During a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa last week, California Senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris was asked a number of questions by a crowd assembled at a local coffee shop.
One of those questions came from Kat Wellman, a woman affiliated with the organization Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI). Wellman asked if Harris would reenter or renegotiate the Iran Deal if elected president. While Harris condemned the Trump administration for violating the deal, she also made it clear that she would take a more aggressive stance than the Obama administration originally did. “We will reenter the agreement,” she said, “but also I will want to strengthen it. And that will mean extending the sunset provisions, including ballistic missile testing, and also increasing oversight.”
She says she’d re-enter the agreement AND strengthen it to extend sunset provisions, include ballistic missile testing & increase oversight. 👍🏼
Watch here👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/xhlX8oHCzk
— Democratic Majority for Israel (@DemMaj4Israel) October 8, 2019
In an interview with the Ames Tribune, Wellmann praised Harris’ response. “I was very impressed with her. I thought she gave an excellent speech, she gave a very detailed, responsive answer to my question,” she told the paper, “I’m pro-Israel, so I was I was very concerned and all about making sure we limit nuclear missiles in any country that could possibly destroy us all. I thought her answer was very good.”
Democratic Majority for Israel was formed this past January by veteran Democrats and party donors. It aims to stomp out growing pro-Palestine sentiment within party and serve as a counterweight to anti-occupation Jewish organizations like IfNotNow. After IfNotNow activists confronted Elizabeth Warren at a campaign stop and asked her whether she would pressure Israel to end the occupation, DMFI sent out a memo claiming that Warren had been the “victim of [a] hit-and-run” tactic and condemning the organization for denying Israel’s right to exist. “The memo made clear to me how terrified the Democratic establishment is,” IfNotNow’s Emily Mayer told the Huffington Post at the time, “They know they are completely out of touch with the opinions of the Democratic base on the question of Israel’s military occupation and Israel-Palestine more broadly.”
BREAKING: Our members in New Hampshire just asked @ewarren if she would commit to pressuring the Israel to stop their 52 year military Occupation over the Palestinian people.
She said YES. pic.twitter.com/8GLhNMQ2gf
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) July 8, 2019
Harris has distinguished herself as one of the most pro-Israel Democrats running for the presidential nomination. She’s resisted calls to condition aid to the country, refused to embrace United Nations votes condemning settlement expansion, and has openly embraced her affiliations with AIPAC.
Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat anti-Semitism in our country and around the world. pic.twitter.com/83Yrrbw4Q8
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) March 25, 2019
“Her support for Israel is central to who she is,” said Harris’ campaign communications director, Lily Adams this past April, “She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza.”
Just days after Israeli forces injured 92 Palestinian civilians this past June, Harris told the New York Times that Israeli actions met human rights standards to her personal satisfaction.