Jews By The Numbers

Putting some statistics to the thesis I set forth over the weekend (“The End of the Israel Lobby”), Harold Meyerson in the Post discusses some recent and relevant poll data. It’s essential reading. The Pew Research Center updates its landmark 2013 study of American Jews in a report released in late August.

Meyerson’s takeaway:

One of the most striking, but not surprising, results of the Pew Research Center survey is the disenchantment that many, perhaps most, American Jews feel toward Israel. No nation can control another people and occupy its land for 48 years, as the Israelis have the Palestinians, without brutalizing and coarsening themselves, eroding many of the high moral hopes that American Jews once invested in Israel. Some older Jews are still attached to the Israel of 1948, to the scrappy but long-vanished Israel of kibbutz egalitarianism — one reason, perhaps, that three Jewish members from Florida, home to so many Jewish retirees, oppose the Iran deal. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, Israel’s values have become less universal and more dangerously tribal — appealing to the more tribal and self-segregating sensibilities of America’s Orthodox, and less and less to the more liberal and cosmopolitan sensibilities of the American Jewish majority. Most American Jews still feel what Catholics term a preferential option for the poor, for immigrants, for minorities. They don’t see such values in today’s Israel — or in American Jewish orthodoxy, either.

With disproportionate financial support from Orthodox and politically conservative Jews, much of the American Jewish establishment has aligned itself with Netanyahu against not just the Iran deal but also President Obama and American liberalism, too. In the process, it has also aligned itself against a clear majority of American Jews.

Pretty much what I said, except his is much better written and explained.

BREAKING: Iran Deal At 41

Three more Democratic senators announced their support of President Obama’s Iran deal, bringing support for the deal to 41, sufficient to block a resolution against the deal from coming to the Senate floor.

Politico has the details:

President Barack Obama now has sufficient support in the Senate to reject a motion disapproving of his nuclear deal with Iran, after three key Democrats said they would back the accord on Tuesday morning.

Support from Sens. Gary Peters, Ron Wyden and Richard Blumenthal means Obama has yes votes from 41 Democrats, enough to deny the GOP a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes, though it’s not yet clear how Senate votes will be structured over the next two weeks.

Cummings: Yes On Iran Deal

Elijah Cummings today announced that he supports the agreement negotiated with Iran that has become the latest excuse for Republicans to oppose Barack Obama. All three actual and potential candidates in th Senate race now support the deal.

Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings said Tuesday he will support the controversial nuclear agreement with Iran brokered by the Obama administration and other world leaders, arguing that a rejection of the deal would “likely cause more harm to the United States, American interests, and our allies.”

Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, becomes the third member of Maryland’s mostly Democratic congressional delegation to back the agreement. Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats, also have announced their support.

“The fundamental issue for both the Congress and the American people to evaluate is clear: What is the alternative to moving forward with the very real restrictions placed by the [agreement] on the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon?” Cummings said in a statement. “Time is of the essence in answering this question. Some of our best nuclear scientists have concluded that without the approval and implementation of the [deal], Iran may be able to produce an operational nuclear weapon within months.”

In other Iran deal news today, two Democratic senators, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware announced their support for the deal, bringing the number of Democrats supporting the deal to 3233. We still haven’t heard from Ben Cardin yet, though.

Van Hollen Likes The Iran Deal

Congressman Chris Van Hollen has issued a lengthy statement assessing his view of the terms of the proposed deal negotiated by the U.S. and other nations with Iran. Key points:

In my view, opponents of the agreement have failed to demonstrate how we will be in a better position if Congress were to block it. Without an agreement, the Iranians will immediately revert to their status as a threshold nuclear weapons state. In other words, they immediately pose the threat that Prime Minister Netanyahu warned about in his U.N. speech. At the same time, the international consensus we have built for sanctions, which was already starting to fray, would begin to collapse entirely. We would be immediately left with the worst of all worlds – a threshold nuclear weapons state with diminished sanctions and little leverage for the United States.

I disagree with the view that we can force the Iranians back to the negotiating table to get a better deal. All of our European partners have signed on to the current agreement. Consequently, the U.S. would be isolated in its quest to return to negotiations. And in the unlikely event that we somehow returned to negotiations, the critics have not presented a plausible scenario for achieving a better agreement in a world where fewer sanctions means less economic pressure.
The bottom line is that if Congress were to block the agreement and the Iranians were to resume nuclear enrichment activities, the only way to stop them, at least temporarily, would be by military action. That would unleash significant negative consequences that could jeopardize American troops in the region, drag us into another ground war in the Middle East, and trigger unpredictable responses elsewhere. Moreover, the United States would be totally isolated from most of the world, including our Western partners. The folly of that go-it-alone military approach would be compounded by the fact that such action would only deal a temporary setback to an Iranian nuclear program. They would likely respond by putting their nuclear enrichment activities deeper underground and would likely be more determined than ever to build a nuclear arsenal.

As it happens, I agree fully with what Van Hollen has said. The idea that there is some mythical “better deal” out there if we only act tough and keep saying no, is a fantasy. Those who hold most firmly to this pretend view of the world are the foreign policy idiots who’ve screwed up pretty much everything over the past 30 years, from the end of the Cold War to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism to the nutty belief that invading Iraq would usher in a new era of American hegemony in the Middle East. They have no credibility. There’s no such thing as a perfect deal, but this deal is as good as we could have hoped for under all the circumstances.

Edwards Hits Van Hollen On Iran Deal

Donna Edwards has renewed her criticism of Chris Van Hollen because he hasn’t yet stated his position on the recent deal regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity. The Sun has the details:

Rep. Donna F. Edwards on Tuesday reissued her criticism of Rep. Chris Van Hollen over the pending nuclear agreement with Iran, arguing in a statement released by her campaign that he is “hiding on the sidelines” on the issue.

“Congressman Van Hollen continues to hold his finger to the wind and flirt with the same position as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz,” Edwards campaign spokesman Benjamin Gerdes said in a statement. “After 14 days, Marylanders deserve to know why Congressman Van Hollen is putting his personal politics ahead of progressive principles.”
Edwards, a Prince George’s County Democrat, issued a similar statement — albeit without the reference to conservative presidential candidates — days after the agreement was first announced. Edwards was an early supporter of the deal.
A Van Hollen spokesman described Edwards’ criticism as “silly” and “desparate.” The spokesman noted that many other Democrats, including Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland are also still studying it.
“You have to wonder about the credibility of a Maryland U.S. Senate candidate who, in a desperate play for cheap political points, is willing to compare responsible legislators like Barbara Mikulski, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen to the likes of Donald Trump,” the spokesman, Erik Dorey, said in a statement. “It’s a silly and cynical display of exactly the kind of politics that shortchanges Maryland voters who deserve better.”

It may be summer, but the effort to distinguish the candidates on substantive grounds never ends. This one is interesting because the criticism isn’t over the substance of the position, but that one candidate didn’t decide fast enough. Hmmmmmm.