In a response to a recent question inquiring whether or not Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin…
Asked on July 13 what he would do to pressure Israel to end the occupation and its “atrocities” against Palestinians, Beto O’Rourke said “both sides” experience fear from violence and “both sides” have bad leaders.
The young Jews of IfNotNow are making Israel’s occupation an issue in the Democratic race, and the group Democratic Majority for Israel is fighting back, calling IfNotNow anti-Israel and advising candidates to avoid answering IfNotNow’s questions. IfNotNow says the Democratic Majority group is a front for AIPAC, the Israel lobby, which has long had a home in the Democratic Party.
Joe Biden has praised racist Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Golda Meir on many occasions, but don’t expect Kamala Harris to score points off him for it, as she did over his fondness for southern racists. She has had a warm meeting with Netanyahu, refused to criticize Israel’s human rights record, and told the rightwing pro-Israel group AIPAC that she raised money for Israel as a girl and Israel’s story reminds her of the civil rights struggle in the U.S.
Pete Buttigieg is the most critical of Israel in a NYT forum, saying, “Israel’s human rights record is problematic and moving in the wrong direction under the current right-wing government.” Most Dems bend over backwards not to criticize Israel. Elizabeth Warren is surprisingly supportive: “Israel is in a really tough neighborhood.”
Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg hint at mild criticisms of Israel in comments to the American Jewish Committee while Cory Booker avoids the topic. Biden said American friends have to be honest with Israel before using the opportunity to criticize Palestinians: “They have to be ready to negotiate. They have to be ready to recognize a two-state solution as the only way forward.”
Joe Biden has bragged of raising money from the Israel lobby group AIPAC, declared “Israel…the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East,” professed, “I’m a Zionist,” and in 2014 said he had told Netanyahu, “I love you. Read an overview of Biden’s remarks on Jews and Israel, including his belief that efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, or even to protest the 2014 Gaza onslaught, are anti-Semitic.
The Palestine issue is going to be hot on the Democratic campaign trail. Solidarity activists disrupted Booker and Buttigieg launch rallies, while Beto O Rourke congratulated Netanyahu but said his alignment with “hateful” parties threatens two-state solution. And Kamala Harris is doubling down on her AIPAC support, her spox saying support for Israel is “central to who she is.”
Since Netanyahu’s reelection, mainstream Democrats have taken up ardent opposition to his plan to annex parts of West Bank. Sec’y of State Mike Pompeo won’t say what Trump will do, but MD’s Chris Van Hollen dares to imagine one state with equal rights: “Would you agree that in a one state solution Palestinians should have full and equal political and legal rights with other citizens of that state?”
Five Democratic presidential candidates criticized Netanyahu for his election tactics, and Israel lobbyists have jumped into the breach to prevent the two countries from dividing politically. Elliott Abrams calls on Democratic Party leaders to break bread with Netanyahu if he wins. And you thought Abrams was a Republican!