I was dismayed by Peter Fox’s story about Democratic majority for Israel (DMFI), in which DMFI President Mark Mellman stated, “There is no organization that is waging the political battle to make sure that the Democratic Party remains pro-Israel.” (“A New Pro-Israel Democratic Group Looks to Reduce the Political Partisan Divide,” Sept. 13)
I know Mellman hasn’t forgotten about the existence, mission and work of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), the voice of pro-Israel, Jewish Democrats. We are committed to ensuring that the Democratic Party remains pro-Israel but because we can count votes, we know that there is no battle to be waged: Aside from a few outliers whose influence is not spreading, Democratic members of Congress continue to strongly support Israel. The real battle to be waged is within the Republican Party, whose leader, President Donald Trump, regularly engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric that other Republicans refuse to condemn or acknowledge.
JDCA was founded in 2017 immediately after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., when Trump equated neo-Nazis with those peacefully protesting them. This blatant emboldening of anti-Semites and white nationalists directly led to the creation of JDCA.
Unfortunately, Mellman also neglects to mention that Jewish Democrats — and Democrats in general — are strongly supportive of Israel. According to new analysis from Gallup, 95% of Jewish Americans “have favorable views of Israel.” In addition, “American Jews are aware of Trump’s actions [on Israel], and the data clearly show that Jews have strongly positive views of Israel. Nevertheless, Trump’s actions in support of Israel to date have done little to shift Jews’ political allegiance.”
While Fox highlights the range of views that Democrats have regarding the government of Israel’s policies, that does not mean Democratic voters or the party are abandoning Israel. Democrats are deeply concerned about Trump’s policies, but that does not mean we are anti-American.
More so than support for Israel, which remains steady, anti-Semitism from the right is of deep concern for Jewish American voters. Polls show that 73% of Jewish voters are more concerned about their security than they were two years ago, and that 59% at least partially blame Trump for recent mass shootings at synagogues. JDCA remains focused on what is deeply urgent for Jewish Democrats: values-driven advocacy, including ensuring the U.S.-Israel relationship remains strong.
Ada Horwich, JDCA Board Member