In 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that an absence of “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel “erodes our credibility with the Arabs.” While President Obama had little luck improving American credibility among Arab nations, writes Matthew Continetti, he did succeed in eroding Democratic support for the Jewish state, as can be seen in the comments of the current presidential contenders:
Aided by [“pro-Israel, pro-peace” group] J Street, Obama opened the shutters and blinds and flooded the U.S.-Israel relationship with daylight. His demand that Israel freeze settlement construction gave the Palestinians the opportunity to refuse talks. His decision not to punish Bashar al-Assad for gassing Syrians damaged American credibility and regional stability. His nuclear agreement with Iran not only endangered Israel but also divided and demoralized the pro-Israel community. In his final month in office, Obama broke 35 years of precedent and declined to veto a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
Ironically—and predictably—these actions failed to build up credibility with Arab governments terrified by Obama’s attempted rapprochement with Iran. What Obama did do was prepare the ground for politicians and activists hostile to the Jewish state and Jews. When party leaders reinstated mentions of God and of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the 2012 Democratic party platform, some of the convention-goers booed. When Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 criticized the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran before a joint session of Congress, 56 Democratic legislators didn’t show up. Earlier this year, when the Senate took up a pro-Israel bill that included anti–boycott language, 22 Democrats voted against it.
Three of the four highest-polling Democratic presidential candidates are [now] talking about Israel in language other politicians reserve for rogue states. It’s the latest and most worrisome sign that a growing number of Democrats place a higher value on pandering to progressives than on Israeli sovereignty and security.