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April 21, 1989 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-21

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Political Elite

Continued from Page 10

York primary, the elite did
nothing.
As a result, there was no
Jewish compensation for the
damage attacking Jackson
caused those politicians in
the black community. Gore,
one of the Democratic Party's
coming stars, certainly
remembers what the Jewish
elite did for him in New York.
Sadly, it is likely that this
memory will color what he
will do for the Jews.
The Jackson case il-
lustrates the costs of elite in-
action. First, bad politics cost
Jewish power. Failure to
isolate Jackson allowed
Jackson supporters to gain
power in the Democratic Par-
ty hierarchy, reducing Jewish
influence and control over
party policy concerning
Israel.
Second, poor politics _cost
Jewish political opportunity.
Failure to support Biden and
Gore meant that Jews were
not willing to make the price
of treating Jackson gently
more expensive than the costs
of confronting him on the
issues.
As a result, Jews are no
longer as meaningful a
political force in the
Democratic Party.
Jackson could have been,
indeed, should have been,
stopped in 1985.. He was on
the brink of the abyss,
and the elite had the means,
the opportunity, and the
motive to push Jackson over
the edge. Instead, due to the
Jewish elite's failure to
take aggressive, hard-headed
political action, Jackson's
cloud will darken American
politics for years to come.
The principles which seem
to guide the Jewish elite's
practice of politics appears to
be a function of the way
Jewish institutions are struc-
tured. Internally, these in-
stitutions place significant
emphasis upon avoiding con-
flict. In fact, this institutional
ethic is so strong that some
have been driven - to deny
political reality simply to
avoid acknowledging that
conflict exists.
This institutional bias may
be a vestige of pre-1948
history, a disfunctional relic
of the age when Jews lived at
the sufferance of the powerful
gentile. Consequently, the
very structure of Jewish com-
munal organizations pro-
motes individuals more adept
at denying the existence of in-
tracommunal conflict than at
aggressively resolving such
conflict to the Jews' benefit.
Reform must occur if Jews
are to meet the Arab
challenge. Yassir Arafat's
American offensive is not the
product of a new-found desire

.

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FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 1989

for peace and coexistence. In-
stead, it is but part of a well
thought out strategic plan. As
Abu Iyad wrote in 1977:
"After twenty years of hard
struggle . . . we have in fact
lost ground. Israel now oc-
cupies all of Palestine, not
just half . . . the main cause
of our failure has been our
ignorance of western society
and of the complex demo-
cratic mechanisms that
operate there!"
The PLO has learned to
manipulate those "complex
democratic mechanisms!'
American Arab sympathizers
have developed an anti-Israel
coalition among the "pro-
gressive" wing of the
Democratic. Party, left-wing
Christian clergy, college "in-
tellectuals" and the media.
This coalition has scored
major political victories. Proof
of Arab effectiveness is the

Failure to isolate
Jackson reduced
Jewish influence
and control over
Democratic Party
policy concerning
Israel.

fact that even some good-
hearted American Jews
believe that the war in Eretz
Israelis over Arab rights,
instead of over the Jewish
right to sovereignty in the
ancestral homeland.
Logically, there is no reason
for Arab political success in
the American arena. The
belief systems that drive anti-
Israel political behavior are
founded upon ideas that are
the antithesis of Western
political values and institu-
tions. Those philosophical
and religious principles that
have served as the foundation
for the war against Israel are
the same principles that led
to book-burning, the Gulag,
the murder of "blasphemers!'
That the anti-Israel coali-
tion grows and prospers under
such conditions means that
Jewish political elites have
failed. Failure is not the pro-
duct of external forces, but
rather the product of the
elite's institutional political
ethic.
Our elite seems to have
forgotten that politics,- to
paraphrase Clauswitz, is
simply war by other means.
In politics, as in war,
courage, discipline, and
organization are crucial. The
times demand that Jewish
elites practice rational, hard-
ball politics, not the soft, fre-
quently irrational politics of
the past. The average Jew
cannot continue to bear the
cost of political failure. ❑ .

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