Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, or as I say, the loudest mouth gets noticed. It should surprise no American why recent comments by Sens Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on Israel are getting noticed by the media, driven by members of “The Squad” and forcing each presidential candidate to declare their foreign policy positions on our staunchest ally in the Middle East.
As the Democratic presidential candidates and their surrogates sweep through each caucus and primary state hoping to garner your support on issues near and dear, I want to offer you this point to consider: The vocal anti-Israel minority doesn’t represent the majority of either the party or the Jewish community.
Much has been made in the media of what the far-left squad – Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – has done to “energize” the Democratic Party. What hasn’t been covered as readily is what these same members say about Jews and the interests of the Jewish community.Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has a history of delegitimizing the Holocaust by comparing US policies to the deliberate, indiscriminate, evil desire by the Nazi regime to eliminate the Jewish people and other minority groups. In addition to this rhetoric, she has defended her fellow squad members for their patently anti-Israel and antisemitic hate speech.
When Omar suggested in a speech that support for Israel constitutes “allegiance” to a foreign power, and when Tlaib did the same in a tweet, they impugned millions of American Jews with age-old tropes on “dual loyalty.” AOC – the media-anointed squad leader – came to their defense with an incredulous argument that, since other hate speech wasn’t called out, this shouldn’t be called out either. Their loud voices clearly have an effect.
Senators Sanders and Warren, and other members of the Democratic Party are clearly emboldened by the vocal support of the squad. Both senators recently weighed in on the US-Israel relationship.Sanders’s recent comments on conditioning military aid to Israel represents a radical and dangerous departure from the bipartisan consensus – one that is supported by an overwhelming number of our fellow Americans. In fact, it differs both in tone and substance from the Democratic Party’s own platform.
Sanders stated that he would “leverage” the $3.8 billion we give Israel to force the Israeli government to enact policies he prefers – arguing that we cannot give “carte blanche to the Israeli government.”Warren, while not as radical, likewise offered that “everything is on the table.”
Eroding the bipartisan consensus on Israel runs the risk of turning support of an ally into a partisan exercise. Thankfully, Congressional leadership in both Houses of Congress understand this.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer know that the Democratic Party is made up of more than just loud far-left voices. In fact, polls show that nearly two-thirds of Democrats identify as moderate to liberal, representing the majority of the party and not the Sanders/squad wing. That is why this summer, Pelosi shepherded through an anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) resolution that passed the House of Representatives with nearly 400 bipartisan votes, including nearly the entirety of the Democratic caucus.Now before critics say I am closed to new ideas, please consider the viewpoint of a man raised in the long shadow of a concentration camp, who, with clarity, sees the essential and existential threat facing the Jewish community.The upcoming presidential primaries provide you with an opportunity to choose a candidate who represents your views and vision for the future. We cannot allow a vocal few to dominate the conversation and drown out the voices of reason and consensus. If you find candidates’ views on Israel radical, know you are in the company of the majority of your fellow Americans.