Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) was crushed by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) in the N.J.-9, a primary race set up by redistricting. Normally, one liberal Democrat beating another liberal Democrat in New Jersey is ho-hum. But in this race the most striking difference between the two was their stance on Israel. Rothman was one of Israel's staunchest defenders in the House, often willing to break with the president over his treatment of the Jewish state. And that became a big deal as Pascrell's forces openly doubted Rothman’s loyalty to the United States and turned the issue into a pro-Israel vs. pro-Palestinian face off.
That Democrats, once equal partners in the bipartisan pro-Israel alliance, did not rise up in Rothman’s defense against a virulently anti-Semitic onslaught tell us much about the left today. The Republican Party has become, in large part due to the influence of pro-Zionist Christians, the bastion of pro-Israel sentiments, while polls show support for Israel dipping below 50 percent among Democrats. Major Jewish organizations still dominated by Democrats don't want to acknowledge the problem. They are too busy spinning President Obama’s record. But perhaps they should engage in some self-reflection and do some heavy lifting on the left. A party that abandons Steve Rothman in an assault over his loyalty to the United States is not friendly turf for Zionists.