US Political News Opinion, Analysis
US Military Aid to Israel, Democrat Presidential Candidates
Meeting 10/31/’19 following slaying of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Baghdadi
Democrats Debate Military Aid to Israel as Leverage in Disputes?
Trump Administration and Republicans describe Israel as our best ally in Middle East
Redacted from an article by Sabrina Siddiqui
Wall Street Journal Oct. 31, 2019
WASHINGTON—U. S. military aid to Israel has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the Democratic presidential primary, evidence of a split in the party being driven by its resurgent progressive wing.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said this week that if he were elected president, Israel would have to “fundamentally change” its relationship to the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave controlled by the militant group Hamas, to continue receiving aid.
“We cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government,” he told a raucous crowd in Washington at an annual convention hosted by J Street, a progressive Jewish advocacy group. “What is going on in Gaza right now is absolutely inhumane, it is unacceptable, it is unsustainable.” (and it has very lttle to do with Israel – rather the complete greed of Hamas that runs it area for their own purposes. Aid not filtering down to the Gaza citizens.) jsk
Democratic presidential candidates Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have expressed openness to using U.S. aid as leverage to persuade the Israeli government to rein in the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory.
Others in the running were more skeptical or rejected the idea of placing conditions on military assistance.
Democrats are under pressure from progressives to tack to the left on a range of issues, from health care and taxes to the environment and guns. Many in the party are also willing to re-examine the decades-old U.S.-Israel relationship, long regarded as sacrosanct.
Many Democrats had already distanced themselves from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his discord with President Obama. Mr. Netanyahu has a close relationship with President Trump.
Most 2020 Democratic contenders have expressed support for re-entering the Iran nuclear deal, a signature Obama policy that drew intense opposition from Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018. The Democrats seeking the White House also have been unanimous in advocating for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict..
The push has drawn opposition from pro-Israel factions in Washington.
“Given the growing and immediate threats to Israel from Iran and its proxies, we should certainly not attach conditions to protecting our ally’s security,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann said.
Mr. Sanders, who is vying to be the first Jewish (in name only. Sanders is the epitome of the Apostate Jew – doing all things against Jews and Israel he can to prove to the non-Jews, he is not Jewish. Sorry, Kapo Sanders, Hitler proved that tactic will not work.) jsk
Speaking at the J Street convention on Monday, Mr. Buttigieg said the U.S. should ensure that funding for Israel “does not get turned into U.S. taxpayer support for a move like annexation” of occupied territories on the West Bank. Ms. Warren, who addressed the conference in a video, echoed Mr. Buttigieg’s view, saying the U.S. must “create consequences for problematic behavior.”
Joe Biden also issued a video message to the J Street gathering, in which he said Israel “needs to stop” its settlement activity but made no mention of U.S. aid. His campaign didn’t return a request for comment.
“That wouldn’t be my first move, [though] I would not take that off the table,” said former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar avoided the question, stating: “It’s not a good idea to negotiate these things right now.” Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet rejected the idea.
Israel for decades has been the leading recipient of American aid. During the Cold War, the U.S. viewed Israel, the only democracy in the region, as a bulwark against creeping Soviet influence; since then, mutual security interests and pro-Israeli public sentiment in the U.S. have strengthened the alliance.
But in recent years, U.S. attitudes toward the Israeli government have shifted generationally and along partisan lines. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that just 27% of Americans under the age of 30 held a favorable view toward the Israeli government. The same survey found a partisan divide, with 61% of Republicans holding a favorable view of the Israeli government compared with 26% of Democrats. A majority of the American public continues to sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians, according to numerous polls.
Mr. Trump’s support for Mr. Netanyahu has also sharpened the partisan lens. A majority of American Jewish voters identify as Democrats, with 69% favoring Mr. Obama in 2012 and 71% backing Mrs. Clinton in 2016. But Mr. Trump’s overtures to Israel have resonated with the Republican base—and evangelical voters in particular. Mr. Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he has called Democrats’ criticism of Israel anti-Semitic.
In 2015, Mr. Netanyahu coordinated with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to address a Joint Session of Congress without notifying the Obama White House first. Mr. Netanyahu blasted the Iran deal in his remarks, which were boycotted by roughly 60 congressional Democrats