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U.S. political support for Israel undermined by progressive Democrats

When a nation the size of Israel is surrounded by enemies, every Jewish citizen of the tiny state knows that any kind of military setback is not an option.

Survival of the nation is dependent on every engagement ending in victory.

While appearing on a recent U.S. news show, Benjamin Netanyahu, currently serving as Leader of the Opposition and as the chairman of the Likud - National Liberal Movement, said there was no clear end in sight to the violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli leader said that expecting Israel to halfheartedly defend its citizens against a terrorist organization that says it exists to destroy Israel is a double standard that would not be expected of any other democratic country.

As for the air raids being launched against Palestinian targets, Israeli officials have claimed that buildings harboring military assets for Hamas are legitimate targets for Israeli forces. Regarding reports that Israeli attacks killed Palestinian civilians, Netanyahu blamed Hamas for using the noncombatants as human shields.

“They’re sending thousands of rockets on our cities with the specific purpose of murdering our civilians from these places,” he said. “What would you do?”

The Biden administration’s obsession with liberal talking points like mandatory mask-wearing, critical race theory and the immigration crisis on the southern border have pushed foreign policy far down the priority list. That includes the ongoing threats facing Israel, whose citizens often find themselves under constant long-range rocket attack.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee had warned U.S. lawmakers that blocking emergency funding to ensure Israel can protect its citizens from terrorist rockets rewards Hamas and undermines America’s interests and values. Thankfully, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House advanced $1 billion in funding in a stand-alone bill for the comprehensive protective umbrella system that counters the growing missile threats.

Since it went into service in 2011, the Iron Dome missile defense has successfully intercepted more than 2,500 rockets and other projectiles fired into Israel. Using powerful laser technology, the system can defend vast areas and intercept long-range threats at high altitudes regardless of weather conditions. From the moment the laser locks onto the target, it takes just a few seconds to bring down an enemy rocket salvo.

Despite near unanimous support for Iron Dome among U.S. legislators, Democrats on the far left who compose the progressive wing of the party have been undermining the pro-Israel position since the Biden administration assumed power.

Criticism of Israel from left socialist leaning congresswomen like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota have helped to fuel an antisemitism movement in America in recent months. Ocasio-Cortez of New York recently made headlines by accusing Israel of gross human rights violations against Palestinians and of operating an “apartheid state.”

“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Israeli forces are forcing families from their homes during Ramadan and inflicting violence,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted regarding a report about a neighborhood where a Jewish settler group is seeking to evict Arab families.

After recently addressing a class of students at George Mason University in northern Virginia, Vice President Kamala Harris praised one college student who accused Israel of committing “ethnic genocide,” telling her that “your truth should not be suppressed.”

Statements like that place Democrats with more moderate views on the Middle East and Israel in an awkward position.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader who represents the largest Jewish population in the country, has been largely silent since the renewed fighting in Gaza.

James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, recently stated that in the more than his 40 years of working on sensitive Middle East issues full time, he’s never seen this level of support for Palestinian rights and challenging the status quo.

Republicans for the most part have remained firm in their pro-Israeli stance. In a recent letter to President Biden, 44 Republican senators wrote: “Over the past couple days, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who are funded by Iran, have launched a series of rocket attacks into Israel. They are targeting Israeli civilians and cities, including Israel’s capital Jerusalem.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a vocal supporter of Israel, condemned Ocasio-Cortez for her description of Israel as an “apartheid state” and urged Biden to remain strong against the growing voices within his own party that create false equivalence between terrorist aggressors and a responsible state defending itself.

Former President Donald Trump, who moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and helped broker recognition of Israel by several Arab countries, was more direct in his condemnation of the White House, contending that Biden’s weakness and lack of decisiveness on sensitive subjects like the Israeli-Hamas conflict are damaging to our allies while emboldening the enemies of democracy.

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.