Presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar was interviewed by the New York Times editorial board as part of their endorsement process yesterday. The Minnesota Senator addressed a number of topics, including Israel.
Klobuchar implied she might roll back the Trump administration’s declaration on the legality of settlements, but said she would not move the United States Embassy back to Tel Aviv:
I am a strong supporter of Israel. I still see it as our beacon of democracy in the Mideast. But I have been horrified by some of the things that Trump has done, which has eroded support for Israel in the United States and I think has lessened their security position. I would not reverse the embassy change, but I do think that some of the things that he did recently when the administration said that the settlements were not against international law. That is in violation of longstanding American policy.
And if we truly want to build support for this democracy, then we have to restart these negotiations for a two-state solution, which I would do. When I went to Israel with a number of senators, I went only — it was just me and one other senator that did this — and met with the Palestinians. I think that their economic future is important, and I would push for a two-state solution.
When asked a follow-up question about Trump’s Embassy move, Klobuchar said she has always supported moving it to Jerusalem.
Klobuchar also cited her strong record of pro-Israel votes in the Senate. “I still think that they are in a really tough neighborhood in a really dangerous position,” she explained, “And made worse by what Trump just did with Syria because now Iran has a foothold there.”
In addition to an increase in political support, she also said that she’d work toward improving Israel’s reputation with the American public. “One of the things that I see as this really high-stakes opportunity for a new president is to bring in American support again in a big way for Israel,” explained Klobuchar, “And you do that by stopping these Mitch McConnell divisive votes, making it a wedge issue, trying to play politics instead of looking at what the challenges are ahead. I think that we need to emphasize Israel’s historic support for women’s rights, working on climate change, all of these things that have been lost because of Trump’s continual effort to use this as a partisan pawn.”
Klobuchar is the only Senator running for president who voted in favor of an anti-BDS bill last year. That AIPAC-backed legislation would provide legal cover to states that aim to crack down on the movement. When she was asked if Israel met the international standard for human rights by the paper last year, Klobuchar said the country did.