At their 2017 convention, the left-wing political organization Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) passed an endorsement of boycotts of Israel by a nine-to-one margin; the resolution’s success met with enthusiastic chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The DSA also saw the electoral victories of three charismatic, young female candidates in November who beat out competition from the Democratic establishment: Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York will join the House of Representatives, and Julia Salazar the New York state senate. Of these, Tlaib is an all-out Israel hater, Salazar also seems to be one, and Ocasio-Cortez made some vague anti-Israel statements and then backtracked. Emily Benedek examines the new direction the organization is taking when it comes to the Jewish state:
Olivia Katbi Smith and Emily Rose Golden are the co-chairs of the Portland chapter of DSA. Before a . . . concert last March, they took the stage together to welcome their comrades and talk to them about a very important issue: “Palestine.” Olivia . . . took hold of the mike and introduced herself as “an Arab.” She then handed the microphone, relay-race style, to Emily, . . . who said, “And I’m Jewish.” Now that their bona fides had been established, Emily continued, reading from a script, . . . “So we want to debunk any myths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that paint it as a complicated conflict, something that has always been around and is unsolvable and we can just let them fight it out over there. . . . Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that there is anything other than an illegal and brutal occupation, designed and bankrolled by Western imperialist powers.” Cheers and whistles. . . .
Membership [in the DSA] ballooned to 32,000 in 2017 (from a mere 5,000 at its founding in 1982) on the coattails of Bernie Sanders’ [presidential] campaign, and boasted 50,000 members in 2018 after Trump’s election. The average age of a dues-paying DSA member has plummeted from sixty-eight years old to thirty-three between 2013 and now. The new members are a mishmash, unclear about what exactly “democratic socialism” means and entails, but unified by the belief that capitalism and conventional politics have failed their generation. They are also unified in the belief that Israel is the enemy of the righteous. . . .
But I wonder how Democratic voters and officials would respond if they knew that on August 30, 2018, Katbi Smith published on Facebook a drawing of Leila Khaled, a member of the [terrorist group] the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with a red heart and the date August 29, 1969, in honor of the 49th anniversary of Khaled’s hijacking of TWA flight 840 on its way from Rome to Tel Aviv. After the passengers were removed from the aircraft in Damascus, Khaled and her fellow hijackers blew up the plane’s nose cone. [Khaled also participated in an attempted hijacking the following year, in which her collaborator shot a flight attendant.] Today, Katbi Smith’s Twitter cover photo is a likeness of Leila Khaled.