Last Thursday, 106 Democrats signed a petition demanding that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reverse his decision to recognize the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. There has been an increasingly anti-Israel movement within the Democrat Party, but this time was different. It was not just the radical left “Squad” of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but now included twelve Congressional committee chairs. In fact, Jewish member of the House of Representative Andy Levin wrote the letter that was signed by seven of 23 Jewish members of the House of Representatives. Other prominent Democrat members of Congress, including John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Joe Kennedy, and Joaquin Castro, also signed. The width and breadth of the support within the Democrat party cut across ethnic, religious, and geographic boundaries, and does not bode well for future Democrat support of Israel.
Their letter states that by changing the official “1978 State Department legal opinion that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are ‘inconsistent with international law’, the administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem outside of a negotiated agreement, its closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, and its halting of aid Congress appropriated to the West Bank and Gaza” somehow endangers the security of the United States and Israel. What it ignores is the utter failure of this policy to create peace between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel, and in fact has likely exacerbated the problem by creating a no-lose position for Palestinian Arab intransigence.
More troubling than the mere objection to the new State Department policy is a shift in Democrat congressional support for Israel. Their hatred of a nationalist Trump administration that befriended another nationalist, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, outweighs their traditional support of Israel. This shocking hatred has opened the door for closet anti-Semites, under the guise of anti-Zionism, to infiltrate the Democrat party and, indeed, become the mainstream opinion of their party. There are those in the Democrat party who claim that it is possible to be anti-Zionist (anti-Israel) and not be antisemitic, but many now are beginning to see through this untenable and blatantly prejudiced narrative. Recently, Le Figaro editor-in-chief Franz-Olivier Giesbert told a conference on antisemitism in France that “anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of antisemitism”. The two words have, shockingly, become commonplace, unchallenged, and interchangeable.
This interchangeability provides cover for the UK’s Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is actively pro-Palestinian Arab and vehemently anti-Israel. His elevation to party leader opened the door to a number of Labour MPs with similar antisemitic views now disguised as anti-Zionism, to become party leaders. So prevalent are these views that a recent poll conducted by Survation, commissioned by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), a British-Jewish advocacy group, indicated 47 percent of British Jews would leave the UK if Corbyn is elected prime minister. The poll, which was shared with the Jewish News, also found that 87 percent of respondents believed Corbyn to be outright antisemitic. Corbyn only assumed the role as party leader in September 2015. It has only taken four years to turn British Jews from being Labour supporters, against their own best self-interest, to anti-Labour as the spectre of such blatant antisemitism has once again become publicly acceptable. In the US, the Democrat Party is on a similar trajectory with Jews now faced with similar decisions British Jews are now having to take. Will American Jews wake up to this truth or will they continue to support Democrat politicians possessed of antisemitic prejudice and hatred?
With the election of President Donald Trump, Democrat globalists embraced every movement that opposed him. Linda Sarsour’s Women’s March declared that being a Zionist was incompatible with feminism. American Jewish feminists were faced with the choice of being feminist or pro-Israel, and many continue to dangerously choose feminism. When President Trump supported Israel’s decision to bar Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib from entering Israel, Democrat congressional members rallied behind “the squad”. Again, American Jews were faced with a decision to support fellow Democrats or Israel, and once more they turned their backs on Israel, choosing to side, against their own best interests and welfare, with antisemites. On college campuses, the movement “If Not Now, When” protested the Israeli Birthright program that afforded Diaspora Jews the opportunity to visit Israel for free, declaring it to be biased against Palestinian Arabs. Scores of American Jewish students accepted the invitation only to leave in the middle of the tour in protest, and instead chose to arrange visits to meet with Palestinian Arabs as a public demonstration of anti-Israel, antisemitic sympathy.
As Democrats became more radical, their presidential candidates have raced to claim progressive Leftist positions more extreme than then next. Leading candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren espouse positions that precondition US security assistance to Israel based on recognition of Palestinian Arab claims to sovereignty. As of early 2019, twenty-seven states had passed anti-boycott laws. The 2017 S.720 – Israel Anti-Boycott Act prohibited sanctioning businesses or individuals engaged in Commerce with Israel. In 2019, the Congress passed The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S.1) that included provisions strengthening the anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction) law on the books. It also codified US$38Bn in security assistance, as well as clarifying the legality of state laws outlawing the BDS sanctions. The law had broad support, passing 77-23, but of 22 Democrat Senators who voted against the law, six were Democrat presidential candidates at the time. Senators Harris, Sanders, and Warren all say they are nominally against boycotting Israel, but gave varying reasons, including First Amendment concerns, for voting against the measure.
There is no question that, as Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike owe their allegiance to the United States. Jewish Americans, similarly, must walk a careful path between their love of Israel and their citizenship in the US. What is clear, however, is, much like the situation in the United Kingdom, globalist Leftist progressives are creating zero-sum, false distinctions that appear to be a choice between American values and Israel, when in fact they are creating wedges that are being artificially driven between Jews and their co-religionists in Israel. British Jews seem to recognize the ploy, yet in the US, American Jews have fallen in lockstep with the Leftist progressives. Emboldened by this uncritically accepted and endorsed world view, Democrats continue to reveal further the reality their open espousing of Leftist political philosophy and globalist agendas, which are creating open acceptance of antisemitism and their attempt to further distance the US from Israel. Only time will tell whether American Jews will wake up to the danger of the Democrat Party’s increasingly Leftist and antisemitic agendas and follow the footsteps of British Jews and abandon the Democrat Party.