The beltway consensus on military aid to Israel is finally beginning to face a legitimate political challenge. There’s obviously still a long way to go, but it’s telling that so many Democrats now feel they can safely challenge aid without facing disastrous political consequences.
Nada Elia on Ayanna Pressley’s dangerous talking points on Palestine: “One cannot speak of the pain on ‘both sides’ of Israel’s war on the Palestinian people without being a normalizer of violent settler-colonialism that hinges on racism. It is tantamount to Trump’s claim that ‘there are fine people on both sides’ of rallies promoting white supremacy, and the protests against these displays of hatred.”
David Lloyd writes that congressional resolutions that affirm the duplicitous language of Zionist lobbies and apologists for apartheid will have little impact on the continuing growth of the BDS movement, “but ‘progressives’ who endorse them stand to lose sight of what is crucial to all fundamental political change: the moral force of social movements out of which, from abolitionism to civil rights to BDS, all substantial transformation has come.”
Imagine the Russians having the power over Congress the Israel lobby has. Imagine a wildly lopsided Congressional vote condemning a grassroots campaign for human rights in Russia. Trump, contrary to liberal fantasies, has done things that Putin doesn’t want, including opposing a pipeline to Germany from Russia. He has given Israel almost everything it wants except an actual US war against Iran.
Notable progressives backed the House resolution condemning BDS, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA). Both faced intense criticism on Twitter for their votes. Khanna responded, Lincoln was not an abolitionist “early in his career”. While Pressley said, “Voting yes on this resolution affirmed to my constituents raised in the Jewish faith Israel’s right to exist.”
Despite the overwhelming passage by the House of a resolution condemning BDS, many Democratic politicians are torn about how much to support Israel. Rep. John Lewis voted for the resolution but also supports a bill that affirms the right to boycott. Go figure! And two leading presidential candidates have said that Israel should suffer reductions in aid for human rights violations.
Donald Trump’s charge that four congresswomen are Israel haters is a political tactic aimed at taking pro-Israel donors away from the Democratic Party. Liberals set the table for Trump’s racist comments by roundly condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar as anti-semitic, when she was addressing an important issue in US politics: the role of the Israel lobby in setting foreign policy in the Middle East.
When Trump called Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” he was echoing an Israeli tactic against Palestinian dissenters. The charge has been used against sitting lawmakers, like when former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Hanin Zoabi a terrorist, and against poet Dareen Tatour and anti-occupation activist Ahed Tamimi.
Liberals want leftwing votes, but they dismiss leftwing goals. Michelle Goldberg says Democrats must “court” nihilistic leftists, but what does courtship mean? Supporting a warmonger, Hillary Clinton, because she’s a foreign policy genius. And the same on health care and the climate crisis: we are supposed to settle for policies that are at best inadequate and at worst catastrophic. Who are the nihilists here?
Andrew Gillum, the progressive star who is running to be Florida governor, supports McCarthyite legislation to restrict BDS. Ayanna Pressley, a MA progressive running for congress, also disappoints. But there’s good news too: the New York Times and NPR have both run stories with positive references to the movement for equal rights.