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Henry Jackson

Reader comment on item: The Democrats and Israel

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jan 20, 2009 at 10:58

Democrats, and others, ought to be reminded of Henry Jackson as one of the best possible role models of political thinking from 20th century US history. A democratic Representative and Senator form the State of Washington for over 40 yrs (1941-83), he was a strong New Deal and social welfare advocate in the 30 yrs after WW II, and a fierce anti-communist and pro-Israel figure in foreign affairs trhoughout that same period.

Indeed, with the advent of Barack Obama, it is possible that we are going to see an administration which, however unconsciously, reflects the Jackson model. If so, it might diminish this unfortunate situation where so many people form their foreign policy views based on their inclinations in domestic politics.

Recently I had the chance overseas to talk with a young Israeli woman and her non-Israeli Jewish boyfriend. As I began to express my entire sympathy with Israel's actions in Gaza, to my surprise, they jumped down my throat and embarked on comments that amounted to 'Israel can do no right' vs the Palestinians' and the 'Palestinians can do no wrong' toward Israel.

But it also became clear that what they most disliked were the attitudes of the settlers in the West Bank, an attitude which seemed to have totally clouded their judgment on the threat posed by Hamas, and its ability to garner international sympathy for the hapless population it misrules, and is indeed willing to sacrifice in order to gain propaganda points.

So i think it would be very helpful in the long run, or the longish run run over the next few years, if Obama and his administration turn out to be in the tradition of Henry Jackson, generous and inclusive in domestic poicy, and firm and resolute in foreign policy. Ron Thompson

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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