A scathing new political ad released by the U.S. Republican Jewish Coalition depicts today’s Democratic party as a hotbed of Israel hatred presided over by Hillary Clinton.
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Their new minute-long ad titled “The Anti-Israel Voices of the Democratic Party” unveiled over the weekend strategically doesn’t mention the name of their party’s candidate, Donald Trump, at all. The mood of the short one-minute video is sinister, with the narration playing over a background of ominous music and images. The first photograph is a Palestinian flag juxtaposed with delegates holding up signs saying “Love trumps hate.” The montage continues with demonstrators carrying signs saying “Free Palestine” and the much-circulated video of an Israeli flag being burned by protesters outside the convention to a chant of “Intifada, intifada.”
The female narrator of the video intones: “Anti-Israel Democrats are on full display at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Like Hillary Clinton superdelegate congressman Hank Johnson who compared Israelis to termites. While the Palestinian flag was waving during the Democratic convention, the Israeli flag was burned outside. Anti-Israel voices are all around Philadelphia.”
The video features soundbites from demonstrators calling Israel an “apartheid state” and criticizing the "terrorist" U.S. government for “giving away too much money to Israel,” and charging that it is “in bed with Israel.”
It concludes: “Radical Democrats - stridently anti-Israel. Sadly, this isn’t the old Democratic party. It’s TODAY’s Democratic Party.” The closing image is a freeze-frame of a smirking photograph of Hillary Clinton.”
The gloomy ad fits perfectly into the current political environment. It has become crystal clear, as the tones of the campaigns were set at the party conventions, that the 2016 elections is — and is likely to remain — relentlessly negative. Both presidential campaigns are being primarily fueled by fear and loathing of the alternative.
It may be true that the organizers of last week’s Democratic National Convention did their best to present themselves as the party of hope, with several upbeat and inspiring moments.
But, by far, the image that resonated most was that of the Muslim parents of a fallen soldier eviscerating Donald Trump. Trump’s missteps in the aftermath of the Khan speech has focused the media spotlight on everything that is wrong with the presidential nominee, sparked a backlash and put those Republican leaders who support him under increased pressure. In the Jewish community, the Democrats’ case against Trump and the Republican party has been bolstered by the tidal wave of vicious anti-Semitic hate being aimed by Trump supporters online, in Twitter attacks against Trump-critical journalists with Jewish names and other Jews. And some of the most prominent pro-Israel Jewish Republican political figures and pundits have openly renounced Trump and have declared they will not support him.
So what are Jewish Republicans to do in such a situation?
Strategically, their decision to go with the 2016 flow and send unrelenting negative messages about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats when it comes to Israel seems like an effective choice. The organization needs to do its job of rallying support for the Republican ticket, as problematic as the man on top of it may be. The ground is already fertile for such messages, with widespread fear and distrust of Clinton’s positions on Israel already held by many Republicans and independent Jewish voters.
That direction was already clear during the DNC. In the middle of the speech in which Clinton accepted the party’s nomination, the RJC tweeted:
Attached to the tweet was a laundry list of examples of what the organization called “Clinton routinely [snubbing] our closest ally in the Middle East.” The short document, circulated on social media throughout the day of the convention, detailed a list of alleged slights committed against Israel by Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state.
The new RNC “anti-Israel” video echoes a similar video that the group released in June in the run-up to the convention with the same theme, tone, and graphics - featuring Dr. Cornel West, the Bernie Sanders appointee to the convention’s platform committee. West ended up abstaining from the final vote on the platform citing the party's "moral failures.” After the collapse of the Sanders effort, West announced that he couldn't support Clinton and was endorsing Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, for president.
The Republican Jewish Coalition declined to comment on the video when contacted by Haaretz.
Asked for their reaction to the video, the National Jewish Democratic Council responded in a statement: “We understand why they don’t want to be defending their racist, sexist and bigoted candidate who peddles in anti-Semitic tropes, but notice how they don’t even mention Hillary Clinton’s actual record or the strongly pro-Israel Democratic platform. As they oppose the only consistently pro-Israel candidate in this race, this is going to be a tough year for RJC – all while more and more of their people stand with Israel and strengthening the US-Israel relationship by abandoning Trump.”