politics to go

Dems continue to move away from Israel


In two and a half months, voters will go to the polls for midterm elections, a key election for both the United States and the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The Democratic Party has been lurching left for years now, but since the end of the Clinton presidency, the speed of that shift has defied the laws of physics. Aided by eight years of a leftist White House, the party’s agenda has become dominated by radicals. 

When socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated mainstream Democrat Joe Crowley, the party cheered. Axios reports that Democratic Socialists of America, which endorsed Ocasio-Cortez, is a growing force within the party. Its membership has ballooned from 7,000 to 37,000 members since the 2016 election.

Others on the far left are joining the fun. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) has launched a campaign to defeat centrist Democrats. Our Revolution, which bills itself as the next step for Bernie Sanders’s movement, endorsed 49 candidates across the country who won their primaries in federal, state and local elections.

While these extreme left groups are not a majority of the party, they have begun to control its agenda, as the Tea Party did in 2010. The Democratic Party now advocates Medicare for all, reversing last year’s tax cuts, and open borders. Senators like New York’s Chuck Schumer who supported the Secure Fence Act when it was passed in 2006 are now fighting tooth and nail against Trump’s wall proposal.

But one part of this trend should worry all supporters of Israel. With its lurch to the left, the Democratic Party has moved further away from its tradition. After eight years of the Barack Obama presidency, the Democratic Party has become the anti-Israel party. In January 2018, Pew reported that nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% to 19%).

Throughout the primary season, Democrats have nominated anti-Israel candidates, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called Israel an occupier but couldn’t explain why. 

Almost guaranteed to win her race for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district is Democratic candidate Ilhan Omar, who once tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized the world” to ignore its “evil doings.” Earlier this year she defended the tweet, saying it called attention to the “Israeli apartheid regime” and was not anti-Semitic.

In Michigan’s 13th district, Democrat nominee Rashida Tlaib is also not a fan of the Jewish State. After her primary win, she told In These Times that she no longer believed in the two-state solution, “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work. I’m only 42 years old, but my teachers were of that generation that marched with Martin Luther King. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.”

Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American and a Democratic Socialist, believes that the U.S. should not be giving aid to Israel. “Americans should not be aiding any country that doesn’t support human rights. I’ve been very clear. I will not support racist countries that pick and choose who gets access to justice.”

Tlaib is running unopposed.

It’s not just new candidates with anti-Israel positions. Socialist Bernie Sanders, who has a long anti-Israel track record, is running on the Democratic line this year for the first time, and will probably seek the 2020 presidential nomination. Recently, he called for the condemnation of Israel for protecting itself against a Hamas attack on its border. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts took the passive-aggressive Obama approach, saying Israel has the right to defend itself but urging it to show more restraint. She also condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Democrats who used to be pro-Israel are feeling the heat and inching away. Dianne Feinstein of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Dick Durbin of Illinois all voted to urge that the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in June 2017, but criticized Trump’s recognition in December of the same year.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s move toward socialist positions, including a rejection of Israel, has been previously documented in this column, but another area senator, Corey Booker of New Jersey, has made similar gestures. Most recently he was photographed holding a sign saying, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.” A Booker spokesman said the senator had no idea the sign had anything to do with Israel. Booker also voted against the Taylor Force Act, which cuts U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority by the amount it pays out to convicted terrorists.

When you go to the polls in two and a half months, understand the issues you are voting on. Ask yourself if you want higher taxes, a porous border, and mediocre healthcare that will triple the federal budget.

And consider which party supports the Jewish State. In 2008, this column suggested that a Barack Obama presidency would be the most anti-Israel in history. In 2016, we predicted that the Trump Administration would be very pro-Israel. Today, the prediction is that a Democrat-controlled Congress will fight Trump’s pro-Israel actions as they already have.

Remember how the party has moved away from Israel in its 2012 and 2016 platforms. Remember how its deputy chairman is Keith Ellison, a student of Louis Farrakhan. Remember how the party voted for the Iran nuclear deal, and how Obama trashed Israel at the UN days before he left office.

Understand that as the party moves leftward, it becomes even more anti-Israel. And they believe that it doesn’t matter because they have the Jewish vote wrapped up whatever they do — something we’ve proven correct, over and over.