Today’s New York Times reports on the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is spending some $6.5 million on airtime in swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Nevada to target Barack Obama. The Times singles out megadonor Sheldon Adelson, whom it describes with one phrase: “a Zionist.”
Adelson is one of the most widely-disparaged Republican donors in America. He’s been criticized endlessly by both the Obama administration and its allies in the press. And while there is no doubt that Adelson considers himself a Zionist, the language the Times uses here is peculiar. Typically, the Times would term Adelson a “hawk on Israel,” or something similar. By labeling him a “Zionist,” they’re clearly attempting to fringe Zionism as a whole. Zionism simply means that one believes in the State of Israel; one would hope that even most Democrats do so. The Times’ disdain for both Adelson and Zionism drips from the page.
Bizarrely enough, however, the Times ends up getting it right with their weird language. Jews who support Barack Obama at this point certainly take Israel for granted; it is not a top voting priority for them. Obama has put Israel in so much danger that backing his program seems an awful lot like anti-Zionism. So, in a backhanded way, perhaps the Times is right: to be a good Zionist, you must oppose Obama.