Speaking to the same conference Bernie Sanders weighed in with a forceful message that connects the murder of his own family by the Nazis to his fight against the crushing, humiliating military occupation by Israel of Palestine.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a message to the American Jewish Committee and sought to skirt the Israel issue inside the Democratic Party with a few careful words.
In a world of complicated threats and challenges, America is stronger when we work with our allies. Israel is a strong ally and an important friend to the United States. Good friends can disagree. And a candid expression of concerns does not diminish our friendship. We can and should have an open policy debate.
She devotes much of her message to anti-Semitism and confronting it around the world, from Paris to Jerusalem. “That’s why I’m glad to be in this fight with you.”
Warren’s message is very consistent with the careful messages AJC has posted from others.
Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg addressed the American Jewish Committee yesterday with messages ahead of its global conference and both offered only coded mild criticism of Israel in ways that we should expect now from the centrist candidates, as they face pressure from the progressive base to criticize Israel.
South Bend Mayor Buttigieg implied that Israeli policies are driving the growing partisanship of Israel support in the U.S., and we must work to stop that process now.
I also believe that we have an opportunity to put our arm around our Israeli allies and make sure that we are a constructive influence and a force for peace. One of the concerns that we shared with our Israeli hosts when we were visiting is the extent to which support for Israel has become a partisan issue in the United States. I think that’s a trend that we need to work hard to end. We need to make sure that we are steadfast in our support for Israel and for the U.S.-Israel alliance, while also continuing to advance a policy direction that is going to lead to peace and security for the Israeli and Palestinian people. I’m committed to doing that as president.
Buttigieg went to Israel a year ago with the AJC and came back praising Israeli security arrangements as “moving” — even after the killing of 60 Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence.
Biden also gave a testimonial to the AJC and spoke of the “poison of anti-Semitism” in Charlottesville and Pittsburgh and said, “Make no mistake about it, we are in a battle for the soul of our nation.”
Then he moved on to Israel, with fulsome praise.
The relationship between our nations has never been about any individual leaders, it’s been about the kinship, the connection, the values that Americans and Israelis share. Support for Israel is too important to be a political football or a partisan issue, it’s about all that unites us as a people. Our shared democratic values, our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, our determination to overcome every obstacle and endure…
Biden related his old story about Golda Meir telling him when he was a freshman senator that Israelis had nowhere else they could go, and that was their secret weapon. Then Biden said aid to Israel’s self-defense is “not just critical to Israel’s security, it’s critical to America’s security.” The Obama-Biden administration gave a “record-setting” amount of money to Israel, he bragged.
He also was coded in his criticism of Israel, before segueing right to an attack on the Palestinians for failing to recognize the two-state solution as the only way forward.
But friends, we also have to tell each other the truth and that includes offering criticism on policies that are counterproductive to peace. Because despite the fact that there’s violence and recrimination that we see today in the region, peace is still the most important element to Israel’s security. You know, we have to help the Palestinians return to the peace table. But they have to be ready to negotiate. They have to be ready to recognize a two-state solution as the only way forward.
“Defending the basic human rights and religious freedom of all people is…. central to everything that unites Israel and the United States of America,” Biden frothed, before concluding by saying that Israel is necessary because of the Holocaust.
May God bless our two great nations with peace and prosperity and lasting friendship and make sure– only way we can make sure — ‘Never again.'”
NJ Senator and Presidential hopeful Cory Booker also spoke to the AJC in what looks to be a hotel room on the fly — not nearly as carefully produced as Biden and Buttigieg; Biden’s message was obviously edited — and thanked the AJC for fighting anti-Semitism. But Booker did not mention Israel once in his one-minute testimonial. He knows a hot potato. Jewish Insider reports that Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O’Rourke all appear to have declined the AJC’s invitation to address it.