In a bid to reassure Israel that his political party still supports them, President Biden, during his trip to the Middle East, said that only “a few” Democrats consider the Jewish state an “apartheid state.” – a clear reference to the increasingly influential congressional “brigade”. which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Israel’s Channel 12 reporter Yonit Levi asked Biden about “voices within the Democratic Party” who “say Israel is an apartheid state, calling for an end to unconditional aid.”
“There are a few,” Biden replied. “I think they are wrong. I think they are making a mistake. Israel is a democracy. Israel is our ally. Israel is a friend.
Biden added, “I don’t think I’m apologizing. We’ve budgeted — my administration, $4 billion plus the billion for Iron Dome. And we’re working on a laser project to be able to replace Iron Dome. It’s paramount in our interest that Israel be stable.
Levi followed, asking about concern over the future of Democrats turning against Israel.
“No, there is no possibility, I think, of any Democratic party or even a significant part of the Republican party leaving Israel,” he said.
Although the elected Democrats are mostly pro-Israel, the party has had mixed views for years.
Former President Jimmy Carter authored the 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” using the word for South Africa’s old system of racial segregation.
In recent years, younger and more left-leaning members of the Democratic Party have lambasted US support for Israel.
This year, Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced legislation proposing to recognize May 14 — the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 — as the “nakba,” or catastrophe. . Every year, Palestinians mark this day by mourning the loss of pre-Zionist Palestine.
“[T]The Nakba refers not only to a historic event, but to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian lands and dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day through the creation and expansion of approximately 300 settlements and illegal outposts in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. in which approximately 674,000 Israelis reside in 2020,” Tlaib’s resolution reads.
Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Omar (D-Minn.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) are co-sponsors of Tlaib’s bill and form the far-left wing of the Democratic Party known as “The Squad”.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist who was running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, last year criticized then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for allegedly stoking a “newer kind of racist nationalism.” more intolerant and authoritarian”.
More than 6% of members of Congress are Jewish, according to a Pew Research Center report. Most of them are democrats and outspoken supporters of Israel.
Within the Republican Party, some critics of US aid to Israel argue that the Jewish state should pay for its own defense.
When Ocasio-Cortez suggested that U.S. aid to Israel “must stop” following the May murder of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) tweeted quote his message and added: “Cut off all foreign aid.”
The Biden administration says the Al Jazeera reporter’s death while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank was likely the result of gunfire from Israeli positions, but it was likely not ‘intentional’ .
Former President Donald Trump, who is eyeing a rematch against Biden in 2024, last year blamed Hamas rocket attacks on Israel for “Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel.”
“When I was in office, we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood firmly on Israel’s side and that there would be swift retaliation if Israel was under attack,” Trump said.
The Trump administration has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem after decades of reluctance due to Arab claims on the city. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, led an initiative that brokered diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries.
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