The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday launched an online campaign focusing on Prof. Cornel West, Congressman Keith Ellison, and pollster and Arab American leader James Zogby as the “face of the new Democratic party.” The first video, depicting a West vehement anti-Netanyahu speech, associates him with Hillary Clinton. It’s unfair, but effective. All three individuals, who are, indeed, members of the Democratic platform committee, represent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and it is expected that their anti-Israel views would be quashed by the majority of platform committee members picked by Clinton and by DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Nevertheless, an unfair blow is a blow, and this one is delivered expertly.
“Radical Democrat. Stridently anti-Israel. Hand selected to be a member of the twenty sixteen Democrat Platform Committee,” goes the voice over in the three separate ads, each dedicated to one of Sanders’ three anti-Israel picks.
All three ads conclude with an unflattering portrait of Hillary Clinton and the slogan, “Sadly this isn’t the old Democratic Party. It’s today’s Democratic Party.”
The three ads are a masterpiece in terms of ideas and execution. They are visually rich, poignant, and real, in terms of the three anti-Israeli gentlemen they attack. The ads will run only online, which should be a relief for the Clinton campaign, because these ads kill.
According to Jacob Kornbluh, reporting for the Jewish Insider, there have already been strong disagreements between the three Bernie men and the rest of the platform committee. When representatives of the committee met in Washington, DC, this month for a public hearing, West said: “For too long the Democratic Party has been beholden to AIPAC.” He also suggested that “for so long the US has been so biased toward Israeli security.” These are third-rail kind of words, guaranteed to drive away Jewish voters and donors alike, should they ever see the light of day. West, who, unfortunately, has a great sense of humor, also asked how the Democratic Party would have responded if there were “a Palestinian occupation of our precious Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Zogby in his turn insisted that the word “occupation” be included in the platform, because, let’s face it, “it has been recognized by every US administration that there is an occupation. Would you not feel that it is more important to include the word ‘occupation’ which our president, this current president has mentioned and every previous president has mentioned, as a way simply of clarifying that to get to two states an occupation has to end?”
Yes, especially if you’re hoping for one Donald J. Trump to take the Oval office come January.
The National Jewish Democratic Council accused the RJC ads of attacking “the only consistently pro-Israel nominee in this race.” The NJDC also predicted that “this is going to be a tough year for RJC – all while more and more of their people are standing with Israel and strengthening the US-Israel relationship by abandoning Trump.”
Perhaps. It’s possible that many Jewish voters who are traditionally inclined to vote Democrat know the difference between Sanders’ and Clinton’s proxies on the platform committee, and since there is no way in the world any of the West-Zogby-Ellison claptrap will ever make it into the Democratic platform, the damage from the ads would likely be minimal.
But they are killer ads nonetheless.