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Supporting Israel is now ‘liability’ for Democrats, but ’60 Minutes’ doesn’t trouble Pelosi about it

Media Analysis
on 14 Comments

Yesterday in a surprising move, Nancy Pelosi met with three British members of Parliament who have left the Labour Party over its position on Israel, which they say is anti-Semitic. Pelosi tweeted the meeting with the message that we must fight anti-semitism everywhere.

The meeting was another sign that Pelosi is going to lay down the law on support for Israel. Remember, she has said that the Capitol will crumble and fall before the Democratic Party abandons its support for Israel. Remember, that she groveled at AIPAC 3 weeks ago without a word of criticism of Netanyahu, despite appeals by liberal Zionists to do so.

Then last night “60 Minutes” did a glowing profile of Nancy Pelosi as the progressive dragonslayer opposed to Donald Trump, the force that will keep the Democratic Party unified, and Israel was never mentioned. There was brief reference to the new progressive wave in the party. Pelosi got to dismiss those women out of hand and claim the mantle for herself:

Lesley Stahl: You have these wings– AOC, and her group on one side–

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: That’s like five people.

Lesley Stahl: No, it’s– the progressive group is more than five.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, the progressive– I’m a progressive. Yeah.

This is an evasion. In addition to Pelosi’s meeting yesterday, there are other signs that the Israel issue is going to be a big one in the Democrat races in 2020.

Megan McCain says that Israel is going to be the “battleground” in the Democratic Party (in a discussion with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the View on January 19). And last week Adam Garfinkle, a foreign policy prof and former State Department aide, published an article at Tablet saying that support for Israel has become “a liability” for mainstream Democratic politicians, due to the changing demographics of the American Jewish community (in a word, intermarriage):

[L]eft-of-center Jews will become ever more alienated from Israel, because they seem unable to understand (or credit) the existence of liberal forms of nationalism… [T]o the extent they remain involved in politics, the Israel portfolio will decline in relative significance. This is already a well-advanced phenomenon, as the nontrivial number of American Jews rallying behind Ilhan Omar clearly shows. Support for Israel will become a liability even for mainstream politicians within the Democratic Party. Arguably, it already is.

And of course right along with the British Labour Party’s pushback, there is a new Democratic Party-aligned AIPAC-style lobby group doing its utmost to shore up support for Pelosi and keep the issue from becoming politicized. Or more precisely, they want Democrats to continue to be identified as the pro-Israel party.

Even NPR is taking notice, in its way. Nadine Epstein of Moment Magazine said on Saturday (to Michel Martin) that the reelection of Netanyahu and his plans to annex portions of the West Bank have sent “shivers” through the liberal American Jewish community, and given politicians greater freedom to criticize Israel.

You see a number of high-ranking members of Congress who are actually normally very close to AIPAC speaking out against annexation. You see center-establishment organizations very concerned and publicly speaking out against annexation. So annexation is sort of like the new fear among, I think, many in the Jewish community. And again, I’m speaking for the middle, not so much for the right or for the left here.

The ones really feeling the shivers here are establishment supporters of Israel. That consensus defined a generation or more, the only democracy in the Middle East and an example to other nations. “60 Minutes” needs to ignore all the challenges to that ideal because it too is in the tank.

H/t Donald Johnson.

Philip Weiss

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

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14 Responses

  1. Keith on April 15, 2019, 4:01 pm

    PHIL- ” Pelosi tweeted the meeting with the message that we must fight anti-semitism everywhere.”

    The Clinton’s and the “New Democrats” turned the party of Roosevelt into the party of Wall Street, successfully competing with the Republicans for corporate sponsorship. Trump and the Republicans are now competing against the Democrats for Jewish Zionist dollars. This meeting with the British Jewish anti-Corbynites is intended to shore up Jewish fat-cat support for the Democrats. The Democrats no longer even pretend to support working people in any substantive way, appeals made primarily to identity politics. Reckless charges of anti-Semitism and now the arrest of Julian Assange indicate a descent into in-your-face authoritarianism. Welcome to the future.

    • JWalters on April 16, 2019, 3:56 am

      Extremely well put. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that since the Israelis can get their candidates elected to Congress, they can probably also get their candidates elected to leadership positions in Congress. That would explain Pelosi’s deep, deep debt to the Israelis. It would also explain how Israel could get almost the entire Congress to go along with Dubya’s insane invasion of Iraq. Those influences were deep behind the scenes and not in the news. But even people merely following the news on TV could see how insane it was. However, ordinary TV viewers were not beholden to Israel for their jobs. Such a deep blanket of orchestrated corruption doesn’t just happen by accident. It requires substantial coordination and direction.

    • Citizen on April 16, 2019, 4:31 am

      Bingo! And is Brexit the same as Trump?

      • Keith on April 16, 2019, 10:25 am

        CITIZEN- ” And is Brexit the same as Trump?”

        No, Brexit is the consequence of the legitimate concern of people to not be ruled by the EU Central Bank. Unfortunately, undoing what never should have been done is opening up a can of worms, not the least of which is government officials intentionally screwing things up to punish the citizens for voting the wrong way. All of these supranational arrangements are ultimately about social control. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, sustainability absolutely requires a reduction in energy intensive trade and an emphasis on local autonomy.

  2. Marnie on April 16, 2019, 8:05 am

    I have to wonder how compromised these ‘israel first’ congressmen and women are to give unwaivering support for this shithole apartheid state before being asked. What does the zionist enterprise have on these people for them to do anything they can not to offend the zionist swine and offer up the newest and brightest of the freshman class (Ilhan Omar) as a sacrifice to their idol? Or is it just all about the benjamins after all? When I think of what america could be, I think of Ilhan. She is getting hit hard with death threats and veiled death threats from trump loyalists and social media is insane with bloodlust. God forbid anything happens to her. The dinosaurs of the senate do nothing but suck zionist dick 24/7. No wonder her dentures look loose. #RetirePelosi

  3. Misterioso on April 16, 2019, 10:07 am

    Feeling the heat of increasing criticism of the criminal “Jewish State” within the electorate, along with other super rich scheming fellow Zionists, billionaire contributor Haim Saban (the Democrat’s Sheldon Adelson), has made it clear to Pelosi, et al, that criticism of “Israel” will not be tolerated.

    A reminder:

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 9/14
    WASHINGTON (JTA) — “Haim Saban, a top Democratic Party donor and backer of Hillary Rodham Clinton, slammed President Obama’s Iran strategy and advised Israel to bomb the ‘living daylights’ out of Iran if a nuclear deal with the major powers endangers Israel.

    “If Obama strikes a ‘bad deal’ with Iran in nuclear talks under way and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assesses it as a deal that would put Israel at risk, ‘I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches,’ Saban said Sunday at the first conference of the Israeli American Council, an advocacy group he is helping to fund.”

    “The entertainment mogul for years has been close to former President Bill Clinton and his wife, who is considering a 2016 presidential run.”

  4. wondering jew on April 16, 2019, 10:24 am

    Donald Trump will run against two Democrats in November of 2020, the nominee and Ilhan Omar. Is that the fault of the Zionists? Not really. that is the reality of a president who used islamophobia in the past and will use it in the future. is there an overlap between zionism and islamophobia? yes. are they identical? no. Trump feels that enough centrists recoil at Ilhan Omar’s rhetoric that there is no down side to attacking her. It is red meat to his base and it appeals to some centrists as well. Trump was, is and always has been a demagogue who cares little for the truth and even less for domestic tranquility. Netanyahu is his best friend. (In regards to Netanyahu, I pray that Hamas and Bibi can reach a modus operandi. It will not free Gaza, but it will lessen the chokehold.)

    • Marnie on April 16, 2019, 12:18 pm

      “In an interview with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, Trump was asked if he had any second thoughts about posting a video to Twitter that intercut quotes from the Somali-American congresswoman, a Muslim, with images of the 9/11 attacks.

      “No, not at all. Look, she’s been very disrespectful to this country, and she’s been very disrespectful to Israel,” said Trump. “She is somebody who doesn’t really understand life, real life, what it’s all about.”

      tRUMP and his evil twin netanyahoo would celebrate her death. If you pray for anything, try praying for Ilhan Omar’s safety as I do every day.

      I can’t help but think that the shit is getting ready to hit the fan because tRUMP has been a nonstop incitement machine. Say, what day is it – 2 days from Thursday.

      • JWalters on April 16, 2019, 8:15 pm

        Why not tweet images of 9/11 and Netanyahu saying 9/11 was “good for Israel”? Too close to the truth?

      • Marnie on April 16, 2019, 11:51 pm

        @JWalters –

      • Marnie on April 18, 2019, 5:14 am

        @JWalters –
        Understand (finally).

  5. Nathan on May 7, 2019, 9:33 pm

    “[L]eft-of-center Jews will become ever more alienated from Israel, because they seem unable to understand (or credit) the existence of liberal forms of nationalism…”

    Phil – There’s no need to worry about the issue. The American Jews are not going to become alienated from Israel. It’s really quite a simple matter. Jewish life in America will be so boring without Israel, hence we can all relax and stop giving the matter another thought.

    Here’s reality. The Jews are not really very religious people. No one is busy with God or with theological issues. Synagogues are quite empty, and the general American Jewish public is ignorant of the Jewish traditions and the Jewish text. Before the birth of Israel, the situation of American Jewry was quite grim. However, the rise of Israel has given the American Jewish scene a real “shot in the arm”, providing the tool that could save the community from total irrelevancy. In short, there is an interest to maintain some sort of Jewish identity; however, the synagogue doesn’t provide the necessary source of inspiration. The rise of Israel does.

    So, that’s the situation. The abandonment of Israel will mean that the crisis of Jewish life will be renewed. It will surely be a very boring Jewish community, being based on a religious tradition for the benefit of very irreligious people.

    Some Jews will be anti-Israel, and most Jews will be pro-Israel – but the common denominator will remain a Jewish identity based on politics (i.e. it’s about Israel). Mondoweiss is a good example of a Jewish identity based on anti-Israel activism. Fortunately, Israel will continue to exist and thrive throughout the coming decades, and so the future of this website is, likewise, very promising.

    • Keith on May 7, 2019, 11:47 pm

      NATHAN- “Mondoweiss is a good example of a Jewish identity based on anti-Israel activism.”

      I agree.

    • eljay on May 8, 2019, 7:20 am

      || Nathan: … the common denominator will remain a Jewish identity based on politics (i.e. it’s about Israel). … ||

      Jewish will remain what it has always been: A religion-based identity that can only be acquired by…
      – undergoing a religious conversion to Judaism; or
      – being descended from someone who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism.

      || … Fortunately, Israel will continue to exist and thrive throughout the coming decades … ||

      Decades? Ye of little faith.  :-(   The Thousand Years! “Jewish State” of Israel will continue to exist and thrive throughout the coming centuries!

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