(NRO) In the scramble to make the GOP more diverse, a lot of people are looking at Asian Americans, who many believe are a natural constituency for the party. I would love it if Asian Americans converted en masse to the Republican party, but the challenge for Republicans is harder than many appreciate.
President Obama did spectacularly well with Asian Americans, garnering nearly three-quarters of their vote. This runs counter to a lot of conventional wisdom on both the left and the right. On average, family income is higher and poverty is lower among Asian Americans than among non-Latino whites. Entrepreneurship, family cohesion, and traditional values all run strong among Asian Americans, and reliance on government runs weak.
And yet Asian Americans — now the fastest-growing minority in America — are rapidly becoming a core constituency of the Democratic party.
I’ve joked for years with my Indian-American relatives and friends that they are the new Jews because their parents bury them in guilt and overeducate them. It turns out it doesn’t end there. Sociologist Milton Himmelfarb observed that “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Well, Indian Americans earn like Jews and vote like Jews.
And maybe for similar reasons. The comparison to Jews is instructive. Perhaps the most common explanation for the GOP’s problem with Asian Americans is the party’s pronounced embrace of Christianity, which turns off many Jews as well.
According to Pew studies, barely a third of Chinese Americans are Christian, and less than a fifth of Indian Americans are.
“Whenever a Gujarati or Sikh businessman comes to a Republican event, it begins with an appeal to Jesus Christ,” conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza recently told The New York Times Magazine. “While the Democrats are really good at making the outsider feel at home, the Republicans make little or no effort.”
My friend and colleague Ramesh Ponnuru, an Indian American and devout Catholic, says the GOP has a problem with seeming like a “club for Christians.”
That rings true to me. I’ve attended dozens of conservative events where, as the speaker, I was, in effect, the guest of honor, and yet the opening invocation made no account of the fact that the guest of honor wasn’t a Christian. I’ve never taken offense, but I can imagine how it might seem to someone who felt like he was even less a part of the club.
A few years ago, Robert Putnam, a liberal sociologist, reported this finding: As racial and ethnic diversity increases, social trust and cohesion plummets. “Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer,” Putnam found. “People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ — that is, to pull in like a turtle.”
The villain isn’t racism or bigotry or anything so simple. The phenomenon is much more complex. Indeed, it’s not clear why this happens, but it’s clear that it does. Economic inequality and cultural attitudes do not matter much. “Americans raised in the 1970s,” Putnam writes, “seem fully as unnerved by diversity as those raised in the 1920s.”
Part of the explanation stems from the fact that people with shared experiences and cultures draw strength from working together, whereas with strangers, language often becomes guarded, intentions questioned.
The GOP is not a Christian club, but there’s no disputing that Christianity is a major source of strength and inspiration for many Republican activists. This is nothing new and, generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with this. The abolitionist, progressive, and civil-rights movements were all significantly powered by Christian faith.
As someone who’s long argued for theological pluralism and moral consensus on the right, I think it’s nuts for the GOP not to do better with Asian Americans, particularly given how little religion has to do with the policy priorities of the day.
Twenty years ago, conservatives started referring to Judeo-Christian values in an effort to be more inclusive. The challenge now is to figure out how to talk in a way that doesn’t cause decent and dedicated Christians to pull in like a turtle, while also appealing to non-Judeo-Christians and the nonreligious. That’ll be hard, requiring more than name-dropping Confucius or Krishna.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him by e-mail at JonahsColumn@aol.com, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
One of the most refreshing pieces of news in a long time in the U.S. is that Mitt Romney clearly understands that a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine will never happen. Why? Because Palestine will not accept Israel’s right to exist. It’s that simple. George Bush would not acknowledge that fact. Condoleeza Rice wouldn’t acknowledge the fact. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas can fix the problem – not the U.S., not Russia, not the Arab League.
The website Mother Jones released a recording of Romney’s remarks made at a private fundraiser. Jimmy Carter’s grandson with the assistance of Mother Jones comumnist, David Corn, secretly recorded the event.
According to M-Jones, Romney said this:
“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.”
[S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Then the Leftist website went on to translate:
Romney was indicating he did not believe in the peace process and, as president, would aim to postpone significant action
If Mother Jones can translate, so can I. Romney didn’t “indicate,” he would postpone significant action, he acknowledged there would be no significant action for a two-state solution without the Palestinian Authority and Hamas accepting Israel’s right to exist. The U.S. cannot make it happen, nor Russia.
There would have been a two-state solution years ago, had the various governing Palestinian factions simply acknowledged Israel’s right to exist as a people. That’s what Israel has asked for to get final talks moving, and they have asked for it for years. Palestinian Charters and their versions of a Constitution call for the extermination of Israel. Israel wants the language removed, and Palestine has refused.
Jihad Watch May 31, 2011:
Whereas Hamas openly denies Israel’s right to exist in both English and Arabic, the PA professes in English before the international community to have recognized Israel’s right to exist. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, when addressing its own people in Arabic, the PA – like Hamas – completely denies Israel’s right to exist.
In the same JihadWatch article linked above, long before the movie 2016: Obama’s America came out, Robert Spencer documents that the Palestinian Authority considers Jews and the Nation of Israel colonialists, and having no connection to the land. As D’Souza in 2016 clearly demonstrated: colonialism is at the bottom of Obama’s agenda. Remember Obama Senior’s close friend, saying during an interview with D’Souza, that Senior ‘hated’ colonialism and the friend still ‘hates’ it today – he spit the words out and you could feel the deep-seeded emotion behind his hate. 2016 shows the former colonized areas of the world and the help Obama has given them, specifically, while denying America’s own interests. Then there’s the Churchill bust that was out of the White House immediately upon Obama’s arrival there. I believe D’Souza was spot-on.
“The Zionists must acknowledge publicly, in front of the world, that the Jews have no connection to the Palestinian Arab land, upon whose ruins arose the colonialist settler Zionist plan that settles and expels, represented by the Israeli apartheid state. That which occurred two thousand years ago (i.e., the Jewish/Israeli presence in the land), assuming that it is true, represents in the book of history nothing more than invention and falsification and a coarse and crude form of colonialism.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 27, 2011]A two-state solution will never happen until and unless Palestine acknowledges Israel’s right to exist. George W. Bush had to know this, yet he continued with his two-state talks that he surely knew would disappoint time after time. I don’t know what Condi Rice actually understood about the region and history, but her stern push for Israel to bow without being recognized is unforgivable.Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2009, stated again, he was open to a two-state solution:In “a very good meeting” that lasted 79 minutes, Netanyahu said, he and Obama discussed “our quest for peace with the Palestinians.” And during that meeting, he added, “I outlined my vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state” that would recognize “the Jewish state.”…“The problem we face is to make sure that doesn’t repeat itself,” he said. Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon was “step one,” its evacuation from Gaza was “step two,” and the country “cannot afford step 3.”
In his remark about Jerusalem, made in response to a question from the audience, the Israeli leader said, “Everyone knows that there are Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem that under any peace plan will remain where they are.”
That implied that other neighborhoods of Jerusalem may not remain “where they are” and could become part of an eventual Palestinian state, Uriel Hellman of the JTA reported. The JTA interpreted the remark as “a hint that that his government’s insistence on Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem might not be ironclad.” SourceIsrael Matzav March 2012:
The latest round of rocket fire from Gaza underscored just how ill-considered it would be to relinquish more land to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. The recent Harvard one-state conference demonstrated how clinging to an unfeasible formula has merely generated the opportunity to promote even more menacing alternatives.
For whatever the final contours of a putative Palestinian state, it would entail a frontier of at least 300 kilometers – approximately six times longer than the Gaza front – much of which would be adjacent to Israel’s most populous urban centers, from the environs of Haifa in the north to Beersheba and beyond in the south. (Significantly, Beersheba is much closer to the pre-1967 border of the “West Bank” than it is to the Gaza Strip).
Moreover, unlike in Gaza, a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would reduce Israel’s width in its most populous areas to a minuscule 11-25 km. – roughly the distance from Beverly Hills to Malibu along Sunset Boulevard.
Even more important than geographic expanse – or the lack thereof – is topographical structure. Unlike the flat Gaza Strip, the limestone hills that comprise the “West Bank” dominate the urbanized Coastal Plain, together with much of Israel’s vital infrastructure, its only international airport, vital centers of civilian government and military command – and 80 percent of its population and commercial activity. ~ Martin ShermanIn 2007, The Arab League endorsed recognizing Israel. Hamas did not.
The team of international peace brokers – the United States, United Nations, Russia and the European Union – has demanded that the PA government recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by previously signed peace agreements in order to lift the sanctions imposed in the wake of the 2006 Hamas election victory.
“We are demanding that the government meet these three conditions,” Livni stressed.
The Arab initiative, drafted at a March 2002 meeting of the Arab League in Beirut, calls for the full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Source
Israel has been willing to go back to 1967 borders, but must have the assurance of a true peace, otherwise their borders are not defensible, as has been proven over and over. How can you live side-by-side with those pledging to kill you when your borders allow no safety for the people? Read a reminder of how Israel gained territory in 1967 and why.Mother Jones says Romney spoke of “the Palestinians as a united bloc of one mindset,” and indeed he did, because he knows who rules, and it isn’t ordinary Palestinians trying to live a normal life. The issue is the acceptance of the right of Israel to exist.