That orgy of elite devotion to Israel that is the AIPAC policy conference has featured one prominent Democrat after another seeking to outflank the Trump administration in their expressions of love for Israel.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer took the prize by slinging mud at Palestinians and Arabs as the reason there is no end to the conflict. Schumer said the problem is that the Palestinians don’t believe in the Jewish Torah:
Now, let me tell you why – my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. The view of Palestinians is simple, the Europeans treated the Jews badly culminating in the Holocaust and they gave them our land as compensation.
Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin…
In a speech laden with Hebrew, Schumer also said that Israeli settlements and land-grabs have nothing to do with the conflict, and threw in praise for the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Now, some say there are some who argue the settlements are the reason there’s not peace, but we all know what happened in Gaza, Israel voluntarily got rid of the settlements there, the Israeli soldiers dragged the settlers out of Netzarim, and three weeks later the Palestinians threw rockets into Sderot. It’s sure not the settlements that are the blockage to peace.
Some say it’s the borders. Oh, Israel wants different borders, but they forget during the negotiations in 2000, Ehud Barak was making huge territorial concessions that most Israelis didn’t like, it was Arafat who rejected the settlement. It’s not the borders neither. And it’s certainly not because we’ve moved the embassy to where it should belong in Yerushalayim. It’s not that either.
(“In which NY’s senior senator engages in hate speech of the worst kind in the worst of all arenas,” Scott Roth commented.)
Other Democrats praised the Trump administration, or said it wasn’t doing enough to support Israel.
This morning Delaware Senator Chris Coons hailed Ambassador Friedman and his “great team at the embassy.”
He also praised Trump’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley– but said she should be doing more against “anti-Israel bias” at the U.N.:
Our ambassador Nikki Haley has been a strong and capable and good leader. But we should be doing more.
She’s the ambassador who has said she wears heels in order to stomp out anti-Israel bias.
While New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez criticized the Trump administration for not fully implementing the sanctions against Iran that Congress has authorized. Menendez said war was on the horizon.
The security of the United States is strong when the security of Israel is strong… We know that Israel has always been surrounded by enemies. Today the stakes are even higher…. These growing threats demand that we do everything we can now to push back against Iran’s continued aggression.
We know that Israel would prefer to keep the sword of freedom sheathed… [But if war comes] We will stand on the side of our one true ally in the Middle East.
Coons (who is said to be on a par with Joseph Goebbels in his warmaking rhetoric) also issued declarations about a war with Iran being our fight:
I have not seen a security situation as immediately threatening as today… … Iran [is] increasingly and aggressively challenging Israel…
When Iran and Russia challenge Israel directly they are also challenging the United States.
House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer called Israel the “miracle in the Middle East” and all but trashed President Obama’s Iran deal in his comments.
that agreement clearly was not perfect. That agreement clearly should have dealt, in my opinion with the nonnuclear malign destabilizing activity that Iran precipitates. It also should have dealt with a permanent solution, not a temporary solution. So, I’m supportive, as [Republican Majority leader Kevin McCarthy] is, of us moving towards renegotiation, cooperating with our European partners –
Queens congresswoman Grace Meng, a Democrat, and Claire Shipman of ABC (who is married to Jay Carney, the former Obama spox) outdid one another to highlight the supposed threat to world peace from Iran:
Shipman: Of course, just a few weeks ago Iranian forces in Syrian sent a drone into Israel and set off an entire series of destabilizing events. Earlier today Admiral Stavridis said to me he thinks that Iran and the way we deal with it really has to be the premier foreign policy challenge that we have right now in the Middle East. How do you think the U.S. and Israel can work together to confront the Iranian threat… and to be sure Israel has the support it needs to deal with the threats?
Meng: Well, it’s a good question. It’s why I voted against the deal in the first place and I think many people in this room agree that we knew that this threat would become more and more serious. You can clap. The answer is very generally two-fold…
One is to work here in Congress in a bipartisan way to insure that Israel has the resources it needs to defend herself and that doesn’t just keep and make Israel safer, it makes all of us safer around the world.
Do these Democrats really think that bellicose stances are going to get young progressives to go to the polls for Democrats, or to support Israel?
How will young Jewish Dems feel when they see VP Mike Pence at AIPAC calling Donald Trump “the most pro-life president ever” — a faux pas that underlines the rightwing bona fides of supporting Israel.
Not one of the big Democrats addressing the conference could bring themselves to speak about the occupation or discrimination against Palestinians, issues that are souring young progressives on Israel.
Amy Klobuchar, the progressive senator from Minnesota, said there’s a crisis for Democrats in that trend, but she said nothing about Palestinians. She said the trick was to talk about the Holocaust to young people, because they don’t know that history.
Getting youth involved and seizing on some of those issues that Israel and that this community has long stood up for, whether it is taking on climate change, whether it is immigration reform, whether it is standing up for refugees, these are issues that the Jewish community has been uniquely active on, and I think those are issues that are appealing to young people, and ways of talking about and teaching people what happened with the Holocaust and what the Jewish community has experienced because so many of them don’t really know that history.
While Schumer said that young progressives don’t know the history of Israeli victimhood.
Too many of our younger generations don’t share the devotion to Israel that our generations have. That’s a problem. We have to face it and deal with it…
Too many of the younger Americans don’t know the history and as a result, they tend to say, both sides are to blame. Many Americans, younger Americans didn’t grow up knowing Israel was attacked time after time. They think Israel has always been strong. They do not realize that if Israel were weak, her enemies would immediately seek her destruction…
The unfairness springs from a deep well of bias that has always existed, unfortunately, against Eretz Yisrael. If only the younger generation knew more about this unfairness, I believe it would affect them powerfully. And there are two things we can do immediately that will help rectify this situation…
One of those things, per Schumer, is to attack the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, BDS, with legislation in Congress. Schumer said the BDS campaign is anti-Semitic. “Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers by letting the world know when there is a double-standard, whether they know it or not, they are actively participating in an anti-Semitic movement.”
I don’t think that tack is going to get young people back on board.