Democrats Raise Concerns About Attacks On Israel From Within Party

Democratic supporters of Israel are warning the extreme liberal wing of the party could reverse decades of support for one of the United States’ closest allies.

With fears that a radical shift is beginning to take place in the party—led by those who supported the failed presidential nominations of Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT-I) such as Squad members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley—concerns in North Jersey are being raised that long-held shared democratic values between the two countries will be corrupted by a reduction in aid as primary challenges are being supported against party leaders who have been strong supporters of Israel.

North Jersey Spotlight

In North Jersey, two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer is facing a challenger from his left recently endorsed by Rep. Pressley.  

“I think what we have to remember is that this is only a very small faction of the party,” said Gottheimer. “The U.S.-Israel relationship has always been bipartisan, and I am committed to keeping it that way.”

Israel has long enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington—one of the few issues in an increasingly divided and bitter Congress members have consistently agreed on. But growing policy initiatives critical of Israel policies are increasingly being promoted within the party that many fear will lead to the departure of long-time Democrats.

“Israel’s commitment to democratic values is unprecedented across the Middle East,” said Gottheimer. “This is precisely why Israel is, and must remain, our closest ally.”

“Congressional bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship remains solid and strong because of the leadership of members like Josh who consistently takes the initiative to craft legislation to further strengthen the ties with our ally,” said Dr. Mort Fridman, current chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Fighting BDS

Israeli supporters point to the extreme left wing’s position on Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) along with pressing for pro-Palestinians positions that hurt the Jewish state but do nothing to hold Palestinians responsible for their actions. 

The boycott of Israel is something that Gottheimer has fought by sponsoring bills that have received overwhelming support and passage, arguing BDS is a wedge issue people are using to undermine the relationship between the two countries.

“I believe we must do everything in our power to support the strength, safety, and prosperity of Israel – including fighting back against biased attacks and those who wish to harm our vital partner,” stated the congressman. “That’s why I’ve introduced a bipartisan bill to fight back against the politically-motivated boycott of Israel.”

Legislative Action

Additionally, the two-term congressman has strongly opposed any Iran deal he sees as failing to permanently prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb or addressing the aggressive development of long-range ballistic missiles to carry these weapons.

“The relationship we have fostered and strengthened with Israel goes back more than 70 years. There should be nothing partisan about protecting our national security and defending Israel,” stated Gottheimer. “They are one of the most important allies we have when it comes to defense in the Middle East.”

Mainstream Policy

At the top of the 2020 ticket, presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden is a strong supporter of Israel and his campaign recently released a policy paper “firmly rejecting” the BDS movement due to it singling “out Israel—home to millions of Jews—and too often veers into anti-Semitism.” 

The policy paper from Biden’s camp will undoubtedly play a strong role in forming the Democratic national platform that is released as part of their convention set to take place in August. Platform statements in past years have been strongly pro-Israel.

Those attempting to change the Israel-U.S. dynamic are endorsing primary challengers against House leaders who have clashed with Squad members since their arrival in Washington. Critics note Rep. Omar was condemned in Congress for anti-Semitic statements citing dual loyalty of Jews, while a map Rep. Tlaib has in her office of the Middle East omits Israel. 

Primary Challenges

Gottheimer is keeping company with Speaker of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) in those facing challenges from the left.

In the case of Engle, Ocasio-Cortez defied party leaders on June 3 to endorse a primary challenger to an incumbent adjacent to her own district.

The endorsement of Jamaal Bowman (followed by Sanders on June 9) against Engle, a veteran liberal House committee chairman, is not the first time the congresswoman has ventured into races with Democratic incumbents this election cycle with differing results. Marie Newman downed Rep. Daniel Lipinski in an Illinois district south of Chicago, while Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) defeated the Ocasio-Cortez-backed opponent, Jessica Cisneros.

13 comments

  1. Our support for Israel must be conditioned to the democratic values, in my last visit to Israel last summer, unfortunately I have found an apartheid state, only Israeli Jewish citizens are enjoying the democracy while all Arab citizens are severely discriminated against by a systematic system even worse than the one which use to be in South Africa, how could we as Americans citizens pay our tax money to support this apartheid state?, Therefore our support to any state or nation must be tied to their respect of international human rights.

    1. Exactly! Unfortunately, the author of this article and supposedly mainstream supporters of Israel all too often conveniently neglect the bias, discrimination, persecution and even crimes against the Palestinian people.

      Any support of Israel must be fair and equal to support of the Palestinians as well. To do otherwise would be wildly unfair, hypocritical and dangerous!

    2. Howard, for sure Israel’s arab citizens face some level of discrimination (akin to the unfortunate situation faced by America’s black population) l, but to call it worse than apartheid South Africa is beyond ridiculous. The Arab bloc is the third largest party in the Keneset. Where did you visit?

  2. I think that Israel under Netanyahu has broken every compact we had with the country. He is virtually running Israel like apartheid South Africa. He needs to go or we need to re-negotiate our alliance.

  3. This is total BS. How can peace be achieved by allowing Israel to annex Palestinian lands?
    This is a ploy to prevent any legitimate criticism of Israel to take place. Josh should be ashamed of
    himself to be promoting this knee-jerk, anything goes path to permanent war in the Middle East. He
    has done nothing to promote peace in the region but instead continues to promote a “bi-partisan” support
    for the obliteration of any rights for Palestinians.

  4. If Bibi is in bed with trump, he can’t be right! Bibi has become as far right and as biased as trump.

  5. As a proud Jewish American and a supporter of Arati Kreibich (Gottheimer’s primary challenger), I am confused by the innuendo here.

    Here is Arati’s position on Israel and Palestine, verbatim from her website:

    “I respect the history of allyship between the United States and Israel. Because of our special relationship with Israel, the United States has a responsibility to draw attention to actions of the Israeli government when they are not in line with our countries’ shared democratic values; we must call on the Israeli government to uphold the values that align our two nations. Palestinians are entitled to basic human rights, and Israel is entitled to national security. We must: ​

    – Facilitate a two-state solution.
    – Resume humanitarian aid to Palestine, including aid through UN agencies as an intermediary.
    – Condemn acts of terror against Israel and call upon the Palestinian Authority to work to prevent these terrorist attacks.
    – Support efforts to resettle Palestinian refugees and to allow a mutually agreed upon number of refugees to resettle in Israel in order to reunite families.
    – Advocate for the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank through settlements.
    – Condemn Trump’s “peace plan,” a thinly veiled annexation plan.”

    Which part of that platform does Congressman Gottheimer disagree with? Does he support annexation?

  6. What a biased racist piece this is! No mention of Israel’s multiple violations of human rights and international law; its endless illegal occupation of Gaza; Israel’s daily humiliating, displacing, maiming, and murder of Palestinians; nor of the recent Jewish-Arab protest in Jerusalem, where hundreds of people, inspired by the BLM protests in the USA, gathered to protest annexation and the occupation.

    Israel in its current manifestation does NOT embody Democratic values. It is an apartheid state that is currently being investigated for war crimes against Palestinians, and Netanyahu intends to proceed with an illegal annexation of the West Bank beginning on July 1st. We cannot protest racist state-sponsored violence and murder at home and subsidize it in Israel with billions of American taxpayer dollars. Gottheimer’s blind allegiance to a rascist, brutal, apartheid Israel is one of the many reasons he needs to go. Vote for Arati Kreibich in the Democratic primary.

  7. The three above comments—demonstrably false—illustrate the position of the new far left Democratic party, despite Josh Gottheimer. I can’t wait to see the anti-Israel platform they come out with. As Pres. Reagan said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. They left me!”.

  8. One of my greatest hopes is that when Joe Biden becomes our first LEGITIMATE president in four years instead of this clown, one of his President Biden’s first acts is to move the U.S. Embassy back to Tel Aviv where it belongs and that he then tells that other fucking clown, that scumbag netanyahu, that if he doesn’t shape up and end the ‘apartheid state’ that he rules over, all U,S. aid will end.

  9. Isreal and the zionist mandate of ersatz Isreal embody the complete ouster of the native Palestinians and this apartheid situation is just another step along the way to this ultimate solution. Does this sound familiar?? The US’ continuing support of Isreal is just another example of our being on the wrong side of history ever since the end of WW 2

  10. Annexation of the occupied territories is contrary to international law, humiliates the Palestinians and hurts Israel. If Gottheimer gives carte blanche to the current Israeli government, he is being unjust.

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