Progressive-leaning Democrats sympathetic to the Palestinians are pressuring President Joe Biden to force Israel to stop its campaign against terrorist organization Hamas and to rethink US policy towards Israel.
“We are horrified by Israel’s use of disproportionate and deadly force against Palestinians in Gaza which have already resulted in the killings of dozens of Palestinians, including children,” reads a statement released by 140 progressive groups including Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party.
Black Lives Matter also expressed support for the Palestinians. The organization said in a tweet, “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation.”
The Democratic Socialists of America released a statement calling on President Biden to halt weapons sales to Israel. They also compared the nation’s actions to those of white supremacists: “Just as we cannot abide by white supremacists storming our Capitol on January 6th, we cannot support Israeli ethno-nationalists treating Palestinians as second class citizens in their homeland.”
Progressive lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are also becoming increasingly vocal regarding America’s longstanding support for Israel.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American, said that some lawmakers are afraid to express support for the Palestinians in fear of bullying. Tlaib also signed a statement urging President Biden to reconsider the $3 billion in military aid we currently sent to Israel each year.
“We can no longer be apologists for the right-wing Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behavior,” argues Sanders. “For years, we have seen a deepening Israeli occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a continuing blockade on Gaza that makes life increasingly intolerable for Palestinians.”
But other Democrats remain firm in their commitment to Israel as a key US ally.
“No nation should be subject to a barrage of rocket fire like what we see on this easel on a civilian population,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL).
“No one here should make excuses for a terrorist organization. Who is the next target of their sympathy? ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah?” adds Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). “Even though we may not always agree about Israel’s policies, we should be very clear that nothing, nothing justifies a terrorist organization firing rockets at our ally.”
When it comes to public opinion, polls suggest 18% of Democratic voters are “more sympathetic” to Palestinians. 12% are “more sympathetic” to Israel. An additional 36% expressed sympathy for both sides. The same poll shows 51% of Republicans supporting Israel and just 3% choosing Palestinians. Meanwhile, roughly 19% of GOP voters expressed sympathy for both sides.
Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire early Friday morning after 11 consecutive days of fighting.
The violence, prompted by an effort to relocate Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem, involved waves of airstrikes said to have killed at least 240 people in Gaza. Militants in Gaza are said to have launched more than 4,000 rockets into civilian areas of Israel, killing 12 people including a 5-year-old boy.
President Biden recently approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel. He said that the nation has the right to defend itself against terrorists. Biden told Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that he supports a cease-fire but has not called for one publicly.
“The question is how…they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers,” said Biden.
Author’s Note: This is exactly what we expected. Democrats are lining up against Israel, our only reliable ally in the Middle East. They are taking the side of the Palestinians who engage in terrorism.