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 Dangers of Diplomacy with Iran

Aug. 21 2018

Although President Trump’s offer to meet with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic was rejected, the possibility of direct negotiations remains. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz warn that Tehran could use talks to stall and gain leverage over Washington:

The mullahs understand that just by staying at the table, Americans usually offer up concessions. [They] are betting that the Trump administration may become weaker over time, preoccupied with domestic politics. Best to entangle America in protracted diplomacy while awaiting what the regime expects will be midterm Republican losses in Congress and the return of a more flexible Democratic president to power in 2021. This is what [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei probably meant when he stressed that negotiations have to wait until America is softened up.

Diplomacy would surely blunt the impact of U.S. pressure. The mullahs believe they can undermine the escalation of [U.S.] sanctions by being diplomatically flirtatious and know well that America seldom disrupts negotiations with military action. Indeed, as a prelude to the talks, Iran may even resume its nuclear activities to frighten the Europeans and gain leverage by putting even more pressure on Washington to adjust its red lines.

Should negotiations begin, the Trump team should take sensible precautions to avoid the predicament of the Obama negotiators. The administration will need to maintain its maximum-pressure campaign and its negotiating demands. . . . Any negotiations with the Islamic Republic should be time-limited, and Washington must be prepared to leave the table when it confronts the usual pattern of regime bombast and mendacity.

Donald Trump should insist on direct talks with the supreme leader, as he did with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un: Rouhani is a lame duck without any real influence. The administration also should demand that Europeans join its sanctions policy targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program, support for terrorism, and human-rights abuses as a price for their participation in the talks.

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More about: Ali Khamenei, Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy