I was distressed by this article in the NYT, “GOP’s Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift.” It says that Republican support for Israel in partly ideological, but also “a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.” One of the main beneficiaries of this Jewish largess was Senator Tom Cotton, the author of the Senate letter to Iran, advising it not to negotiate with Obama and Kerry. It sounds like Sen. Cotton got well over $1 million from these Jewish contributors. The article quotes a source downplaying speculation that the draft letter and plans for its circulation were developed by Sen. Tom Cotton, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson in a room of Mr. Adelson’s Venetian Hotel.
The growing Jewish support for Republicans is odd because Jews have traditionally supported the Democratic Party, and tend to support more liberal causes. According to J Street, a majority of Jews still support liberal Democrats, but the fewer extremely wealthy Jews supporting the Republicans throw the money balance in favor of the GOP. For this group, the main issue is support for Israel. This one reason Republican House Speak Boehner invited Israeli PM Netanyahu to make a speech to Congress attacking President Obama.
I don’t believe that American and Israeli interests always converge. Thus I question Sen. Cotton’s patriotism in supporting Israel over the United States. Clearly the choice of Netanyahu and his Republican supports was (and is) to have the United States carry out a bombing attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. There is certainly a significant risk that American planes could be shot down, or that Iran would respond to the attack. Among other potential targets, there are thousands of American service men and women next door to Iran in Afghanistan, and a few still left in Iraq. Sen. Cotton apparently is happy to have them die for Israel.