Donna Edwards’s campaign unsettles the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party

US Politics
on 41 Comments

When I hear Democratic Party friends snicker over the explosion of the Republican Party, I have to ask them why they think the Democratic Party is so stable? It’s not. Everyone in the establishment is worrying what Bernie Sanders is going to do now. His populist base is bound to become more and more voluble in months to come, amplified by social media.

And of course Palestine is helping to destabilize the Democratic power structure. When Bernie Sanders stood up for Palestinian dignity at the April 14 debate in New York, people cheered him, and Hillary Clinton got nervous; there are bound to be similar pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in late July, and I wonder how much of that energy the party will be able to contain. Hillary Clinton is the most hawkish of all the candidates for president. How many Sanders supporters are going to work for the election of someone who resorts to war as readily as she does?

These tensions are evident in the electrifying, seesaw race between two Democratic Maryland congresspeople, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, to win the Democratic nomination this Tuesday to the Senate to replace Barbara Mikulski.

The race between an establishment white man and a black woman has exposed “fissures” in the Democratic Party, the NY Times says. Van Hollen is now leading in that race, according to the latest polls; and some in the establishment, including the Washington Post, are describing Edwards’s insurgent campaign as a “Tea Party” inside the Democratic Party. Joan Walsh’s enthusiastic profile of Donna Edwards in the Nation this month emphasized that women are a big part of the Edwards meteor, as are people who took to the streets of Baltimore a year ago after the death of Freddie Gray. “She leads [Van Hollen] by 16 points among women and by 51 points among black voters…”

Walsh says nothing about foreign policy, but the Washington Post notes that Clintonite megadonor Haim Saban is among the establishment forces supporting Van Hollen, to the tune of $100,000:

Committee for Maryland’s Progress, a super PAC largely funded by 1199, has spent close to $500,000 to try to defeat Edwards in her neck-and-neck primary for the Senate against Rep. Chris Van Hollen…

About half of the $600,000 raised by the super PAC by early April came from 1199. SEIU Local 32BJ, which represents property service workers, contributed $15,000 to be used only for canvassing.

The rest of the group’s money comes largely from donors who have already given the maximum possible to Van Hollen’s campaign. One notable contributor is Haim Saban, a billionaire Israeli American entertainment mogul who gave $100,000. Saban is also a major supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year the Washington Post said that Edwards took critical stances on Israel, “angering some Jewish donors”; at that point she was getting outraised by Van Hollen, 10 to 1.  The Guardian has said that Edwards’s votes on Israel and Iran could sink her in the election.

Edwards has gotten a big, $2.4 million push from Emily’s List; and the director of Emily’s List a week ago stunned a Washington Jewish audience by describing the power of Jewish donors over Middle East policy as shocking and disturbing.

Edwards’s own issues page on foreign policy emphasizes her opposition to the use of force and her support for the United Nations:

I came to Congress in opposition to the Iraq war, and with the belief that the American military, with its unsurpassed ability and resources, must only be used to defend our vital interests.

When those interests are at stake, the United States has a right to act. But it has a responsibility to engage with the United Nations and other multilateral institutions to bring stability to troubled regions of the world

Van Hollen is much more explicit about his support for Israel.

He believes we must also remain absolutely committed to ensuring the security of our ally Israel and fight anti-Semitism wherever it raises its ugly head.

Edwards is a great friend of the Palestinian people in Congress. This is from a promotion by a pro-Palestinian group for a Donna Edwards fundraiser in 2010:

Congresswoman Edwards has been one of 25 members of Congress to vote against H. Res. 34 “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” during Israel’s Gaza invasion of 2008/2009 that left 1400 Gazans dead in the span of three weeks. She has cosigned a letter by McDermott/Ellison highlighting the devastating effect of Israel’s blockade on the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip. Moreover, she has personally visited Gaza in early 2009.

Congresswoman Edwards has been a true friend of Palestinians and their quest for peace and justice.

She voted against H. Res. 867 calling on President Obama to “stop any further consideration” of the UN commsioned Goldstone Report documenting war crimes during Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2008/2009. In short, Congresswoman Edwards’ record has been among the best in Congress, consistently pushing to end the Israeli occupation. In fact, she is ranked #2 on NewPolicy.org’s Congressional Score Card.

There can be no doubt that the grass-roots forces that support Edwards– women and blacks — are more progressive than the Democratic establishment on Palestine. This is the wave that could upset the Democratic Party. Dina Smeltz of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs writes in the Washington Post that Bernie Sanders represents America in his shocking call for the U.S. to be evenhanded in its Israel/Palestine policy:

Sanders also said, “There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.” This was in response to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s arguments for her more traditional political stance toward Israel. The Chicago Council Survey results show a majority of Democrats (54 percent), half of independents (49 percent) and a third of Republicans (34 percent) seem to agree, saying that Israel plays a negative role in resolving problems in the Middle East.

When folks talk about the tea party inside the Democratic party, it includes a lot of people who don’t want the U.S. to model its behavior in the Middle East on Israel’s.

Thanks to Janet McMahon of the Israel’s influence conference and WRMEA.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

41 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    April 24, 2016, 12:31 pm

    Just made a contribution to Donna Edward’s campaign

  2. Pixel
    April 24, 2016, 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Phil. Just sent $.

  3. ToivoS
    April 24, 2016, 1:13 pm

    This statement — There can be no doubt that the grass-roots forces that support Edwards– women and blacks — are more progressive than the Democratic establishment on Palestine . — is difficult to accept. Hillary is winning the black vote by a huge margin over Sanders. The House black caucus is overwhelmingly backing Hillary. John Lewis and Willi Brown have both accused Sanders of lying about his civil rights record.

    I am afraid that Palestine is not an important issue with Black voters.

    • Kathleen
      April 24, 2016, 1:35 pm

      People in many communities have been waking up via the internet, movements on campus, churches etc addressing the I/P disasters.

      • pmb1414
        April 25, 2016, 6:15 pm

        People are waking up, but not fast enough to make a difference anytime soon. I’m afraid that will take at least another generation. Hopefully Mondoweiss, If Americans Knew and others will continue to increase the rate of awakening and prove me wrong.

    • Talkback
      April 25, 2016, 8:17 am

      “I am afraid that Palestine is not an important issue with Black voters.”

      Fighting supremacism is.

      • chorwitz
        April 25, 2016, 10:22 am

        Fighting supremacism is the entire focus of working for Justice in Palestine. I have been asked over and over what are activist Jews doing about Israel Palestine, by black colleagues in various movements. Many blacks join us for street theater where we hold signs saying end the occupation, etc. We always encourage blacks to join us and invite us to their churches where we can tell them that Right Wing Zionist Jews call us anti-Semites too! But that doesn’t stop us nor will it ever. The US sends billions of dollars to the Israeli war machine to buy more weapons and build walls. This money comes from all of our tax dollars. So there is a reason for every person living in this country to fight against our tax dollars going to Israel to be used against Palestinians.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      April 25, 2016, 9:15 pm

      duh

  4. Kathleen
    April 24, 2016, 1:39 pm

    Joan Walsh is a huge Hillary supporter. Shocked by how many so called progressives support such a die hard war hawk like Hillary. People willing to close their eyes, to death and destruction in the middle east that Hillary has very much been a part of.

    Great to know about Donna Edwards….compassion and logic applied

  5. joemowrey
    April 24, 2016, 2:24 pm

    “How many Sanders supporters are going to work for the election of someone who resorts to war as readily as she does?”

    http://www.wsj.com/video/poll-33-of-sanders-supporters-wouldnt-vote-for-clinton/69C05055-85FE-4320-8D02-3EAC972CACD0.html

    No indication here of how many might be “going to work” for Clinton. But apparently, 67% will vote for her. No big surprise since most so-called progressives could care less about the machinations of our fetid empire. That’s evident in the lack of any substantive discussion about our illegal wars and assassination programs around the globe in much of what passes for progressive media, including here at MW. (Granted, that’s not the intention nor focus of the great work being done by MW)

    If one dares to point out Sanders history of support for war (granted, nothing compares to Killary’s bloodthirsty record) at some “progressive” sites you get slammed. No one wants to acknowledge that Sanders’ overall foreign policy will likely be very similar to the status quo, no matter what his rhetoric on Palestine.

    • Keith
      April 24, 2016, 7:27 pm

      JOWMOWREY- “No one wants to acknowledge that Sanders’ overall foreign policy will likely be very similar to the status quo, no matter what his rhetoric on Palestine.”

      Perhaps we should remind ourselves that regardless which major party candidate wins the electoral marketing extravaganza, imperial policy, both foreign and domestic, is set by the imperial elites, the President primarily a spokesman to sell the elite agenda. The primary difference between the candidates is which segment of the elites has more clout. This is capitalism, folks. The economic/financial system dominates the political system which functions primarily to manage society consistent with elite goals and objectives. In the long run, money overwhelms all opposition. Capitalism’s truly distinctive feature is the monetization of power.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        April 25, 2016, 9:19 pm

        crony capitalism

      • Keith
        April 26, 2016, 10:39 am

        ATLANTAICONOCLAST- “crony capitalism”

        No, the problem is systemic to the entire global financial system which, in fact, more or less controls the entire global political economy which, in turn, is effectively mortgaged to the banks and bond holders. Thanks to technological changes, our political economy is radically different than it was even 50 years ago. Two quotes and links which pertain.

        “So under U.S. pressure, the international banking system was set up to facilitate the money laundering of drug capital. The reason the Americans and the Canadians were not particularly noteworthy in the law firm’s records is the Panamanian law firm’s records was that its role was to set up money laundering for foreigners, to conceal their means of getting money. But the oil industry doesn’t conceal it. The oil industry declares all of the income it gets, and the mining industry declares all the income that it gets from the Panamanian shipping companies, from the Liberian shipping companies. But because Panama and Liberia don’t have an income tax, there’s no tax liability for this. It’s stolen fair and square from the tax collector, just like California Senator Hayakawa said America had stolen Panama fair and square from Colombia.” (Michael Hudson) http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/18/panama-and-the-criminalization-of-the-global-finance-system/

        “The situation we are currently facing is that the real economy, now mostly monetized, has reached the limits of growth. This means that that the real economy and market expansion can no longer underpin the creation of exponentially increasing amounts of credit money to satisfy the obligation to repay outstanding loans plus compounding interest payments. The private financiers have monetized the planet and are sucking it dry. With a financial system using sovereign money, public banking, and progressive taxation on income and assets, this problem wouldn’t exist. However, our private banking system and debt money were never intended to serve the public good, rather, it was a means to concentrate wealth and power into a relatively few private hands and the corporations they control. Now, it is virtually inconceivable that the capitalist financiers will voluntarily change the system in a socially constructive manner, having devoted their lives to immiserating most of the world’s population for profit and power.” (Keith) http://saskck.blogspot.com/2013/06/neo-feudalism-and-new-dark-ages.html

  6. Donald
    April 24, 2016, 2:35 pm

    I know people on both sides are using that Tea party comparison, but I’d be careful about accepting it. It’s already being used by Clintonites to discredit people to their left as fanatics.

  7. ritzl
    April 24, 2016, 5:41 pm

    A Sanders – Edwards third party ticket?

  8. JWalters
    April 24, 2016, 7:36 pm

    Say it loud and say it proud – “Israel wants Van Hollen!”

    Israel needs more American billions to continue their God-given right to plunder and slaughter. Read the Bible!

    And Israel needs more American lives to fuel more Middle East wars, and their highly profitable war machinery.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/because-global-supplier/

    Chris is realistic, like Hillary. He’ll take the money and deliver. Donna Edwards will just waste everybody’s time with fantasies about justice.

  9. Marnie
    April 25, 2016, 12:35 am

    I have a lot of respect for Ms. Edwards and hope that she will prevail and hopefully more americans will pay attention to what she is saying; she’s been saying it for a while now. She is a voice of a democracy. Van Hollen is a sheep, following the herd intent on destroying democracy in continued support of israeli fascism and the continued holocaust of the Palestinian people.

  10. Jane Porter
    April 25, 2016, 1:33 pm

    Well, I read her declaration about foreign policy, it’s maybe “progressive” the American way, but still promoting the American world leadership with just a few critics about the way foreign policy is done right now in the US. And she is OK with Nato. If she succeeds she ‘ll just turn to be a another
    Yeswecan Obama in skirt.
    And about Israel: Stop funding Israel and Egypt in weapons an d money.
    Use your big power at the UN as you have done with Iran, to get Israel’s Nuclear bomb program dismantled…as well as your other nuke friends the Saudi

  11. ckg
    April 25, 2016, 2:14 pm

    Revealed today AIPAC backed a Senate letter urging increased military aid to Israel. Eighty-three U.S. senators signed. The seventeen who didn’t sign are:
    John Barrasso (R-WY)
    Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
    Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
    Tom Carper (D-DE)
    Bob Corker (R-TN)
    Al Franken (D-MN)
    Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    Angus King (I-ME)
    Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT)
    Rand Paul (R-WV)
    Jack Reed (D-RI)
    Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
    Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
    Jon Tester (D-MT)
    Tom Udall (D-NM)

    • amigo
      April 25, 2016, 3:25 pm

      ckg, thanks .

      Well , if it ain,t good old Bern right in here making up for his recent errors in calling for Israel to treat Palestinians with dignity. I see what he means.

      • ckg
        April 25, 2016, 3:29 pm

        Hi amigo. I’m not sure if I read your comment right, but Bernie was among the 17 who didn’t sign the AIPAC letter–it’s a shorter list than 83 who did sign.

      • amigo
        April 25, 2016, 3:37 pm

        Hi ckg , my mistake. Barbara Boxer,s name popped right out so I made what used to be a reasonable assumption.Has Boxer changed her stripes.Is this a slap on the wrist for Nuttyahoo for his insults against Obama by addressing the congress .

    • Kay24
      April 25, 2016, 6:01 pm

      Such a shameless lot. I am sure their constituents are well looked after, have their minimum wage raised, no homeless citizens, and all kids able to afford college tuition. Why else would these zionists support sending more money to a parasitic nation?

      I am impressed how well our congress can get their act together when it comes to the alien occupier, unlike the way they act when it comes to their own people. If only they had such enthusiasm for our needs.

  12. silamcuz
    April 26, 2016, 11:25 am

    Miss Edwards should know that the USA is as much of an enemy to her people as Israel is.

    • Sibiriak
      April 26, 2016, 12:13 pm

      silamcuz: … the USA is as much of an enemy to her people as Israel is.
      ——————–

      The USA is an enemy to the American people?

      Or do you mean the U.S. government?

      • silamcuz
        April 26, 2016, 12:40 pm

        What American people? To be part of a people would mean to be part of a big family where everyone love and support each other. Are you saying black Americans are more of a family to white Americans compared to their comrades in Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica.

        Nah. We are woke, and we won’t be buying this fake American identity anymore. I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only. Not Americans, Koreans, Japanese or the millions of groups existing across the globe.

        The US government btw, is an illegal settler-colonial entity occupying stolen land. We all should be calling for its complete dismantlement with the same vigour as we want Israel to cease sovereignty over Palestine.

      • Sibiriak
        April 26, 2016, 11:41 pm

        silamcuz: What American people? To be part of a people would mean to be part of a big family where everyone love and support each other.
        ——————

        A people is not the same as a family, but in any case, families are not exactly paradises of love and support–they are often full of discord and violence. Your metaphor doesn’t work. If you want to say that love and support should be the ideal , great. The goal then should be to bring the American people together, to work together for something better, not to split them apart, to sow rancor and racism as you are striving to do (however disingenuously).

        Are you saying black Americans are more of a family to white Americans compared to their comrades in Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica

        I’m saying black Americans and white Americans and all other Americans are part of a single complex, multicultural, multi-ethnic American people–if they want to be–and I’ve seen no evidence that Donna Edwards has renounced her membership in the American people.

        It’s quite amusing indeed (and many would say highly offensive) when a person of white Jewish ethnicity (or any other of America’s ethnicities) stands up and tries to deny African-Americans membership in the American people.

      • silamcuz
        April 27, 2016, 5:31 am

        I’m saying black Americans and white Americans and all other Americans are part of a single complex, multicultural, multi-ethnic American people

        Yes, a single complex, multicultural, multiethnic people. Sounds to me you are describing the human population of Earth.

      • eljay
        April 27, 2016, 8:49 am

        || silamcuz: … I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only. … ||

        Who are “your people” and why do you want to love only them and not all people?

        || … The US government btw, is an illegal settler-colonial entity occupying stolen land. We all should be calling for its complete dismantlement with the same vigour as we want Israel to cease sovereignty over Palestine. ||

        I believe that Israel must end its occupation of territory outside of its / Partition borders and withdraw to within its / Partition borders. Please clarify:
        – which territory or territories the U.S. government occupies; and
        – what are the borders of the U.S. – the borders to within which it should withdraw.

        Thanks.

      • Sibiriak
        April 27, 2016, 9:44 am

        silamcuz: . Sounds to me you are describing the human population of Earth.
        —————

        No, I’m describing the American people, a subset of the human population. Those two sets of people share certain characteristics, such as multi-ethnicity, but differ in other respects (which I’m sure you are bright enough to identify if you put your mind to it.)

        Oh, btw, what’s the name of your people? Is that too tough question for you?

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2016, 10:44 am

        “Oh, btw, what’s the name of your people? Is that too tough question for you?”

        Oops, you fell for it, “Sibiriak”! “Silamcruz” will now accuse you of racism for asking.

      • silamcuz
        April 28, 2016, 10:57 am

        Eljay

        “I believe that Israel…

        Are you a Palestinian? What you believe about Israel is irrelevant if that is not the case. Your obligations as are simply to support whatever the Palestinian democratic society believe in, or not.

      • eljay
        April 28, 2016, 12:33 pm

        || silamcuz: … Are you a Palestinian? … ||

        No, I’m Canadian.

        || … What you believe about Israel is irrelevant if that is not the case. … ||

        Whether or not my beliefs are irrelevant is irrelevant. They are my beliefs.

        || … Your obligations as are simply to support whatever the Palestinian democratic society believe in, or not. … ||

        I’m under no obligation to “support whatever the Palestinian democratic society believe in”, any more than I’m under any obligation to “support whatever the Israeli democratic society believe in”.

        I believe that my obligation is to support the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality. If that happens to coincide with “whatever the Palestinian [or any other] democratic society believe in”, great.

        You still haven’t clarified:
        – who are “your people”;
        – which territory or territories the U.S. government occupies; and
        – what are the borders of the U.S., to within which it should withdraw.

        Please do. Thanks.

      • silamcuz
        April 29, 2016, 5:52 am

        Eljay

        I believe that my obligation is to support the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality. If that happens to coincide with “whatever the Palestinian [or any other] democratic society believe in”, great.

        Good, then I suggest start with the Canadian government collusion with Zionist in all aspect of governance. In addition, you should also acknowledge that as a Canadian with no ancestry to the First Nation peoples, you are as much of a settler-colonist as the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and the rightful owners of the land are the indigenous pre-Columbian nations.

        Like Israel, USA, Australia and New Zealand, Canada is also an illegally founded, settler-colonialist regime that occupies indigenous land through the threat of violence. It is no less illegitimate than Israel, so please do not try to present yourself as some sort of enlightened being trying to help Palestinians while you yourself work along with the Canadian government in the continued theft of native land and oppression of the Native people.

        It is impossible for [the colonizer] not to be aware of the constant illegitimacy of his status. . . . A foreigner, having come to a land by the accidents of history, he has succeeded not merely in creating a place for himself but also in taking away that of the inhabitant, granting himself astounding privileges to the detriment of those rightfully entitled to them. . . . He is a privileged being and an illegitimately privileged one; that is, a usurper. Furthermore, this is so, not only in the eyes of the colonized, but in his own as well.

        The Contemporary Reality of Canadian Imperialism: Settler Colonialism and the Hybrid Colonial State

        Written by Adam J. Barker for the The American Indian Quarterly

      • eljay
        April 29, 2016, 10:25 am

        || silamcuz: Good, then I suggest start with the Canadian government collusion with Zionist in all aspect of governance. … ||

        I don’t support “the Canadian government collusion with Zionist in all aspect of governance”.

        || … In addition, you should also acknowledge that as a Canadian with no ancestry to the First Nation peoples, you are as much of a settler-colonist as the Jewish settlers in the West Bank … ||

        Israeli colonists should withdraw to within the Partition / borders of their Israeli state. To within which borders of Canada should I and my fellow Canadians withdraw?

        || … please do not try to present yourself as some sort of enlightened being trying to help Palestinians … ||

        I don’t present myself as “some sort of enlightened being”.

        || … while you yourself work along with the Canadian government in the continued theft of native land and oppression of the Native people. … ||

        I don’t support – or “work along with the Canadian government in” – the “continued theft of native land and oppression of the Native people”.

        You still haven’t clarified:
        – who are “your people”;
        – which territory or territories the U.S. government occupies; and
        – what are the borders of the U.S., to within which it should withdraw.

      • silamcuz
        April 29, 2016, 10:52 am

        Eljay

        “Israeli colonists should withdraw to within the Partition / borders of their Israeli state”

        How convenient! Steal the most valuable land, use the stolen land as a base to organize even more appropriation of valuable land, and when something goes wrong, well at least they have set up a sweet base for themselves.

        Though I actually don’t really oppose this. They (Israelis) can keep it if they want it so bad. My wish is for them to just stay put and act out their supremacist delusions among themselves, in their own little corner of the world. Like North Korea perhaps.

      • eljay
        April 29, 2016, 12:38 pm

        || silamcuz: How convenient! Steal the most valuable land, use the stolen land as a base to organize even more appropriation of valuable land, and when something goes wrong, well at least they have set up a sweet base for themselves. Though I actually don’t really oppose this. … ||

        I’m happy that we’re in agreement. :-)

        || … They (Israelis) can keep it if they want it so bad. My wish is for them to just stay put and act out their supremacist delusions among themselves, in their own little corner of the world. Like North Korea perhaps. … ||

        I would prefer to see North Korea and Partition-borders Israel:
        – transform into secular and democratic states of and for all of their respective citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees equally;
        – respect and uphold human rights and international laws;
        – honour their obligations under international law.

        Please answer the questions I’ve asked you:
        – to within which borders of Canada should I and my fellow Canadians withdraw?
        – who are “your people”;
        – which territory or territories the U.S. government occupies; and
        – what are the borders of the U.S., to within which it should withdraw.

        Thanks.

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2016, 3:49 pm

        “and when something goes wrong, well at least they have set up a sweet base for themselves.
        Though I actually don’t really oppose this. They (Israelis) can keep it if they want it so bad”

        Yup “silamcruz” you know a whole lot about the Israel-Palestine issues, don’t you.

  13. Sibiriak
    April 26, 2016, 1:25 pm

    silamacuz: I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only.
    ————————–

    What is the name of your people?

  14. Sibiriak
    April 26, 2016, 1:27 pm

    silamacuz: What American people?
    ———

    So YOU say there is no American people.

    Okay, what different peoples, according to you, reside in the U.S.? How many are there? Can you name them?

  15. Citizen
    April 26, 2016, 7:43 pm

    Pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban drops $100,000 against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate race http://interc.pt/24g45Af by @ZaidJilani

Leave a Reply