Can the Democrats Be Stopped from Abandoning Israel?

Since the presidency of Jimmy Carter, writes Ronald Radosh, the Democratic party’s relationship with the Jewish state has been a troubled one. Even if a general pro-Israel consensus continues to dominate the party mainstream, the influence of anti-Israel progressives appears to be growing steadily. This was in evidence last week, when Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to “commemorate” the creation of Israel as a “catastrophe.” It was also in evidence a few days later, when Tlaib’s fellow “Squad” member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a/k/a AOC) claimed that Israel had killed a journalist, and should therefore be denied American aid. But, as Radosh notes, there is also the contrary example of Ritchie Torres:

Torres, the young congressman from the Bronx, who seems to check every box in the progressive identity [roster]: gay, black, Hispanic, born to a single mother, raised in a housing project. Yet Torres has distinguished himself as an outspoken defender of Israel. (He likes to joke that the reason he’s pro-Israel is that he dropped out of college.) In a series of recent tweets, Torres wrote that the Abraham Accords “created a path to peace that fundamentally altered the Middle East, while the BDS movement offers no positive change for Israelis or Palestinians.”

The case of Torres, who is firmly a member of the party’s progressive wing, leads Radosh to address a crucial question:

What then, can be done to turn this around—to encourage more of the politics of Ritchie Torres, and less of AOC’s?

First, it’s essential to break the mental and rhetorical grip of “intersectionality” as it now applies to Israel—the idea that if one is against the oppression of black people in America, one must also be anti-Israel.

Second, pro-Israel Democrats must fight the accusation that they are using “dark money” from reactionary (or Republican) sources. In her concession speech, Nina Turner, [who recently lost a Democratic congressional primary in Ohio to the more moderate Shontel Brown], said, “We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned the election.” The charge is itself reminiscent of the infamous statement made by Representative Ilhan Omar that American support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins”—that is, Jewish money.

Read more at Sapir

More about: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats, Rashida Tlaib, US-Israel relations

The Viciousness of the Left’s Turn against Israel

Naturally, neither the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez nor his political ally and compatriot Josep Borrell—who was as quick to express his sorrow over the death of the Iranian president as he has been to condemn Israel for war crimes on flimsy evidence—would admit any hostility toward Jews. These two socialists would instead fall back on the rhetoric of progressive internationalism, and their defenders would rush in to complain of the “weaponization of anti-Semitism” to stifle any criticism of Israel. Susie Linfield, a scholar of leftwing anti-Zionism, has some thoughts on this matter:

There is . . . something almost laughable—though also deeply irritating—about the increasingly talmudic debate over whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. [The magazine] n+1 published an open letter signed by many leftist Jewish writers, insisting that the two “anti’s” aren’t the same. But they couldn’t bring themselves even to mention the Hamas attacks by name, instead putting forth a sort of wimpy “all lives matter” line. So let’s stipulate: no, anti-Zionism isn’t always anti-Semitism. You’re not an anti-Semite? Mazel tov! Unfortunately, the political positions of many self-professed anti-Zionists are atrocious nonetheless.

And what’s so weird about all this is that in the aftermath of October 7, it’s become crystal clear that anti-Zionism is often anti-Semitism, and deeply so. The loathing, the resentment, the vilification of Jews is viscerally palpable in so many of the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, articles, statements. The n+1 statement was titled “A Dangerous Conflation.” It seems to me that what’s dangerous is the vicious, unhinged anti-Semitism that is circulating all over the world and all over this country, including in its elite spaces.

This is one of the many striking passages in an interview with Linfield by Robert Boyers for the left-leaning journal Salmagundi. Boyers, although admirably open-minded, comes to the conversation with the assumptions of someone steeped in progressive assumptions about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, for which Linfield has little patience. For instance, to the insistence that the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) isn’t anti-Semitic even if “some BDS supporters envision a total undoing of the Zionist project,” Linfield responds:

What does it mean to “totally undo” a national project—in this case, one that saved millions of Jewish lives? Who the hell is BDS to undo a national project? Are there other national projects on its hit list—France? Bangladesh? China? Why is eliminationism considered a valid “project”—a progressive project!—when it comes to the state of the Jewish people? What will the “total undoing” of Israel look like? We know the answer: it will look like October 7.

Read more at Salmagundi

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, BDS, Leftism