Hillary Clinton’s Defeat Could Signal Her Party’s Decisive Turn against Israel

Nov. 16 2016

As the Democratic party undergoes a post-election reshuffle, writes Seth Mandel, it seems poised to elevate its anti-Israel wing:

Israel’s supporters were hoping Hillary Clinton could forestall the Democratic party’s seemingly inevitable turn against the Jewish state. . . . [Instead, this] could have been the last U.S. presidential election that Israelis don’t have to watch with existential dread.

At least, the first signs of a post-Clinton Democratic party aren’t good. Minnesota’s Congressman Keith Ellison, a fiery critic of Israel, is the frontrunner to be the next Democratic National Committee chairman. . . . [Before] his congressional career, Ellison had worked with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and even defended Farrakhan against accusations of anti-Semitism.

Ellison has left Farrakhan far behind, but his Israel criticism remains scathing. . . . On a trip to Israel last summer, Ellison posted a photo of a sign in Hebron declaring Israel to be an apartheid state and land thief. He has also called for Israel to end the blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip—despite the fact that Gaza-based terrorists have launched over 11,000 rocket attacks on Israeli civilians since Israel withdrew from the strip in 2005. . . . Yet Ellison is far from a lone voice among Democrats; indeed, he’s co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

In his quest for the party chairmanship, Ellison has the backing of the soon-to-be Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer—who prides himself on his pro-Israel bona fides and is now using his credibility on the issue to elevate Ellison. . . . Schumer might just be bowing to the new reality.

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More about: Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism, U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

The Impossibility of Unilateral Withdrawal from the West Bank

Feb. 19 2019

Since throwing his hat into the ring for the Israeli premiership, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has been reticent about his policy plans. Nonetheless, he has made clear his openness to unilateral disengagement from the West Bank along the lines of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, stating the necessity of finding “a way in which we’re not controlling other people.” Gershon Hacohen argues that any such plan would be ill-advised:

The political and strategic precepts underlying the Oslo “peace” process, which Gantz echoes, vanished long ago. The PLO has unequivocally revealed its true colors: its total lack of interest in peace, unyielding rejection of the idea of Jewish statehood, and incessant propensity for violence and terrorism. . . . Tehran is rapidly emerging as regional hegemon, with its tentacles spreading from Yemen and Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea and its dogged quest for nuclear weapons continuing apace under the international radar. Even the terror groups Hizballah and Hamas pose a far greater threat to Israel’s national security than they did a decade ago. Under these circumstances, Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank’s Area C, [the only part still under direct Israeli control], would constitute nothing short of an existential threat.

Nor does Israel need to find a way to stop “controlling other people,” as Gantz put it, for the simple reason that its control of the Palestinians ended some two decades ago. In May 1994 the IDF withdrew from all Palestinian population centers in the Gaza Strip. In January 1996 it vacated the West Bank’s populated areas (the Oslo Accords’ Areas A and B), comprising over 90 percent of the West Bank’s Palestinian residents, and handed control of that population to the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .

This in turn means that the real dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as within Israel itself, no longer revolves around the end of “occupation” but around the future of eastern Jerusalem and Area C. And since Area C (which is home to only 100,000 Palestinians) includes all the Jewish West Bank localities, IDF bases, transportation arteries, vital topographic sites, and habitable empty spaces between the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem metropolis, its continued retention by Israel is a vital national interest. Why? Because its surrender to a potentially hostile Palestinian state would make the defense of the Israeli hinterland virtually impossible—and because these highly strategic and sparsely populated lands are of immense economic, infrastructural, communal, ecological, and cultural importance, not to mention their historical significance as the bedrock of the Jewish ancestral homeland

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More about: Benny Gantz, Israel & Zionism, Two-State Solution, West Bank