Pulling the Democrats in an Anti-Israel Direction

Last week, while Black Lives Matter (BLM) issued a platform accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians, the U.S. Green party formally endorsed BDS. These far-left movements, though hardly mainstream, exert substantial influence on the Democratic party, writes Jonathan Tobin:

Democrats can still point to their platform that denounces BDS and backs the Jewish state, and they can note that their congressional caucus embraces the pro-Israel community. But it’s the positions of BLM and the Greens that portend what may lie down the road for the party.

We already know that Democrats are, as polls have told us for a generation, less inclined to support Israel than Republicans. But the generational shift among Democratic voters is particularly worrisome when one considers the way so many young voters got behind Bernie Sanders and are enthusiastic backers of BLM. With each passing year, support for anti-Zionist agitation grows.

Indeed, if Hillary Clinton is elected president she may find herself subjected to great pressure from her party’s base to maintain her predecessor’s hostility to the Israeli government and perhaps exceed it. Looking even farther down the road, it’s likely that the next Democratic nominee will echo Sanders’s and Jill Stein’s positions on Israel and not the nominally mainstream pro-Israel rhetoric of Clinton.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism, US-Israel relations

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship