Politicians are like bad boys: never fall in love with them, they’ll always hurt you in the end. But try as I might, and I have tried mightily, I can’t fight it anymore. I’ve fallen head over heels for the junior senator from Pennsylvania.
Friday night tipped it for me. John Fetterman was at home in Braddock, a rundown Pittsburgh suburb where he lives with his wife and three children, when an anti-Israel mob gathered outside and began chanting: ‘Fetterman, Fetterman, you can’t hide; you’re supporting genocide!’ Another Democrat might have requested a police evacuation or issued a cuckish statement of solidarity with the demonstrators in the hopes they would leave him alone, but Fetterman took a rather different approach.
As the mob screamed and waved Palestinian flags below, Fetterman appeared on the roof of his loft apartment, which looks out onto Braddock’s last remaining steel mill. In his hands was an Israeli flag, which he held aloft. And as the chants shrieked louder and louder, he remained there, a US senator, spending his Friday night standing silently, defiantly holding that flag.
Since the 7 October pogrom, in which Palestinian terrorists exterminated 1,200 Jews in Israel’s southern communities, John Fetterman has emerged as a clarion voice in condemnation of that massacre and in support of Israel’s right to defend itself. In an earlier time, Fetterman’s stance would have been unremarkable, even on the left of the Democrat Party. True-blue liberals like Hubert Humphrey and Daniel Patrick Moynihan spoke about Israel, its Arab enemies and the threat of terrorism with a bracing clear-sightedness that is difficult to find anywhere in American politics today but especially among Democrats.
Progressive commentators tend to pin American liberalism’s break with Israel on that country’s shift to the political right. There is probably some truth to this, though as Israeli right-wingers like to point out, their country moved rightwards because of the failure of the Oslo peace process, which was foisted upon Israel in large part by American liberals.