Biden is willing to compromise with Sanders on climate change and immigration — not Israel

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The Democratic Party leadership is willing to compromise with Bernie Sanders on climate change, the green new deal, medicare for all, immigration, criminal justice. But not on Israel.

Mark Mellman, president of the Israel lobby group Democratic Majority for Israel and a longtime Democratic Party insider, indicated that the Biden forces refused to set up a joint task force with Sanders on foreign policy/Israel this spring, even as they were willing to negotiate other policy differences, because the leadership won’t budge on that question.

“As our friends in the former Soviet Union used to say, It is not a coincidence that there was not a task force on foreign affairs,” Mellman told the American Jewish Committee in a webinar today. “There was a decision to do joint task forces on domestic issues, on global warming, health care and other issues… I think it’s fair to say that it was felt that that would not be productive with respect to foreign policy and so it was not done, with reason.”

Mellman said Biden’s resulting shifts to the left “have gone a long way in terms of cementing party unity,” and for the “larger goal of defeating Donald Trump, that party unity is necessary.” But not on Israel.

There were compromises made on a range of issues, in health care and climate change etc. It’s good that those compromises were made. I don’t think we’re going to see that level of compromise with respect to the Israel issue.

Bernie Sanders bragged about the Party’s movement last week:

 “On issue after issue, whether it was education, the economy, health care, climate, immigration, criminal justice, I think there was significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign.”

Mellman said that in the next day or so the Biden team will put forward its platform language on Israel and it will be very pro-Israel in “emotional” terms, as Joe Biden is.

“It will sound like Joe Biden sounds reflecting both deep personal commitment and ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.”

Democratic Majority for Israel, which is aligned with the lobby group AIPAC, has been in on the drafting, Mellman said.

We’ve had a number of ongoing conversations with the platform drafters and the Biden campaign, and I’m very pleased I think we’re going to see a text… that continues the tradition of strong support for Israel that the Democratic Party has had in the past and that Joe Biden has displayed personally.

There will be opposition but the Party leaders will put it down.

It is possible that people will try and amend that platform both at the drafting committee level and then down the road in a couple of weeks at the platform committee and potentially even at the convention… I think those attempts are not likely to succeed. But we are certainly alert to those attempts and we’ll be fighting back against any attempt to amend the platform in an anti-Israel way.

Mellman said only a very small minority of the Democratic Party is critical of Israel. Only 13 have signed on to legislation that would cut aid to Israel over annexation. The number includes Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. “They are not very influential in this respect in the Democratic Party on these issues,” Mellman said. “[Though] Trump will try and make them seem that way in order to attempt to further his own ambitions.”

He likened the Israel-critical bloc in the Democratic Party to “white supremacists and anti-Israel people” in the Republican Party. “Both parties have elements in them that are less than congenial as far as the Amerian Jewish community is concerned…”

Though Democratic Majority for Israel’s job is bringing a pro-Israel message from the center-left. Because the Israel message has only come from the right in recent years, Mellman said.

He also said that “Israel is a threshold issue for American Jews.” Once a politician is seen as “fundamentally pro-Israel,” Jewish voters move on to other issues. Joe Biden meets that standard and more so. And today Jewish voters see both parties as both pro-Israel, so “it’s not a voting issue.”

Mellman was caustic on the subject of liberal Zionist Peter Beinart’s bombshell writings of last week in Jewish Currents and the New York Times calling for one state in Israel and Palestine, thereby ending the Jewish state.

Look the main thing Peter Beinart wants is for this to be discussed. I hesitate to discuss it too much… I think it’s wrong on the facts, wrong on the history, wrong on the politics, wrong on the morality, wrong in almost every conceivable way.

Mellman said in publishing Beinart’s piece, The New York Times was “perhaps equally irresponsible” as it had been in publishing Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed calling for a military response to racial-justice demonstrators in June. That op-ed resulted in two editors losing their jobs, and the Times apologizing for the piece.

Mellman said that Beinart’s recommendation won’t get traction. In the Congress, only Rep. Rashida Tlaib is a one stater. “J Street was forced to withdraw their endorsement of her because she’s a one stater,” he said. “But she’s the only one. Even Ilhan Omar has supported two states.”

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“Biden was willing to compromise with Sanders on climate change and immigration — not Israel” Climate change and immigration do not have the kind of well-financed, fanatical lobbies Israel has. American foreign policy is, and has long been, for sale. Democrats or Republicans – it makes no difference. Get the money out of politics, and American foreign policy would show some balance and principle and sanity. But chances of that happening are zero. America is… Read more » A lengthy must read: “Quick thoughts: Mouin Rabbani** on Israeli Annexation” Jadaliyya Ezine, July 4/20 [“Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu repeatedly proclaimed his determination to commence with the formal annexation of West Bank territory on 1 July 2020. Yet the appointed day came & went without an Israeli declaration announcing a change in policy towards the occupied Palestinian territories. In this interview, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani examines the background & consequences of Israel’s push towards annexation.”] … Read more »

(cont’d) “As these territories came under the control of the nascent Israeli state, they were immediately and fully incorporated by it. If you lay a map of the boundaries resulting from the Palestine War over one of the borders endorsed by the United Nations in 1947, you will find that somewhere between a quarter and a third of the territory of pre-1967 Israel, what is often referred to as ‘Israel proper’ even though there is… Read more »

(cont’d) “‘The territories annexed by Israel in 1967 and their remaining Palestinian inhabitants became subject to the ‘laws, jurisdiction and administration’ that govern territory within the Israeli state rather than those prevailing in the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were ruled by military governments established under the authority of the Ministry of Defence and staffed by military officers.'” “‘Israel amplified its annexationist agenda in 1980 with the passage of the Basic Law:… Read more »

Article in Mondo’s Monday blog, “Friends of the IDF received at least $2 million in PPP loans”. I wonder how Americans struggling to pay their rent/mortgage, or simply put food on the table for their families, would feel about this if they knew it. Getting information like this out to a public generally uneducated on the issue would go a long way, I think, towards shifting the public attitude and, ultimately, the Party’s position on… Read more »