George W. Bush is Jewish

POSITIONS : Obama and the Jews

America's Jews are against Obama. ”That is what they say. For eight years it has been said that like the mostly Jewish neoconservatives, most Jews in America support George W. Bush. This old tale is supplemented by a current one: US Jews tended to be McCain.

The reason is always the same: the “bellicose, extremely conservative, reactionary” neoconservatives, although not a Jewish invention, are dominated by Jews. Mainly neo-cons like Wolfowitz and Pearle, both Jews, would have determined Bush's foreign policy. Their influence is attributed to the fact that Bush supports Israel's “hyperactive”, if not to say “aggressive”, military and foreign policy.

The truth is that, according to a May 2008 Gallup poll, 61 percent of American Jews prefer Obama and only 32 percent prefer McCain. With the general electorate, things looked very different: 45 percent for Obama and 43 percent for McCain. These are seemingly astonishing numbers, because Obama has been accused several times, especially by the Clinton camp, that he was actually a Muslim, even a radical one, and that he had close ties to Afro-American fanatics.

Anyone who is even superficially familiar with US history knows that American Jews have been among the Democrats' regular voters since the mid-1930s. It could be said, ironically, that they have democratic genes. For almost 100 years, since 1912 to be precise, they have always favored a majority Democrat, not a Republican, for the White House. Solid majorities, usually more than two-thirds of US Jews, voted that way. Nothing will change this year either, especially since Obama made a pilgrimage to the “Israel Lobby” (AIPAC) the day after his de facto victory over Hillary Clinton and swore something like oaths of loyalty to the Jewish state.

Why not? Like every globally thinking US politician, Obama knows that Israel is his country's only reliable, calculable partner in the Middle East and is one of America's few friends of the world who are independent of the economic cycle. He also knows that Israel alone would prevent the murderous nuclear armament of Iran at the last moment if the USA did not want or did not want to.

So why should Obama alienate a group of voters who are particularly interested in the interests of both his country and his party?

Obama's Middle East policy will be similar to the activist Bill Clinton, whose egocentric foolishness helped spark the second Palestinian intifada in 2000. The failure of this Clinton hyperactivity led to Bush's Israel-Palestine passivity. Obama should have learned from this and choose a middle ground between the two poles. He or McCain will only be successful if the regional actors themselves are ready for peace. Even the USA cannot force a "solution" from outside.

US Jews have a strong bond with Obama and the Democrats. The Jewish Israelis, however, rate the presidential nominees-designate, like the incumbent President Bush, very differently: In June 2008, 46 percent preferred McCain, 20 percent Obama. One day before his visit to Berlin, Obama was in Israel. There was no sign of the Germans' enthusiasm for Obama. The candidate spoke the vocabulary he needed for the domestic election campaign in a wooden and rather insecure manner. Everything was unspontaneous and politically not very binding. That alone counts for Israelis. "Obama left charisma and charm in Chicago," said Israel's most influential TV commentator. The next day, the most intelligent daily in the country, “Haaretz”, called the pop-like jubilation of the Berliners “Obamania”.

The fact is that America's Jews no longer automatically want and do what Israel expects. The emancipation of the diaspora, especially the American, has long been accomplished.

But how did the claim that America's Jews were against Obama come about? Because some Jewish officials are actually critical of Obama, but not hostile. Some officers are equated with the whole. Who is it good for? Those who generally want to put Jews in the corner of troublemakers.

The author teaches modern history at the Bundeswehr University in Munich.

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