The 2020 elections pose a daunting question for Democrats – will they go with a progressive candidate or a moderate one? In helping to decide which way to turn it could be helpful for the Democrats to consider the history of the Israeli Labor Party, which faced a similar crossroad and took a direction which led to its demise.
Introducing The Shift, a new weekly politics newsletter from Mondoweiss that takes you the front lines in the battle over Palestine in U.S. politics.
The vote last week on H.Res.326 reveals Congress to be more divided than ever in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Almost all Republicans now back Israel’s one-state apartheid rule over the Palestinian people, whereas most Democrats still give lip-service to Palestinian statehood without being willing to pressure Israel toward this end. However, Josh Ruebner writes that things are changing for the better within the Democratic caucus as a few Representatives bravely challenge the two-state paradigm and test the waters for conditioning aid to Israel.
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill affirming that Americans have the right to participate in boycotts. Although the legislation doesn’t specifically mention the BDS movement, it coincides with an anti-BDS resolution that is currently being pushed by many Democrats.
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.
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.
House Democrats, including 9 of the 11 ViceChairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are backing an anti-BDS bill that they think is constitutional but it’s destined to backfire on them.
Many Democratic hopefuls for president have indicated that the Israeli occupation is a problem and have criticized Benjamin Netanyahu, but none will confirm that they will move the U.S. Embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv, or give specifics on how they would pressure the Israeli government.