Two Rising Stars of the Democratic Party Are Courting the Anti-Israel Left

Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, both of whom are expected to seek the presidential nomination in 2020, have just seized opportunities to shore up their anti-Israel bona fides, according to Jonathan Tobin. Booker, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted against the Taylor Force Act—which would condition U.S. aid for the Palestinian Authority on its cessation of payments to terrorists and their families—while Gillibrand made clear her opposition to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Tobin writes:

Both [senators] were once rock-solid supporters of Israel. But both have other priorities these days—they are thinking about running for president in 2020. Their problem is that no one who plans to compete in future Democratic primaries can ignore the growing power of their party’s left wing, which has grown increasingly hostile to Israel. The influence of the far left is the only thing that might explain why Booker and Gillibrand are presenting themselves to their party’s base as less than fully supportive of Israel. . . .

Booker—considered very close to the Jewish community [while serving as mayor of Newark], before he was elevated to the Senate—was one of four committee Democrats (out of ten) to oppose the Taylor Force Act. His explanation was that he wanted the aid money to be held in escrow for more than a year. A more likely reason is that he is signaling to the left that he wants to be considered sympathetic to the Palestinians. Gillibrand’s abandonment of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act was just as telling. . . .

In 2020, no Democrat will have the advantages Hillary Clinton possessed heading into 2016. The balance of power among Democrats is almost certainly going to be further to the left. That’s why both Booker and Gillibrand are acting as if they know their long-shot hopes depend on being acceptable to anti-Israel radicals. Both have demonstrated their ability to be chameleons in the past—Gillibrand’s transformation from a centrist pro-gun “Blue Dog” member in the House to a left-wing senator is an especially egregious example of how one gets ahead in today’s Democratic party. The message Booker and Gillibrand are sending out is clear: if abandoning Israel is part of the price of victory in 2020, they are very willing to pay it.

Read more at National Review

More about: Cory Booker, Democrats, Israel & Zionism, U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy