At Netroots, Rep. Keith Ellison supports Palestinian statehood initiative at UN
(Mondoweiss) -- by Philip Weiss --
Last night at Netroots Nation, I had a conversation with [Democratic] Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in the Congress, and after I congratulated him for his outspokenness on Gaza, he told me of his support for the Palestinian statehood initiative in the United Nations.
"We all say we’re for two states. Everyone is for two states. Well for me this is the rubber meeting the road. Why do we oppose it if we are for the two state solution?
"Because," he said, answering his own question, "we are captured by the Likud and to the right of the Likud. We are not captured by Israel or even by the lobby." Israel, he said, has a more diverse political discourse than the United States, and as for the lobby in the U.S., it's more progressive than people give it credit, it's the Republican right that is making trouble.
"We are captured by the dispensationalists and the dominionists. It’s a myth that the Jewish lobby is doing it. Every single Jewish congressman in the Democratic Party is for two states and for peace. But the Republican party is drivng the debate, and it’s dominionists and dispensationalists who need the Jews of Israel for the end times."
I disagreed with him. His is the conventional dodge of any Democratic or by extension communal Jewish responsibility for Palestinian rightslessness, when support for Israeli maximalism is imbedded in his own party. I told Ellison about the debate between his good friend Brian Baird, a former congressman, and then-congressman Anthony Weiner in New York in March. "Weiner has said racist and intolerant things, including that there's no occupation."...
[Ellison] went on to say, "I’ve been to Sderot, I understand the Israeli security need." He said he has heard some insensitivity toward Israeli concerns from the Palestinian solidarity community.
The fault in Ellison’s thinking is, Rightwingers can't be driving this debate if they did not have adherents inside the Democratic Party; and they do. Anthony Weiner is hardly alone. The Democratic Party is also extreme. And Obama is, according to the Wall Street Journal and Commentary and the Jewish press, afraid of losing Jewish money, which is likely a majority of Democratic giving, if he say, comes out against settlements in the Security Council or supports a Palestinian state in the General Assembly...MORE...LINK
Rep. Ellison: “We are captured by the dispensationalists and the dominionists. It’s a myth that the Jewish lobby is doing it. Every single Jewish congressman in the Democratic Party is for two states and for peace. But the Republican party is drivng the debate, and it’s dominionists and dispensationalists who need the Jews of Israel for the end times.”
From comments at Mondoweiss, by Thomson Rutherford
This is pure political BS. Ellison knows what he has to say to prevent the Jewish Lobby he praises from targeting him for defeat in the next election.
The part about the “dominionists and dispensationalists” calling the tune is precious. I guess that is AIPAC’s (and the Congressional Democrats’s) new camouflage. Blame the Baptists, who don’t know how he votes on AIPAC’s bills and don’t give a frac at election time. Don’t offend the people with the money who know every vote you cast and every word you say...
Over the decades I have been personally acquainted with many hundreds of Evangelicals and Pentecostals, both millennialists and non-millennialists (most low-church Protestants are not millennialists). Here in Texas, I am quite familiar with their political interests and voting patterns.
These people normally vote straight-ticket Republican. They normally don’t even consider voting for a Democrat for Congress. To the extent that specific issues influence their votes, those issues are the economy, “national security,” and domestic social issues. Rarely would Israel and the Middle East bear on their Congressional votes. Most of them would not be able to describe to you what or who AIPAC is.
As an example, Ron Paul was my Congressman for many years in SE Texas. During his 12 terms in the House, Paul has been by far the most vociferous, uncompromising critic of American aid to Israel and the “special relationship.” AIPAC has showered his opponents with campaign money in efforts to defeat him over the years. He typically wins with 70+% of the vote. Now here’s the interesting thing: His district is chock full of low-church Protestants (Evangelicals and Pentecostals). Paul gets 90+% of their vote. If these putative “Zionists” know how Paul regularly votes against AIPAC and Israel, it certainly doesn’t show up in their voting.
As far as I know from my wide personal experience and from my reading on this subject, there is no polling information that would indicate that low-church Protestants in the Southern Bible Belt vote in significant numbers in Congressional elections on the basis of the candidate’s public support for Israel, or lack thereof.
...Absent evidence to support it, I regard such assertions to be BS from Apologists for the Israel Lobby...hasbara.
If Ellison needs to worry about the votes of the low-church Protestants among his constituents, it is more likely to be because of his Muslim religion than his votes for or against AIPAC.