I spent the last week of October speaking to thousands of Romney supporters in four “battleground” states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. I travelled with my Salem Radio Network colleagues Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved and the actor Jon Voight, one of the few Hollywood stars who are a politically outspoken conservatives.
During the tour, I often wished that every American Jew could have seen and heard what the tour participants said about Jews and Israel and how much time they devoted to Jews and Israel. The two non-Jews, Jon Voight and Hugh Hewitt, and whoever was the moderator (in no instance was it a Jew), emphasized support for Israel and the Jews — in combating Islamic anti-Semitism, in acknowledging the debt of America and the Western world to the Jews, with regard to the Jewish origins of Christianity — as much as they did any American domestic issue, including the economy.
Moreover, the audiences, overwhelmingly composed of non-Jews, reacted in kind. They cheered at least as enthusiastically when Jews and Israel were mentioned as they did for any other issue dear to conservative hearts, such as small government, lower taxes, oil independence, a strong military, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, etc.
I wondered what most Jews — meaning Jewish liberals — would think if they had they seen this. Would they think it was an act? That it was done to procure Jewish votes? That Democratic-party rallies would similarly focus on support for Jews and Israel?
I pondered these three possibilities.
Surely a Jewish liberal could not have dismissed the time and attention paid to Jews and Israel as inauthentic. What would be the purpose? If people put on an act, there has to be a reason for doing so. But there was no such reason, since virtually everyone present at each of the rallies was a fellow Republican. One doesn’t put on an act among like-minded people. When you’re with 1,500 other people who share your politics and your values, you are at your most authentic.
Was it done to procure Jewish votes? That is as implausible as the first explanation. There were few Jews present, and every one of them was already on board as a Romney voter.
And what about explanation number three — that the same passionate support of Jews and Israel would be expressed by the speakers and audience at Democratic-party rallies?
This, too, is implausible.
We all had one opportunity to see how Democrats feel about Israel when we observed the delegates at the Democratic National Convention split down the middle when they voted on whether to include mention of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the Democratic-party platform.