Why a Group of Democratic Senators Sided with Hamas

Last week Senator Bernie Sanders led twelve of his Democratic colleagues—including Elizabeth Warren, Dianne Feinstein, and Sheldon Whitehouse—in sending a formal letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling for action to alleviate the “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip and demanding the restoration of funding to the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which collaborates with terrorists, teaches anti-Semitic propaganda in its schools, and does nothing to resettle Palestinian refugees. Jonathan Tobin comments:

[The letter] described the so-called March of Return as a response to the blockade of the [Gaza] Strip being conducted by Israel and Egypt. It specifically and repeatedly mentioned the actions of “Israeli snipers” and cited inflated casualty figures produced by Hamas. But at no point did it make reference to the terrorist group itself or acknowledge its responsibility for what happens in Gaza, let alone note the ongoing international sanctions on an area that even the Europeans know is a terrorist haven with which normal commerce is impossible. . . .

Why did so many Senate Democrats deliberately ignore Hamas’s role in an effort that, as the name of the march indicated, had as its purpose an attempt to wipe out 70 years of history and destroy the Jewish state? . . . The only possible outcome of their appeal would be an influx of Iranian weapons and material that would allow Hamas to strengthen its fortifications and its ability to carry on its fight against Israel.

The unfortunate answer is that within the Democratic party, there is now a faction that not only fails to think clearly about terrorism and the reality of Hamas-run Gaza. This group also seeks to appeal to the intersectional left leading the “resistance” to U.S. President Donald Trump, and which falsely claims a connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Palestinian war on Israel.

Fortunately, not all Democrats agree, and this struggle will play out as America heads toward the 2020 presidential race, in which the party’s left wing will seek to assert its control of the party. If the Democrats are to remain a pro-Israel party, those who care about Israel’s survival must speak out against these senators and others on the left who serve as Hamas’s dupes. . . . Contrary to the assertions of Israel’s left-wing critics, the Sanders letter and the left-wing hypocrites who support it show that the coming battle will be not so much for the soul of the Jewish state as it is for that of the Democratic party.

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More about: Bernie Sanders, Congress, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hamas, UNRWA

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East