By Tim Nerozzi
A growing number of Democrats are seeking to end America’s close relationship with Israel.
Freshmen congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has referred to Israel as an “ apartheid regime.” Another first-term congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has called to lead special trips to Palestine.
Their views reflect a movement away from the Democratic party’s long support for Israel, or at the very least a hope for a two-state solution that would leave both Palestine and Israel intact with their cultural identities.
A Pew Research poll last year found only 27% of Democrats “sympathize” with Israel – a figure that is roughly even to the 25% of Democrats who sympathize with Palestine.
The same poll found that 79% percent of Republicans “sympathize” with Israel
Many Democrats still publicly support Israel. 2020 presidential candidate and Democratic leader Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), has repeatedly affirmed her support for Israel, calling it “a beautiful home to democracy and justice in a region where radicalism and authoritarianism all too often shape government.”
Last March House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “There is no greater political accomplishment in the 20th Century than the establishment of the State of Israel.”
Jewish-Americans remain loyal Democrats. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 70% of their votes. And American Jews hold a range of views on Israel. Following the 2018 midterm elections, a leading Jewish publication, the Forward, ran an piece which stated, “it’s simply not the case that the American Jewish community is willing to supply Israel with unconditional support anymore.”
The same article, however, was also critical of remarks made by representatives Omar and Tlaib, who are also Muslim. Omar has received strong condemnation for remarks she made before being election. In a 2012 Tweet, she asserted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.,
As Omar has risen to prominence, she has offered apologies for such statements about the Jewish nation. On January 22nd of this year, Omar officially apologized for her use of the word “hypnotized” in reference to supporters of Israel around the world, saying that she now understood it to be an offensive remark after being contacted by several Jewish organizations.
“It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive,” Omar said on Twitter.
Jonathon Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, publicly praised Omar’s apology and said, “Hats off to Rep Omar for her honest apology & commitment to a more just world. Open and respectful conversation will help us achieve this goal.”
However, some groups don’t think the apology went far enough, or failed to address her most contentious claims.
Zionist Organization of America, the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States, has issued a condemnation of Greenblatt’s praise towards Omar, calling the congresswoman’s apology “limited” and “phony.”
“The ZOA strongly disagrees with Mr. Greenblatt’s unwarranted effusive praise for Rep. Omar’s limited phony apology for just one part of her many hateful statements attacking the Jewish State,” said the ZOA in an official news release.
“The ADL/Greenblatt response gives Ilhan Omar the appearance of a clean slate, and risks whitewashing her numerous, never-apologized-for Israel-hating statements and positions.”
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