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Sarah Margon

Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley, members of the "Squad".

The Lines Get Clearer: Democrats

As Israel defends her citizens from rocket attacks from Hamas in Gaza (and a few lobbed by Hezbollah from Lebanon), the line dividing Democrats and Republicans on Israel gets clearer every day. Jonathan Tobin writes:

[I]n the last two weeks, as Hamas has launched thousands of missiles at Israel and the Jewish state has decidedly responded, it's become clear that we are witnessing the end of what is left of that bipartisan consensus [in support of Israel]. And ... the crackup is almost entirely the result of a conflict being waged inside the Democratic Party.

The Hill adds this angle:

There is a growing gulf between older, more centrist Democrats and younger, more progressive members of the party. It’s not just about the current conflict. It’s about two starkly different visions of Israel itself.

Arno Rosenfeld reports in the Forward that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have placed themselves at the center of the Democrats’ conflict about Israel:

Omar has described some of the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as war crimes and accused some Israeli officials of practicing “ethnic cleansing.” Tlaib referred to Israel on Twitter as “apartheid, oppression, occupation” on Wednesday afternoon.

… “These aren’t insignificant backbenchers who are speaking out,” said Matt Brooks, director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “These are real players in the Democratic Party right now whose voices are listened to at the grassroots level.”

Sadly, even long-time supporters of Israel in the Democratic caucus are weakening, as the Jewish Insider notes:

Even a pair of well-established Israel supporters in the Senate have veered from their usual pronouncements. On Saturday, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he was “deeply troubled” by Israel’s recent military actions, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been conspicuously reticent on the issue.

Fox News notes one theory why Schumer may be keeping a low profile on Israel right now:

[T]he National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) charges that Schumer, the senior senator from New York and the top Democrat in the chamber, is keeping quiet over concerns that progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may challenge him next year when he’s running for reelection.

The Hill-savvy reporters at Punchbowl News report that Democrats have put their own comfort and party dynamics ahead of defending our ally Israel:

The longer this drags on, the worse it gets for Hill Democrats. The progressive left is very vocal in calling out Netanyahu and standing up for Palestinians. This makes more traditional Democrats uncomfortable, they’ll concede privately. We were talking to one pro-Israel House Democrat about whether they were considering penning a resolution defending Israel, and this lawmaker said, essentially, it was not worth the headache given the internal party politics.

Radical Democrats are acting on their anti-Israel ideas as well: US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) planned to send a letter to President Joe Biden, calling on him to delay a $735 million sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel that was in the works before Hamas attacked Israel on May 10, according to the Times of Israel.

Democratic leaders in the House convinced Meeks to drop the idea, described by the Washington Free Beacon as an attempt to placate far-left House members such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Mark Pocan (D-WI), who have called for aid to Israel be cut off and for sanctions to be imposed on the Jewish state for striking Palestinian terrorist groups.

However, the idea is not dead. The Times of Israel reports that Rep. Alexandria Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has drafted a resolution aimed at blocking the $735 million sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel, which has little chance of passing. And Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution disapproving of the US sale.

The resolution aims to halt the planned sale to Israel by the Biden administration of JDAMs, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and Small Diameter Bombs, as the worst hostilities in years continue between Israel and Hamas. The resolution needs only a simple majority to pass the Senate; but if it were to be vetoed by President Joe Biden, it would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to take effect.

It gets worse. On Tuesday, Democrats in the House voted against sanctioning Hamas for its unprovoked, illegal, and inhumane attacks on Israel. Fox News reports:

Democrats blocked a bid to bring the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act up for consideration in a 217-209 vote along party lines. The bill, introduced by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) would impose sanctions on foreign entities known to have provided financial assistance to Hamas, among other measures.

Then today, Democrats in the House voted against Israel again, defeating a Republican-led effort to provide Israel with emergency funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system. The Washington Free Beacon reports:

In a vote of 218-209, Democrats rejected a security funding amendment offered by Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX). The measure would have paved the way for Israel to receive a tranche of emergency dollars specifically for missile defense, which has proven critical as Iranian-backed terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad target Israeli citizens.

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Sarah Margon

The Lines Get Clearer: Republicans

There is no debate any longer: the pro-Israel party in this country is the GOP. Republicans at the grassroots overwhelmingly support Israel, and when Israel is attacked, Republican leaders rise to her defense.

Vice President Mike Pence wrote a powerful op-ed this week on how President Joe Biden’s weakness led to the violence against Israel:

The Trump-Pence administration opened the door to a future of peace in the Middle East founded on our strong and unwavering commitment to the state of Israel. But now Israel is enduring the worst outbreak of violence in at least seven years — a direct result of the weakness shown by the Biden administration from its first day in office.

Many Americans witnessing the recent bloodshed in Israel are perplexed by how quickly violence erupted after years of calm. The answer is that President Biden and congressional Democrats have abandoned unambiguous support for our ally Israel, emboldened our enemies, and turned their back on the policy that yielded historic peace deals in the Middle East.

... Every tepid statement uttered by the Biden-Harris administration is built on a false equivalency between Israel and Hamas. One is a sovereign nation with a legitimate government, and a trusted ally. The other is an internationally recognized terrorist organization that has fired more than 3,000 rockets at Jewish families and businesses in the past week. There is no moral equivalency between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas.

Read more here.

The problems with the Biden administration's Middle East policy are deftly illustrated in this cartoon.

On Capitol Hill, more than 20 Republicans in the US Senate introduced a resolution in support of Israel. The original sponsors include Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Todd Young (R-IN).

Sen. Rick Scott said:

For decades, the people of Israel have endured unyielding attacks from terrorist groups, like Hamas, who wish to destroy the Jewish state and its people. Now, as thousands of rockets rain down, our resolve to stand with Israel must be stronger than ever. I want to be clear: no country, certainly not the United States, would tolerate attacks like these and not take whatever action is necessary to end them. As our great ally and the only shining example of democracy in the Middle East, Israel deserves our full support.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks thanked the Senators:

“At this moment of peril for Israel, it is so important that Congress send a strong message of solidarity. Thanks to Senator Scott and to all the Senators who have cosponsored his resolution for standing with Israel.”

Republicans in the US House have also spoken out strongly in defense of Israel, as the Washington Free Beacon reports:

The Biden administration must resist calls from the Democratic Party's left-flank to cut and condition US security assistance to Israel, more than 100 congressional Republicans told the White House in a letter that signals increasing concerns the administration will cave to radical voices demanding a wholesale reassessment of the US-Israel alliance.

"We continue to oppose any reductions in funding or added conditions on security assistance, which would be detrimental to Israel's ability to defend itself against all threats, including the current assault," the lawmakers wrote in a letter Wednesday led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to a copy exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The lawmakers also pressed the administration to guarantee that it will help Israel resupply its stock of Iron Dome missiles, which have been used repeatedly during the ongoing conflict to destroy Hamas rockets in mid-air before they land on Israeli cities.

You can see the letter here.

Sarah Margon

Breaking News: Israel Agrees to Ceasefire

Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu's office announced just a short time ago that Israel's Security Council unanimously accepted the recommendation of Israel's security officials to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions, to take effect at a time to be determined. The statement emphasizes that conditions on the ground will determine what Israel does next.

Sarah Margon

Israel's Iron Dome missiles intercept Hamas rockets.

Israel's Moral Military

Israel has the most moral military forces in the world. While Hamas lobs rockets indiscriminately at civilians in Israel, the IDF makes every effort to safeguard the lives of Palestinian civilians. For example, The Daily Wire reports on an Israeli air strike that was called off because IDF command believed that children were present at the site.

As John Podhoretz notes:

The idea that the act of defending citizens against incoming rocket fire could possibly constitute a war crime is the textbook definition of moral idiocy.

War criminals don’t drop “knock-knock” dud bombs on buildings to provide warning to the residents and office renters that an attack is coming so they can get out of harm’s way. War criminals don’t telephone the owners of buildings to let them know a strike is coming, so that residents might be evacuated.

Sadly, Hamas does not share that concern for the lives of Palestinian women and children. In a video that went viral on social media, a Gaza Palestinian can be heard telling an IDF soldier that he was content to allow children to be killed in an Israeli strike because, “If the children need to die, then they’ll die.”

“God forbid, God forbid,” says the Israeli soldier. “What, do you want to die?”

“This is how we reveal your cruelty,” the Palestinian says.

Hamas has not been deterred from firing missiles at Israel by the sure knowledge that some of their rockets are killing their own people. In fact, failed Hamas rockets have killed at least 20 civilians inside Gaza.

For more on how Israel’s military operates to save human lives, see this video at Prager U.

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