Dick Morris likes to say that if you're a candidate running for office and you're pro-choice, but don't want to make abortion an issue in your election, just say you're pro-environment. People will make the connection on their own. In other words, there are issues in politics which are predictors of other issues.
For me, that issue was always guns. I'm a life-long New Yorker, so I have no hope of ever owning a gun. In fact, I’ve never even shot one, yet I consider gun rights to be in my top 5 issues. I'm pro-gun and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, because I believe in the concept that more (legal) guns equals less crime.
But I use it as a litmus test too. If I want to know whether someone is a real conservative, whether they'll stand up for issues I care about like lower taxes and a strong foreign policy, I always start with guns. Not everyone who is pro-gun will be a conservative -- I learned this while living in Georgia -- but every conservative will be pro-gun.
Similarly, support for Israel becomes an issue that I don't just care about for its own sake, but as a predictor of other issues. This one is much more personal, of course, as I am a Jew who cares about the Jewish state. Still, if I want to know whether a candidate is serious about defense of America, whether they care about American values and American success, I will look to their attitude on Israel. I've never met an anti-Capitalist or an American-apologist who also loves Israel and wants to see it survive. Israel-hatred, or even indifference, always goes hand-in-hand with Socialism and a culture of cowering and surrender.
Nathan Guttman in The Jewish Daily Forward asks whether Israel will be a "big" issue in the upcoming Congressional races. Guttman concludes that people differentiate between a presidential race, which would set the tone of either party on Israel, and the more domestic work of Congress.
Still, one doesn't have to see support for Israel as some sort of barometer for other issues to understand that this support is important. Guttman points out that Republicans support Israel more than Democrats do, but Democrats aren't at all afraid of losing the knee-jerk Jewish vote.
“The issue of Israel never comes up in campaign strategy meetings or in focus groups,” Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein added. Jewish voters who see Israel as a deciding issue are, according to Gerstein, a small minority that in any case leans toward the Republican side.
“Every two years, Republicans say this is the year in which Israel will be an election issue, and it is never so,” Democratic political consultant Matt Dorf stated."
The glee of Democrats that they don't have to support Israel to win is obvious: "But national polling data, to which Democrats happily point, prove that Israel is not a deciding factor for most Jewish voters."
Democrats don't have to support the Jewish state, and can openly say so, to maintain Jewish support. Perhaps these Jews see support of Israel the way I do, as a symbol for support of many other things, but not to vote your own interests because of this is lunacy. If Israel is to exist, it needs American support. When one party checks out of that support, as the Democratic leadership flippantly has done, it must be Jewish voters who send the message that this will not stand. I hope Jews prove the Democrats wrong in their smugness that the Jewish vote won't leave them because of their abandonment of Israel. Now is the time.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at http://www.alarmingnews.com and about life in the city with her husband and baby at http://www.212baby.com. She can be followed on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karolnyc