The Midterms Suggest the Democratic Party Will Continue to Support Israel—for the Time Being

Tuesday’s congressional elections brought some good news for Jews and supporters of Israel, as Leslie Cockburn (coauthor of a mendacious and vituperative anti-Israel book in 1991), John Fitzgerald (an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier), and Arthur Jones (an outright neo-Nazi) all lost their elections. Yet there were also some disturbing victories, notably those of the BDS-supporter Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and the anti-Semitic Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Add to these Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a socialist who has taken kneejerk anti-Israel positions. Nonetheless, argues Jonathan Tobin, “the election results gave far more comfort to those who wish to keep the Democrats part of a bipartisan pro-Israel coalition than to those who want to break it up.”

We can expect [Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez] to unite with other Democrats who wish to undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance, such as the dozens who last year signed letters—championed by figures such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—calling for the lifting of the blockade on the terrorist Hamas regime that rules Gaza. [Furthermore], intersectional ideology, which falsely analogizes the Palestinian war [against Israel] with [African-Americans’] struggle for civil rights in the United States, has become fashionable in progressive circles. But those running the Democratic caucus are still firmly in the pro-Israel camp.

The House Democratic leader—and the presumptive speaker—Nancy Pelosi has been a fairly reliable friend of Israel, though not necessarily a fan of the Netanyahu government. The number-two Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, is an even more ardent supporter of Israel who has done his best over the years to keep left-wing members of his caucus in line with respect to the Middle East. . . .

Democrats expanded their numbers throughout the country, but those who ran as unabashed progressives, rather than as moderates, generally failed in districts and states that were not deep blue. . . . The future of the Democratic party with respect to Israel is by no means assured as the party shifts to the left. But for the present, the radical anti-Israel faction remains in the minority, at least as far as Congress is concerned. It will be up to pro-Israel liberals to make sure it stays that way.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Democrats, Holocaust denial, Israel & Zionism, U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Gatestone

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy