Recent clashes between Israel and Palestinians have revealed exactly how much the Democratic political center of gravity has moved in recent conflicts.
“The change is dramatic, it’s a crustal movement,” says pollster John Zogby, who has been tracking the US view of the Middle East for decades. In particular, the younger generation is quite sympathetic to the Palestinians, and the age difference is fully shown to the Democratic Party.
President Joe Biden has expressed a more traditional view, reiterating that Israel has the right to protect itself from Hamas rocket attacks, but he is now at least interested in the ground situation. I’m aware that I haven’t set foot in the party I’m in. Palestinians on the west bank of Gaza and the Jordan-and Israeli policies were considered to have contributed to their plight.
Democratic diversity in parliament
To track changes within the Democratic Party of Israel and Palestine, we can start by looking at its most representative US political body, Congress. In the national legislature, sympathy for US diplomatic policy has historically tended to lean towards Israel’s view of the Middle East conflict-some Jewish voters (main Democratic supporters) and evangelicals. Because of both tastes (important for Republicans).
But as the US Congress became an increasingly diversified organization, it had serious consequences for US policy towards Israel. In 2021, a record 23% of members of the House and Senate were blacks, Hispanics, Asian / Pacific Islanders, or Native American heritage people, according to a Pew Foundation survey.
Twenty years ago, that number was 11%. It was 1% in 1945.
The diversity of the background has brought about a diversity of perspectives and a spread of power. Influential groups of young liberal lawmakers, informally known as “squads,” include, for example, Palestinian-American Rashida Tribe in Michigan and Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee in Minnesota. ..
Alexandria Ocasiocortes of New York, the most prominent member of the group, has banished Joe Crowley, a senior member of the Democratic Parliamentary leadership who has consistently supported Israel in past conflicts in the occupied territories. I won a seat in the parliament.
Overall, the party and its voters appear that Puerto Ricans are more descendants of 31-year-old Ocasio Cortez than 59-year-old Crowley, which makes a difference.
“There is a non-white population, especially among Democrats who are very sensitive to the treatment of non-white peers,” Zogby said during a recording of the BBC podcast Americast... “They see Israel as an invader.”
They do not know the early history of Israel and the victory over the odds of adversity, he says.
“They know after Intifada. They know the various wars, the asymmetric bombings that took place, and the innocent civilians killed.”
If part of the rise in parliamentary diversity is the result of a left-wing progressive movement that elected politicians like Ocasio Cortez, the progressive movement would be directed to Vermont’s Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. I have a lot of debt.
Growing up as a Jew and spending time in Israel in the 1960s early in his career, Sanders was generally sympathetic to Israeli policy. But by the time he first ran for president in 2016, he had expressed support for Palestinian concerns. This is a view that sets it apart from other democratic disciplines.
In a major discussion with Hillary Clinton during the March 2016 Hamas rocket attack on Israel, Sanders spoke directly about the Palestinian plight-their high unemployment rate, “thinned out.” Home, decimated medical care, decimated school “.
As pointed out by then-Guardian Ed Pilkington, this broke the “unwritten law” that talking about Palestinian suffering was a lost problem for high-ranking politicians.
Of course, Sanders lost both presidential bids. But the popularity of his views opened the door for Downballot Democrats to address the issue-they also made his progress, including expanded medical care, free college education, higher minimum wages, and environmental reforms. I’ve covered other parts of the typical platform.
Since then, Sanders has solidified his accusations of calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “desperate and racist authoritarian.” And last week he wrote an opinion column for the New York Times. It doesn’t punch, but it doesn’t seem to be the Democratic fringe view anymore.
“The fact of the matter is that Israel will continue to be the only sovereign authority in the land of Israel and Palestine, and rather than preparing for peace and justice, Israel will take over its unequal and undemocratic rule. It has taken root. “
Palestinian life is important
In that Times column, Sanders concludes by announcing the rise of a “new generation of activists” in the United States.
“I saw these activists on the streets of the United States last summer after the murder of George Floyd,” he wrote. “We are seeing them in Israel. We are seeing them in Palestinian territory.”
His last words lift a direct line from the Black Lives Matter movement: “Palestinian life is important.”
Sanders notes that it was revealed during the last two weeks of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Americans who found their political voice during activities in US cities last summer now focus on what they see as similar unrestrained oppression in the Middle East and their rhetoric. Is facing.
“St. Louis sent me here to save lives,” said St. Louis Rep. Cori Bush, who dismissed a long-time Democratic politician in the primary election last year, on the floor of his house on Thursday.
“That is, we oppose funding militarized police, occupation, violent repression and trauma systems. We are anti-war, anti-occupation, anti-apartheid. Period.”
That has led to a growing call to cut off US military assistance to Israel. Or, at least, using the threat of doing so, it is putting pressure on Netanyahu to move away from aggressive policies in the occupied territories.
The slogan of “Defund the Police” is a foreign policy companion called “Israeli Army Defund”.
Donald and Bibi
A complex problem for Israeli traditional supporters of the Democratic Party is that US policy towards the Jewish state is becoming more and more polarized on the partisan line, like almost all national affairs.
It has been helped, in no small measure, by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has built close ties with the United States in recent years. Obama-era Democrats have not forgotten Netanyahu’s speech at the 2015 Joint Session at the Republican invitation. Meanwhile, Netanyahu failed in a torpedo attack on parliamentary approval of the Iran nuclear agreement, a signed diplomatic initiative of the administration.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump spent four years defeating his close relationship with Netanyahu and Israel’s political rights. He cut off humanitarian aid to the Palestinian government, moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and bypassed Palestinians in diplomatic negotiations in the Middle East.
That one-on-two political punch from Trump and Netanyahu was more than enough to reconsider their views on the Palestinian situation, even for some Democrats.
This trend could continue, as Trump’s efforts to serve Israel’s interests have not led to a change in support among Jewish voters for Republican candidates, according to Zogby.
“It’s wishful thinking on their part,” says Zogby. “American Jews are basically liberal to progressive voting organizations.”
It would be a much more comfortable political move if Democrats could satisfy their progressive foundations without alienating their traditional Jewish voters.
If Israel’s debate among Democrats in Washington is changing, the direction from the White House is just beginning to reflect that.
Biden and his top executives were late in demanding a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-even traditional Israeli supporters such as Senate leader Chuck Schumer.
They repeatedly blocked UN Security Council resolutions that also supported a ceasefire. Reading Biden’s call to Netanyahu reiterates that the president emphasizes Israel’s right to self-defense and that there are few signs of criticism.
There was no talk of imposing conditions on U.S. military assistance to Israel-and in fact, before the recent outbreak of violence, Biden had $ 735 million (£ 518 million) in weapons for the Jewish state. Approved for sale. Progressivist in his party. In the 2020 presidential primary, he said the call by Sanders and others to add conditions to US aid to Israel was “strange.”
However, Biden’s risk with this issue is clear. The president needs the help of a coalition of left-wing progressives if he wants to pass legislative agendas such as ambitious infrastructure and social safety net packages.
So far, that support has been available. But if the Democratic left believes that Biden is turning his back on what he considers to be a serious violation of Israel’s human rights, they could abandon him.
“We have seen steady growth in support for Palestinians, but it has never really been a high-intensity issue,” says Zogby. “It’s becoming that way. It’s becoming a major rust problem, especially among Democrats, driven by non-white voters and young voters, generally by progressives.”
It is particularly devastating that this could happen in the Middle East, a foreign policy area where President Biden had previously been a low priority, and one of the reasons why Democratic Israeli supporters are concerned about Biden’s support. It is one. It has been almost unwavering in decades of public service, but it can eventually become unstable.
Politicians have long been unable to keep pace with their political foundations.