World Biden, Pelosi, Schumer Isolated on Israel as Democrats Rally Around Palestinians
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is exposing a deep schism in the Democratic Party
Democrats have moved left on Israel. Biden hasn’t.But President Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. And that gap between him and the more progressive members of his party is becoming a visible rift as the Biden administration struggles to address the escalating conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
President, House Speaker and Majority Leader appear to be at odds with a vocal segment of the that has criticized Israel's actions toward the Palestinians .
Last weekend, Israeli security forces cracked down on Palestinian worshippers and demonstrators at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, drawingfrom prominent progressive . That crackdown came as Palestinians demonstrated against an attempt to evict several Palestinian families from homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The wave of riots sweeping Israeli cities reflects the damage done by a decade of divisive right-wing government.On Wednesday night, Bat Yam erupted in violence. A mob of Jewish extremists surrounded a man they presumed was an Arab and pummeled him mercilessly. Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, aired live footage of the unnamed man being beaten with a flagpole flying the Israeli flag.
Israeli officials describe the issue as a private real estate dispute between Jewish owners and Palestinians that is being resolved in Israel's courts. Palestinians and their supporters view the expected evictions as emblematic of a wider Israeli strategy to remove Palestinians to make way for Israeli settlers.
After the initial tensions surrounding Al-Aqsa, the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad began launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli targets. Israel then began carrying out strikes against Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip and has amassed a ground force along the Palestinian territory's border.
According to the Associated Press, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed—including 31 children and 20 women. An additional 900 have been injured. In Israel, seven people have died, including a 6-year-old child.
Why is the US unequivocal in its support for Israel?
US support for Israel is rooted in World War II, the Cold War, pro-Israeli political influence and serious PR heft.That narrative fails to acknowledge the profound advantages the state of Israel enjoys over the Palestinians when it comes to military prowess, wealth and resources. It also turns a deaf ear to growing cries from progressive Democrats in Congress to take a harder line with Israel over its military assault on Gaza.
"My expectation and hope is this will be closing down sooner than later," Biden said at the White House on Wednesday. "Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."
Pelosi issued a similar statement on Tuesday. "I condemn the escalating and indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel. Israel has the right to defend herself against this assault, which is designed to sow terror and undermine prospects for peace," the Democratic House speaker said.
"Every civilian death is a tragedy that we mourn. Hamas's accelerating violence only risks killing more civilians, including innocent Palestinians," Pelosi added, suggesting Hamas was responsible for the deaths of Palestinians caused by Israeli military strikes.
Schumer, who is Jewish-American and has typically been viewed as staunchly supportive of Israel, has not tweeted or publicly released a statement about the present conflict. Newsweek reached out to Schumer's office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Canada’s blackout of Israel’s crimes against humanity
Why did Canada’s leading news organisations choose not to cover HRW’s damning report on Israel?Here is the truth: Canada’s political and media establishment employs an ingrained modus operandi not only to shield their coddled confederate in the Middle East, Israel, from the censure it has so blatantly earned, but to allow powerful politicians and news organisations to lie about who and what Israel is to Canadians.
Meanwhile, the vocal progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been highly critical of Israel's actions. Senator, a Vermont independent who is Jewish-American and caucuses with the Democrats, and demanded the U.S. government push back against Israel's government.
Senator, a Massachusetts Democrat and prominent progressive, urged the Biden administration to "make clear to the Israeli government" that the evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be "illegal and must stop immediately."
The United States must speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 8, 2021
Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who is Palestinian-American, said that Israeli Prime Ministershould be for "war crimes." In a House floor speech, Representative Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, of Palestinians as "apartheid."
Israel Warns Iran Allies Are Learning How to Fight IDF in Widening Conflict
"I think that all the countries and different terror organizations, of course led by Iran, that surround us, they look at this conflict, and they want to learn," an Israel Defense Forces official told Newsweek.Israel has rolled out land, air and sea capabilities in its ongoing battle with Gaza-based movements such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which continue to fire thousands of rockets despite the bombardment. The worst conflict in years has wrought devastation and drawn international attention, some of it unwanted from the perspective of Israel, a country with an existential history of fighting multi-front wars.
Pressley asked, "Should our taxpayer dollars create conditions for justice, healing and repair, or should those dollars create conditions for oppression and apartheid?"
Representative, a New York Democrat, blasted Biden's remarks about Israel's "right to defend itself," saying his statement lacked context.
"Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence - namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa - dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It's wrong," she tweeted.
"By only stepping in to name Hamas' actions - which are condemnable - & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "This is not neutral language. It takes a side - the side of occupation."
By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions - which are condemnable - & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence.
This is not neutral language. It takes a side - the side of occupation.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2021
The rift between Democratic leaders and many more-progressive Democrat members is notable, as support for Israel's government has long been viewed as largely bipartisan in Washington. Now, many Democratic lawmakers are vocally raising concerns about the treatment of Palestinians and human rights abuses committed by Israel—concerns that were long downplayed byand Democrats alike. This shift aligns with efforts of many progressive activists.
Mideast Conflict Was Tough for Israel, Terrible for Hamas, Great for Biden
With Israeli continuing to pummel Hamas, and growing support for Palestinians within his own party, Biden seemed to have no good options. Yet he comes out of the crisis with more freedom to do what he actually wants: Seek a deal with Iran.The exchange of rocket and mortar fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza had put Biden in a difficult spot. The left flank of the Democratic party has been increasingly outspoken in its support for the Palestinian people. And when Israel responded militarily to Hamas's attack, progressives—led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—criticized Israel and went after Biden himself.
The group Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish-American organization that advocates for Palestinian rights, plans to hold a demonstration outside Schumer's New York home on Friday evening. The progressive activists will demand that Schumer and other lawmakers commit to endingsupport for Israel and call for an end to Israeli strikes targeting Palestinians.
"There is a wedge growing within the Democratic Party. On one side, a group of progressive lawmakers genuinely believe that all people—Palestinian included—deserve to live in safety and freedom, and that the U.S. should not fund Israel's oppression of Palestinians," Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Action's government affairs manager, said in an email to Newsweek.
Miller called out the "old guard establishment" within the Democratic Party, saying these lawmakers view it to be the "safest bet" to continue to offer "unwavering" support for Israel. She described this as "a blank check for an apartheid regime" but said the "growing divide" within the political party is "truly unprecedented," crediting the work of the grass-roots Palestinian rights movement.
Fellow progressive Jewish-American group IfNotNow has repeatedly condemned Israel's actions as well. "Every unnecessary death has a story. This violence simply must end. Apartheid must end," the organization tweeted on Friday.
The Democrats' 'tectonic' shift on Israel
President Joe Biden has found himself out of step with parts of the Democratic base."The shift is dramatic; it's tectonic," says pollster John Zogby, who has tracked US views on the Middle East for decades. In particular, younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians - and that age gap has been on full display with the Democratic Party.
Every unnecessary death has a story. This violence simply must end. Apartheid must end. https://t.co/3JV60eUPUf— IfNotNow???? (@IfNotNowOrg) May 14, 2021
A growing number of Democratic voters appear to be frustrated with the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians. Polling released by Gallup in March showed that a majority (53 percent) of Democratic voters believe the U.S. government should put additional pressure on Israel to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. That number marked a 10 percent increase from in 2018 and a 20 percent increase from 2008.
Despite this notable shift in Democrats' sentiments, Biden and other Democratic leaders remain committed to supporting the Israeli government. Meanwhile, progressive Democrats have proposed withholding military aid to Israel unless it addresses key human rights concerns. Under President, the U.S. approved a plan in 2016 that provides Israel with about $3.8 billion in annual military aid for a decade.
"This is not a conflict between two states," Representative, a Minnesota Democrat, said in a Thursday House floor speech. "This is not a civil war. It is a conflict where one country funded and supported by the United States government continues an illegal military occupation over another group of people [the Palestinians]."
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back before publication.
Trump’s signature Israel policy had a key flaw. We’re seeing it now. .
The Abraham Accords didn’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thursday’s deadly violence makes that clear.“Last fall we saw a watershed shift toward peace w/the Abraham Accords,” Haggerty tweeted on Wednesday. “The entire region was eager for more. Biden had 4 months to build on this ... Instead, Biden squandered those 4 months.