During a Friday interview on Boston Herald Radio, Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King blasted liberal American Jews for being Democrats first, and Jewish second. Implying that in order to be Jewish, one must support the hawkish policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King lashed out, saying:
Here is what I don’t understand, I don’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their President.
Congressmen King seems miffed that American Jews don’t all align themselves in lockstep allegiance to Bibi’s Likud Party in Israel. In King’s simplistic view, Jews should all think and vote alike.
Republicans, like King, are unable to wrap their heads around the fact that, by more than a two to one margin, American Jews identify more closely with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. This is a sore spot with Republicans, who seem to think that Jewish voters should all be of one mind, and serve as cheerleaders for a bellicose Israel.
Congressman King apparently thinks all American Jewish voters should pledge allegiance to Bibi in Israel as if Netanyahu was the Jewish equivalent of a pope. Yet, ironically, Steve King, who is Catholic, feels free to ignore Pope Francis when he disagrees with him, even though the Pope is considered the spiritual leader of King’s religion.
For example, Pope Francis has made it clear that he considers human-caused climate change, a grave issue of global concern. Yet, Republican Congressman Steve King ignores the spiritual leader of his own faith, because King conforms to Republican orthodoxy, which regards the theory of man-made climate change as a hoax.
Based on King’s opinion dissenting from the Pope’s edict on climate change, one could argue that the Iowa Congressman is a Republican first and a Catholic second. But of course, King would probably argue that their is a diversity of opinions among American Catholics. He might also contend that in a culture that values individualism, it would be religious bigotry to argue that all Catholics must think alike and tow the Vatican party line. He would have a point then, since not every Catholic should be expected to think alike. But then again, neither should every Jew.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.