This is sort of funny, the way the decline of Western civilization is sort of funny:
Two conservative groups have rejected the joint appeal from two national Jewish organizations to sign a “unity pledge” on how to treat Israel in political debate.
“An open and vigorous debate on the questions confronting our country is the cornerstone of the American electoral process,” the Republican Jewish Coalition said in a statement. “Allowing the American people to see where candidates stand, pro and con on critical issues, is the hallmark of our free and democratic political system.”
The Emergency Coalition for Israel also rejected last week’s pledge proposal by the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
“This attempt to silence those of us who have ‘questioned the current administration’s foreign policy approach vis-a-vis Israel’ will re-energize us,” the coalition said in a statement. “Nor, incidentally, should those who support the administration’s approach to Israel be bashful about making their case.”
In other words, the two partisan Republican groups want to be as nasty as they want to be in the run-up to the 2012 election. Which, I agree, is their right.
The ADL, meanwhile, clarifies its stance:
The pledge is not intended to discourage raising questions about a candidate’s support for Israel or the policy decisions of the current administration regarding Israel. In fact, ADL has been outspoken in questioning and even criticizing U.S. policies and positions toward Israel during the last three years. We will continue to raise concerns about those policies and positions when we believe it is warranted, just as we will be supportive when we feel that is appropriate.
M.J. Rosenberg, meanwhile, takes the measure of ECI:
ECI is not really about Israel. It is all about defending the political and economic interests of its millionaire donors by electing Republicans. That means smearing Democrats who might raise its sponsors’ taxes. And it means lying about the Occupy Wall Street movement which defends working people and excoriates the 1 percent Theodore Roosevelt called “malefactors of great wealth.”