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Booker and Buttigieg launches are disrupted by Palestinian protest, while Harris spox says ‘supporting Israel is central to who she is’

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Kamala Harris, by Katie Miranda.

Here we go! It’s happening! Dem Presidentials are coming up against the Palestine question. Both Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg’s campaign kick-off rallies were marked by Palestinian solidarity protest. Beto O’Rourke blows Netanyahu a kiss and calls for a two-state solution. Kamala Harris’s spox says supporting Israel is central to who she is.

So the issue is inescapable, the base is demanding the discussion.

Buttigieg launched his campaign in South Bend on Sunday. And “a group of protesters also attended the rally, urging the Democratic presidential candidate to clarify and step back from his previous statements toward the Israeli government. ‘Open your heart 2 Palestine & Golan’ was the message on their banners and T-shirts,” Jason Lemon reports on Pete Buttigieg rally for Newsweek

“This is not only about Pete,” Jude Ash, a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame and one of the protest organizers told Newsweek. “We want to show that there are people in his intended base who are concerned about U.S. policy in the Middle East region being dogmatically pro-Israel, regardless of what Israel is doing to Palestinians,” he explained…

Buttigieg “seems to uncritically regurgitate the Israeli propaganda without any sensitivity to the Palestinian and Syrian grievances, and even suggests the Israeli approach may hold lessons for the U.S.,” Ash said.

[Ash continued,] “But it is also directed toward all of Democrats…. We are all big supporters of Pete, and we believe that he has shown over and over that he is willing to listen, learn, and evolve on the issues.”

The piece quotes Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, moving the Democratic base:

Vilkomerson told Newsweek that “as the opinion polls keep demonstrating, it’s increasingly clear that any candidate—for any position—who claims to be progressive needs to support Palestinian human rights.”

Here’s Buttigieg regurgitating Israel talking points. Back in January he dismissed Ilhan Omar, after the Minnesota rep likened Israel to Iran in its failure to separate church and state. He said Iran is the problem:

I disagree with the comments comparing Israel to Iran. People like me [gay people] get strung up in Iran. So the idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong. Now what I will say is that it is complicated picture. I was in Israel in May of this year and not only is there a real problem with their long term, how they’re going to balance being a democracy with being a Jewish state. But they’ve also got to figure out, and we’ve got to figure out with them as an ally, what the regional security picture is going to look like in the future. We were just a couple of miles from Gaza and the general who was briefing our delegation said what they were worried about most is Iran, beyond even what’s going on with the Palestinians. It has always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this.”

Next, here’s Cory Booker’s launch rally Saturday. When Booker spoke of the “injustice of families not having heat in the coldest months of the year,” Palestinian advocates interrupted him. “Justice means justice for Palestine. We cannot have justice for all if we do not have justice for Palestine.”

The video was posted by a Palestinian solidarity activist, Yumma3X who said:

Today, I disrupted ‘s kick off campaign event because I found his silence on the crimes the apartheid state of Israel is committing on the Palestinians appalling . I went out because I believe “Justice for All” must include Palestine

Booker is hewing to a pro-Israel line. He told the Washington Post last week: “We see in Israel a nation that is constantly under assault from terrorism and the media and is in a precarious position when it comes to its security and the freedom to exist.”

Last week Beto O’Rourke called Netanyahu a racist and a threat to the bipartisan support for Israel:

The US-Israel relationship… if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a Prime Minister who is racist.

Lately O’Rourke congratulated Netanyahu on victory and said Two-State solution, now and forever:

Let me begin by, this is my first public opportunity to do this, to publicly congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu on his victory. I may not agree with a lot of what he has done or said, especially recently aligning himself with far right, very hateful parties employing some very racist rhetoric — disavowing functionally the two-state solution, which if you care about Israel, and I deeply do, it’s going to undermine and jeopardize a peaceful, secure future for that state, it will make it nearly impossible for Israel to remain both a Jewish state and a democracy. So I have some serious differences.

But our differences should not hold us captive to being able to advance our cause, which is a two-state solution, our friendship, which is historic with the state of Israel, which must transcend who’s in power at a given time or the party affiliation of the president of the United States. That is an everlasting relationship and friendship. But for the full benefit of everyone in that region, Israelis and Palestinians, then we must ensure that there are two states, it is the best long term guarantee for peace, political stability and our interests as well as the interests of those two peoples being served in that area, so you have got my commitment on a two state solution going forward.

Kamala Harris stays strong for Israel under pressure from the left. A McClatchy report by Emily Cadei and Michael Wilner:

California Sen. Kamala Harris is resisting pressure from the left flank of her Democratic party… holding firmly to her moderate approach to U.S.-Israel relations in her 2020 run for president.

Harris is pursuing the Clintonite path. “Support for Israel is central to who she is.”

In the Senate and on the campaign trail, Harris is opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, foreign aid cuts to the state, condemnatory votes on Israel at the United Nations and public criticism of its leadership — all tactics increasingly popular with the Democratic base and adopted by several of her Democratic presidential rivals.

Unlike those rivals, Harris is standing by her association with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as the advocacy organization becomes a lightning rod within the Democratic Party.

“Her support for Israel is central to who she is,” Harris’ campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. “She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza.”

Harris is obviously playing the donor game here. She met with AIPAC during its conference last month.

Harris has also maintained close personal ties with several leading figures in California’s pro-Israel Jewish community. In her 2017 remarks to the AIPAC conference, she singled out “my dear friends and AIPAC board members, Anita Friedman and Cissie Swig and Amy Friedkin,” all wealthy San Francisco-area philanthropists and political donors. Friedkin also served as AIPAC’s first female president from 2002 to 2004, just as Harris was coming up in local politics.

The article mentions Harris’s marriage to a Jewish attorney in 2014. He accompanied her on her first visit to Israel and the occupied territories.

Driving this discussion is the progressive base. Bernie Sanders put down Netanyahu at a town hall yesterday:

“I’m Jewish. I lost my father’s family, devastated by Hitler, so this is an issue of some sensitivity to me. I will do everything in my power, and I hope every member of Congress will fight not only anti-Semitism, but racism and anti-Muslim activity so we create a nondiscriminatory society,” Sanders said. “But it is not anti-Semitic to be critical of a right-wing government in Israel. It is not anti-Semitic.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raises the idea of pressuring Israel. She hopes for a diplomatic response to the annexation plans; “but if we just sit on our hands…” Does that mean she’s in favor of cutting military or economic aid to Israel? she was asked:

I mean I think it’s on the table. I think it’s certainly on the table. I think it’s something that can be discussed. I also acknowledge my role in this as well in that I hope to play a facilitating role in this conversation and a supportive role in this conversation, but I also know that there are people who have been leading on this for a long time, like Congresswoman [Betty] McCollum… But I think we need to expand what those policy conversations are because I would as just a citizen of this country, I would be very concerned if Trump started really pursuing more and more and more, increasingly dangerous policies and everyone just standing aside and saying this is normal, this is just like before.



Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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16 Responses

  1. edwardm on April 16, 2019, 1:33 pm

    Whatever the question, Buttigieg always makes the answer about him. Incidentally he seems to be onboard with destroying homes. As long as the owners are poor. Or black. Some progressive.

    • JWalters on April 16, 2019, 7:54 pm

      Listening to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announcement speech I noted that he AVOIDED the major problems underlying all America’s other problems, namely the corruption of America’s politics that is draining America’s communities for war profiteering bankster profits. It seemed to me his “heartwarming” story is designed to dupe Americans once more. In short, he seemed to me like a smooth plant, promoted behind the scenes by the war industry he protects.
      “Pete Buttigieg’s Official Campaign Announcement Rally”
      Speech starts at 1:07:00. About 1 hour.

      In stark contrast, Tulsi Gabbard bluntly addresses the current monumental waste of corrupt war that blocks progress on all other fronts.
      “Representative Tulsi Gabbard Presidential Campaign Announcement”
      About 25 minutes.

      Likewise in stark contrast, Bernie Sanders’ announcement speech attacks the centralized corruption with vigor, and leaves no doubt why the oligarchy fears him.
      “Senator Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign Announcement”

      Bernie has also announced that he won’t tolerate the corrupt DNC dirty tricks to block his nomination this time around.
      “Bernie Sanders Removes the Gloves”

      • Citizen on April 17, 2019, 5:31 pm

        I agree with your analysis–hopefully many Americans will also notice this comparison.

    • JWalters on April 17, 2019, 5:04 pm

      More on Buttigieg’s role in the current election. “Mayor Pete” was in a group of top Democrats who met recently to discuss how to sabotage Bernie again. This guy is definitely an agent for the war profiteering banker Israeli wing of the Democratic party. That completely explains his sudden “rise” from nowhere. That’s why his campaign supports mom and apple apartheid.
      “As Sanders 2020 Campaign Gains Steam, Corporate Democrats Reportedly ‘Growing Increasingly Nervous'”

      • Eric on April 17, 2019, 7:27 pm

        JWalters is right: Pete Buttigieg is the Emmanuel Macron of this Presidential campaign, ie, gay and plucked from obscurity to prime time by virtue of his Zionist backers. Like Trump, he will be their “perfect little puppet” if elected. Tulsi Gabbard is the best of a relatively mediocre field, with Bernie or Pocahontas close behind.

      • punterweger on April 17, 2019, 10:05 pm

        @Eric – I am not a particular fan of Senator Warren, but shame on you for applying Trump’s racist epithet to her.

      • JWalters on April 18, 2019, 3:30 am

        Eric, interesting comparison to Macron, and the Zionists are indeed the tip of the spear for the war profiteering bankers.

        I see Tulsi as having a particularly firm inner self, which would be a significant asset. And like Bernie, she sees clearly through the oligarchy’s cover story. Her focus on the wasteful needless wars compliments Bernie’s more domestic focus. Combine that with Bernie’s added experience, a Bernie-Tulsi 2020 ticket would not be surprising. Liz would run Treasury, reforming banking.

  2. Kay24 on April 16, 2019, 5:12 pm

    Let’s face it, even the Democrats will kiss Netanyahu’s crooked butt, just so that they can get the AIPAC support, politicians in the US need, to win elections. Israel controls America and we know it.

    This is utterly disgusting. It seems lately Bernie Sanders has made a stand against Israel, and the treatment of the Palestinians.

    Such a todo about Russia interfering in America in the media, but not a peep about Israel doing so for decades.

    • echinococcus on April 19, 2019, 9:45 am


      Not “Let’s face it”; not “us”, but you and your ilk should face it that not “even” but *especially* your fellow Democrats are always more than eager to kiss genocidaire Zionist butt.

      That party, one wing of the Single War Party, is the main administrative organ of US Imperialism and the Owners of the County are never ever letting small fry like you and a couple other “liberals” control anything (and they have not ever.) Staying within invalidates any positive gesture in solidarity with Palestinian resistance.

      So let’s please cut the BS about a “stand against Israel” by notorious warmonger Sanders and other controlled opposition. All their “stand” is about is the so-called excesses of Zionism, ie not the invasion, not the occupation, not the landgrab, not the genocide, all of that having been started and implemented by their fellow “LaboUr” Zionists and the Dims. They are merely deploring the bad PR of Likud & Co and calling for a more polite, presentably (“salonfähig”, fit for refined drawing-rooms, is the precise word one needs) genocidal Zionism.

      • Kay24 on April 19, 2019, 1:08 pm

        If you don’t want to “face it” look away.

  3. eljay on April 16, 2019, 6:22 pm

    “Her support for Israel is central to who she is,” Harris’ campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. …

    It would make perfect sense for an American like Ms. Harris to make support for America and Americans “central to who she is”.

    One could admire an American like Ms. Harris if she were consistently to make justice, accountability, equality and respect for human rights and international laws “central to who she is”.

    It makes no sense and it isn’t particularly admirable that Ms. Harris makes hypocritical and unquestioning support for a colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state in the Middle East “central to who she is”.

  4. Elizabeth Block on April 17, 2019, 9:14 am

    Supporting a two-state solution means supporting the status quo, i.e. Israel continuing to take Palestinian land, water, livelihoods, and lives. And I’m sorry, there’s no excuse anymore for ignorance here.

    Thank God for Bernie Sanders. He has Jewish privilege – he doesn’t have to be afraid of being called anti-Semitic – and he’s using it. So should all of us who have that privilege.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on April 18, 2019, 5:22 pm

      But Bernie still supports Jewish nationalism in Israel. Don’t get it twisted. He does not favor a one state solution. Diversity for thee, not for me….

  5. CHUCKMAN on April 17, 2019, 3:36 pm

    ‘And Kamala Harris is doubling down on her AIPAC support, her spox saying support for Israel is “central to who she is.”’

    Does it come more cringing and dishonest than that?

    No wonder American politics are so hopeless.

    Literally, no hope for any meaningful change can be found in America’s elections.

    They are just costly productions of reality-style television shows. Ones missing every scrap of genuine reality.

    Such twisted and meaningless lines as this by Harris are delivered and broadcast and heard and read without so much as the clearing of a throat.

    Money drives everything, right down to an American politician speaking about another country as being central to who she is.

    A country, no less, engaged in murder, abuse, occupation, theft, brutality, and constant war.

    That’s some identity, Kamala Harris!

  6. punterweger on April 17, 2019, 10:30 pm

    Don’t let O’Rourke off the hook for his blatant double talk. First he makes a pretty comprehensive list of Netanyahu faults, where he includes “disavowing functionally the two-state solution,” and in the next breath “[b}ut our differences should not hold us captive to being able to advance our cause, which is a two-state solution” He then goes on to exempt Israel from partisan politics and swears an the oath to the “everlasting relationship and friendship” with Israel.

    • oldgeezer on April 17, 2019, 11:29 pm


      You hit the nail on the head.

      “First he makes a pretty comprehensive list of Netanyahu faults”

      zionist apologetics evolve to suit the circumstances. To provide cover for ongoing and planned crimes.

      Even before the election the theme was, don’t blame zionists, don’t blame Jews , even many of us disagree with the policies of the Netanyahu government, don’t blame Jews but if you don’t accept Israel represents all Jews you are antisemitic.

      This is bs. Pure bs. Netanyahu is a vile person. Likely criminal even by Israeli definitions.

      But netanyahu is not the problem. He’s neither the most virulently racist of violent person that was in the Israeli government whether recent or prior. He is just one of a half century of such leaders. Decades of much worse leaders wannabes. Off topic but I save the worst revulsion for Sharon, Next to sharon, nutty is a whimp wannabe. Many of the crimes against humanity nutty claims to his credit were actually sharon’s claim to fame/imfamy.

      He has the massive support of Israelis. He does represent Israel.

      And it is not good. Either on Israelis, Jews or humanity.
      You need to be pretty devoid of any morality to support him in any way,

      zionists knowing are more than willing to throw him under the bus by blaming all the evils that they perpetrate as being the fault of the netanyahu government. The problem is that the evils are the result of zionism. Netanyahu is the result of zionism.

      zionism is racism.
      racism is evil.
      zionism is evil

      You find a nice moral supportable form of zionism then change the name, purpose and most importantly means means and methods.

      Whether in my lifetime or next zionism will be, and should be, reviled for the pure evil that it is.

      wj/yonah, zionism is evil. It has saved no lives. It saved none of the victims of WII. In fact it bargained many of them to their death for it’s own benefit. Despicable people who are owed and deserve nothing. I can only hope that the Jewish victims of zionism will someday be saved from the absolute moral rot that they have been indoctrinated into. As have you.

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