There is a burgeoning rift in the Democratic Party in calling out Israel’s side of the conflict with the Palestinians, CNN reported, running in contrast to President Joe Biden’s administration in supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
“One of the things that I have seen thus far is that there has not been a significant overreaction,” President Biden said at the White House last week.
After a call with Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd tweeted:
“I spoke with MoD @gantzbe again today. I reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. I also expressed my hope that calm can be restored soon.”
Progressive Democrats have long questioned the U.S. support for Israel in the dustup with the Palestinians, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., had weighed in before the recent events, portending trouble after the Trump administration had signed some Middle East peace pacts.
“By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course,” Warren told the liberal pro-Israel group J Street in April.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., expounded on that sentiment Friday in The New York Times, concluding “Palestinian lives matter.”
“In the Middle East, where we provide nearly $4 billion a year in aid to Israel, we can no longer be apologists for the right-wing [Benjamin] Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behavior,” Sanders wrote. “We must change course and adopt an evenhanded approach, one that upholds and strengthens international law regarding the protection of civilians, as well as existing U.S. law holding that the provision of U.S. military aid must not enable human rights abuses.
“This approach must recognize that Israel has the absolute right to live in peace and security, but so do the Palestinians. I strongly believe that the United States has a major role to play in helping Israelis and Palestinians to build that future. But if the United States is going to be a credible voice on human rights on the global stage, we must uphold international standards of human rights consistently, even when it’s politically difficult.
“We must recognize that Palestinian rights matter. Palestinian lives matter.”
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., weighed in for the Palestinians, too.
“Do Palestinians have a right to survive?” AOC said in a fiery speech Thursday, CNN reported, adding on Twitter, “if the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., ultimately believes President Biden will stand up against Israel, who he blames for the recent attacks by Hamas that Israel has responded to.
“We need to end this conflict,” Swalwell told CNN Saturday. “Thank God we have a responsible president now in the United States, who I think can press upon the Israeli leader the need to do that.”