Congressman Alan West, an African-American Iraqi war veteran, is described in glowing terms in a book entitled, The Teavangelicals, written by conservative Christian journalist, David Brody. The title comes from an amalgamation of Tea Party and Christians evangelicals. Here Brody explains the appeal West has to evangelicals:
"Specifically, evangelicals will be attracted to his strong defense of Israel and his absolute obliteration of radical Islam. Be forewarned if you try to defend radical Islam through the Koran at a town meeting you had better be ready to get a mouthful from West. An employee for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) showed up at a Pompano Beach, Florida, event asking him to point to a spot in the Koran where it tells Muslims to kill Americans.
"West swatted the question away, telling him that it wouldn't say that because America wasn't even around when the Koran existed. But that wasn't the end of it . . . not by a long shot. West continued to point out a series of Muslim aggressive acts over the centuries and concluded by telling the questioner, 'Don't come up here and try to criticize me! Put the microphone down and go home.'" (page 153)
Congressman West was defeated in his attempt to return for a second term to the House of Representatives. As of late Thursday afternoon, West had still not conceded that he had lost, even though a 2,500 vote margin enjoyed by his opponent, was outside the state's mandated vote percentage recount. A court case is pending.
There was also a notable example in a Wisconsin election that attacks against political opponents as "anti-Israel" no longer produce the automatic silver bullet of certain defeat. In the race for a vacant Wisconsin Senate seat, former Republican Governor and Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, alleged that his Democratic opponent, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, was "anti-Israel."
It didn't fly very far. The charge was reported in local media but it did not gain much additional traction. The allegation also did not reach national prominence. Why would it? Congresswoman Baldwin was already known in the national media as the candidate who might become the first openly Lesbian U.S. Senator. Baldwin won the Senate seat, another indication that being called "anti-Israel" is losing its potency.
One election does not a movement make. But this one election sent a series of messages to President Obama. His victory should enable him to "conduct policy with much more vigor," as Palestinian Journalist Daoud Kuttuab explains in a posting for Huffington Post.
"Reelected U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to be able to conduct policy with much more vigor. While on domestic and economic issues he will need to work with a Republican House (the Senate will be Democratic), foreign relations is where the executive branch (the White House and the State Department) has the ability to apply his policies.
"America's first African American president who grew up in several parts of the world should be able to produce a foreign policy much closer to his heart and beliefs without having to worry about another election. Second-term U.S. presidents, who naturally care about their legacy, often look overseas to find ways for history to remember them.
"War and peace cannot be addressed in any part of the world more than in the Middle East, where the U.S. is fighting a war in Afghanistan and will continue to need to win the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims. Obama's win also signals a clear vote of confidence from American Jews who voted for him. More than 70 percent of U.S. Jews supported the president (unlike American Israelis who supported Romney)."
President Obama no longer has any need to bend to the will of the Israel Lobby. His reelection and a second term removes him from ever again having to raise campaign funds or to be swayed from his core convictions by political expediency. Now is the time for this reelected President to make peace in the Middle East his highest foreign policy goal.
The voters have spoken: Mr. President, you are free to move now on Palestine.
The picture of the Obama family, at top, is by Doug Mills of the New York Times.
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