Fissures are exploding in the US Democratic Party over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s onslaught against what he has termed “the children of darkness” in Gaza.
Netanyahu has portrayed Israel as “the children of light.” The same Israel is an apartheid state, which has used American weaponry and related equipment to kill more than 4,000 Palestinian children in one month.
Nevertheless, Senator Bernie Sanders, seen as a progressive stalwart, still refused on Sunday morning with CNN’s Dana Bash to call for a ceasefire. “I don’t know how you can have a ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire, with an organization like Hamas, which is dedicated to turmoil and chaos and destroying the state of Israel.”
In the interview, he also says, “Israel has a right to defend itself,” before noting that Israel does not have a right “to kill thousands and thousands of innocent men, women, and children who had nothing to do with that [7 October] attack … we have got to stop the bombing now.”He seems to have just a temporary pause in mind. His insistence that “if you [Israel] want this money, you have to change your military strategy” will be completely lost in the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC’s trumpeting of his opposition to a ceasefire. Sanders, perhaps embarrassed, pushed back against AIPAC’s highlighting his opposition to a ceasefire, yet still failed to back one, essentially proving AIPAC’s point. The Democrats are in disarray. There are few places to turn with even Sanders disappointing his supporters.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating within the Democratic Party fell 11 percentage points in October to 75 percent with his overall approval standing at just 37 percent according to a new Gallup poll.
The president’s support among Arab Americans cratered from 59 percent in 2020 to 17 percent in recent days according to the Arab American Institute. Hundreds of thousands of Americans marched and demonstrated on Saturday in opposition to Biden’s war efforts in Gaza.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib drove the point home with a video she shared on Twitter on Friday.
“Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one … We will remember in 2024.” At the end of the video, text states: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people won’t forget. Biden, support a ceasefire now or don’t count on us in 2024.”For her efforts, CNN is trying to convince the American public that the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is anti-Semitic. CNN’s Jake Tapper actively promoted a censure resolution against her Monday for supporting a chant for Palestinian freedom and human rights – not to mention equal rights – and Congressman Jared Moskowitz happily agreed as both men disregarded genocidal calls from US senators in the Republican Party. Nor did the two say a word about Netanyahu’s September United Nations map erasing the Palestinian people, an apartheid vision far more alarming than anything ever expressed by Tlaib.
The anti-Palestinian Biden may well lose the 2024 election to Donald Trump – the prior anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim president – because he rearmed Israel for its brutal bombing campaign against Palestinian civilians and then stood aside as the predictable death toll quickly rose in Gaza.
Perhaps most striking is that no Democratic candidate – other than long-shot Marianne Williamson – has stepped forward to challenge on this issue the child-killing president occupying the White House. No Democratic senator, not even Sanders, came forward in the first three weeks of Israel’s assault on Gaza to back a proper ceasefire.
Sanders, distraught with the Israeli response, can’t even bring himself to say it even as he knows – and says – the Israeli government pushing the bombing is “an extreme right-wing government with racists aboard.”
He’s not wrong. Yet he isn’t able to make the leap from seeing that this is a racist government to one that needs to be told by the US to cease fire.
Very few American politicians are talking about the need for Israel to comply with international law in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. The rights of dispossessed Palestinian refugees – resulting from the 1948 Nakba and not just from the current catastrophe – are on nobody’s agenda in the US government.
Senator Dick Durbin offered qualified support for a ceasefire on Thursday of last week. Senator Chris Murphy later in the day expressed cautious concern about how Israel is prosecuting its war due to “unacceptable and unsustainable” civilian deaths in Gaza.
Whether grassroots Democrats will be able to push members to be more forthright remains to be seen. For now, the party has lost nearly all integrity in the face of thousands of Palestinian children killed with the help of US weaponry.
The newest push is for a humanitarian pause, essentially making sure Palestinians are fed and have water before Israel blasts the next set of American-made missiles at them.
On Friday, 58 Democrats in the House and Senate got on board for an idea that would provide only a reprieve as there’s zero indication Israel has any interest in taking up their call to “minimize civilian harm.” Nor do the signers signal any recognition that this is an apartheid government.The disconnect between grassroots Democrats and the Democratic leadership is already significant with 80 percent of Democratic voters in one poll supporting a ceasefire. A more recent Quinnipiac poll indicates 33 percent of Democrats approve of how “Israel is responding to the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack” while 49 percent disapprove.
Biden is fast losing support from Arab, Muslim and young progressive voters with his anti-Palestinian rhetoric, last month casting doubt on the number of Palestinian civilians killed even as Americans can see the results of widespread Israeli bombing of Gaza.
“I have no notion if Palestinians are telling the truth … I’m sure innocents have been killed and it is the price of waging war … I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, denied on CNN on Tuesday of last week that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing, directly contradicting fellow Democrat Cori Bush, a congresswoman from St. Louis.In the same interview, Jeffries refused to pass judgment on Israel’s attack that day resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties in Jabaliya refugee camp, claiming he didn’t know enough about the specific case.
Even Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, hedged Thursday on CNN about the Jabaliya attack. Jayapal declared, “It’s very difficult in the moment to figure out what is or isn’t a war crime.”
Cori Bush now has a Democratic challenger – a supporter of aid to Israel’s apartheid army with no human rights conditions – in her congressional district. Congressman Jamaal Bowman is likely to get a challenger soon in New York.
AIPAC is also criticizing Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan.The anti-Palestinian lobby group has claimed, however, that it will only begin to target congressional candidates later.
Marshall Wittman, AIPAC’s spokesperson, told Jewish Insider that “there will be a time for political action, but right now our priority is building and sustaining congressional support for Israel’s fight to permanently dismantle Hamas, which perpetrated this barbaric, terrorist attack on the Jewish state.”
She termed AIPAC “an extremist organization that destabilizes US democracy.”AIPAC has certainly made clear that it is supportive of the carnage unfolding in Gaza.
By contrast, on Wednesday night of last week, Ocasio-Cortez remarked to CNN journalist Manu Raju: “I believe bombing a refugee camp is a human rights violation. I believe it’s a war crime.”
Most of her colleagues, and most importantly President Biden, are not at all convinced, however, and seem prepared to watch considerably more harm come to Gaza’s children.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is one of the few Democrats condemning the rush to arm an apartheid army.
“Make no mistake: these human rights abuses are being carried out with US weapons, US funding, and with ‘no red lines.’ And now we are set to vote on an additional $14 billion with no restrictions or conditions. The United States Congress should not fund violations of US and international law.”The House of Representatives voted on Thursday of last week to provide Israel with an additional $14.3 billion in military assistance.
Only 12 Democrats voted with the Republican majority, largely due to opposition to conditions being placed on the aid – not human rights conditions, but pulling the money from the Internal Revenue Service. Senate leaders have voiced opposition because they want military aid for both Israel and Ukraine.The best hope for Palestinian children under Israeli attack is not the moral fortitude of the US Congress but just how inept and partisan American politicians may prove to be if the Senate and House cannot reach agreement. Israel is committing war crimes in plain view and carrying out massacres with American weaponry in refugee camps, but most in the House of Representatives are pushing for more of the same. As for those Americans intent on securing a ceasefire, the Biden administration is lying to them, circulating a letter last Wednesday that says “more than 1,300 innocent civilians were murdered in Israel.” In fact, more than 300 Israeli soldiers were killed.
For the side it favors, the Biden administration casts doubt on Palestinian civilian casualties.
The letter further misleads by stating, “We mourn the many innocent Palestinians who have been killed. Many thousands of families in Gaza are suffering an escalating humanitarian crisis.”
Yet it is the US which has rearmed Israel, has refused to push a ceasefire, or even successfully managed to get sufficient humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
On this humanitarian front, the Biden letter falsely insists, “That is why my administration is working closely with partners to ensure that life-saving assistance – including food, water and medicine – can urgently reach innocent Palestinians in Gaza. The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilians during conflict.”
The facts on the ground tell a very different story with inadequate food, clean drinking water and medical supplies. Biden is overseeing a humanitarian and moral catastrophe against a largely refugee population while lying to the public about it.
No wonder support for Biden in 2024 is falling fast.
Many people may sit out the elections entirely when they compare child-killing war criminal Biden with the anti-Palestinian racism and genocidal ethos very much alive on the Republican side of the aisle.The choices are dreadful – both parties have exposed the deep anti-Palestinian racism in their ranks over the past month – and it is telling that there is no politically experienced Democratic candidate willing to offer a real alternative.
The Democrats will lose with Biden at the helm in 2024 and will richly deserve it following their depraved support for Israel’s resolute determination to day in and day out massacre Palestinian children in both the north of Gaza and the “safe” south.
The horror show that is Donald Trump could well prevail barring criminal conviction.