Hoo boy. Perhaps Team Biden just assumed that The Squad and its progressive followers would never bother to read Joe Biden’s campaign website, but this is as near a declaration of internecine war as we might find within Democrats this cycle. Progressive pundit Jordan Ulh uncovered this nugget on Biden’s support for Israel — and opposition to the Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement targeting the US ally:
I really don’t know what to say about this. Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/wNAaUIqttn
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 20, 2020
Biden does call for re-engagement with the Palestinian Authority and criticizes Donald Trump for cutting ties to it, so it’s not exactly a shunning. There’s no mistaking his priorities in the US-Israel relationship, though, emphasis mine:
- Work with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, and support peacebuilding efforts in the region. Biden will urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take steps to keep the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome alive and take no actions to undercut future direct negotiations between the parties.
- Reverse the Trump Administration’s destructive cutoff of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and cancellation of assistance programs that support Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, economic development, and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with the requirements of the Taylor Force Act to withhold certain assistance to the PA unless it is taking measures to end acts of violence against Israeli and U.S. citizens, including terminating payments to individuals engaged in acts of terrorism.
- Urge Arab states to move beyond quiet talks and take bolder steps toward normalization with Israel.
- Firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel — home to millions of Jews — and too often veers into anti-Semitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.
That is a direct slap at Democrats’ leading next-generation figures, especially Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, but also Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well. Tlaib and Omar have enthusiastically supported the BDS movement, with Tlaib especially accusing those who oppose BDS as being disloyal to the US. Omar tried to pass a BDS-supporting resolution in the House last summer, in fact, which Ocasio-Cortez defended as the last peaceful resort for opposing Israel while she opposed a competing resolution criticizing BDS and supporting Israel:
Let me translate this: AOC just said that a non-binding resolution stating the House’s opposition to the anti-semitic BDS movement will “force” people into terrorism. Among other things a stunning indictment of the anti-Israel movement — a Kinsleyan gaffe. https://t.co/Ypt2iik7bs
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) July 24, 2019
The Israel-friendly resolution passed 398-17, with AOC, Omar, and Tlaib opposing. Tlaib was hardly gracious about it during the debate:
Omar, as well as Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, have been openly supportive of the BDS movement and critical of the resolution. Tlaib tweeted earlier this month that the resolution is “unconstitutional” and aims to “silence” opposition to Israel’s policies. The movement is a non-violent activist campaign that aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel over its actions toward Palestinians, including calling for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
The emergence of a BDS caucus among House Democrats isn’t an accident or coincidence, though. It comes from an increased strain of anti-Israel sentiment among hard-Left progressives, the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. AOC in particular has claimed to represent those progressives in the party when it comes to uniting behind Biden in the election. She has already expressed some reservations about Biden’s commitment to the progressive agenda; this won’t help her retain her credibility with that wing if she ignores this language on Biden’s platform.
This will make for some interesting viewing over the next few days, now that it has come to light. Will Biden stick to his principles, or will he change his position to pander to progressives and avoid a party split? I know which way I’m betting, and I know which way Jeff Dunetz is betting, too.