Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch of southern Florida is never shy about his hardcore support for Israel, but when he endorsed Joe Biden for president last March, he didn’t mention the foreign country. He did cite gun control, climate change, divisiveness, and support for “key allies”:
“Joe has the experience, judgment, and decency to defeat Donald Trump and bring America together. We deserve a President who will tell the truth, stand up to the NRA to end the epidemic of gun violence, urgently take on climate change and stand proudly with our key allies around the world. It is time to end a presidency that has torn America apart and start an optimistic new chapter behind President Joe Biden.”
Last week Deutch told an American Jewish Committee Zoom talk that he endorsed Joe Biden “in large part” because of Israel. Asked how a President Biden would approach “trans-Atlantic” partners and Israel, Deutch described Biden’s commitment to Europe first then went on:
He knows everyone in every part of the globe, and that’s especially true in Europe where he’s worked with so many of the current leaders and understands how intertwined the growth and development of Europe and its economy and security are with that of the United States.
And then as far as Israel, I think it’s fair to say that probably everyone participating today has had the opportunity over the years to hear vice president Biden talk about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, share with us the deep knowledge he has from his many many trips, from serving as chariman of the Foreign Relations committee, the close personal relationship that he has with everyone from Prime Minister Netanyahu going back through so many other prime ministers– I think a lot of people have heard him tell his story of Golda Meir. This is something that comes to Vice President Biden in his core. He clearly understands why the ongoing strong bipartisan support for Israel is not only in Israel’s best interest but clearly in the United States’ best interest from a national security perspective and because we share the same values, the same commitment to human rights and democracy. So I am proud to support Vice President Biden, and that’s in large part because I know that he stands where I stand on the importance of strengthening the US Israel relationship.
If Israel was so important to Deutch, he should have told us so in the first place. The contradictory statements show that Israel really is a special interest, and a Jewish politician knows that. It’s a little like Chuck Schumer telling a Jewish audience in 2018 that he opposed the Iran deal in 2015 because of the “threat to Israel,” when his statement announcing that opposition in 2015 said it was because Iran threatened American interests.
The fact that these politicians can’t be upfront about their degree of support for Israel suggests they know it’s a real problem inside the Democratic Party.