the second presidential debate when he was trying to win enough votes to move into the White House.
That was then. Now we are hearing a very different story from President Obama.
After Netanyahu’s speech, administration officials responded to key points of contention that the prime minister had raised in arguing that current negotiations were on track to produce a bad deal for Israel.
Obama’s team responded that a better deal isn’t realistic because Iran will not accept it.
What they should have said was to echo the president’s promises from years ago and follow it up with a reminder that the option at our country’s command is to obliterate Iran’s capacity to develop a nuclear bomb.
Why is the president not making that clear to Iran? An even better question is, why are we considering anything less in the “negotiations”?
As the time draws nearer to the election of the next president of the United States, it would seem to me the long history of Jewish voters walking into the voting booth and habitually pulling the Democrat lever should finally come to an end.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. firstname.lastname@example.org