Republicans double down on Israel support, Democrats become even more anti-Israel

Republicans double down on Israel support, Democrats become even more anti-Israel

As the 2024 race for the White House is beginning to heat up, the partisan nature of support for Israel on both sides of the political spectrum has been brought into focus this week. This was emphasized as Democrats, led by President Joe Biden, came out against Israel at every possible opportunity, and Republicans, led by Donald Trump, came out in support of the Jewish state. 

Former US President Donald Trump attended Tuesday the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) Gala, at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump was introduced by IHF Executive Vice President Dr. Joseph Frager and IHF Executive Director Rabbi David Katz. Before speaking, Trump asked the rabbi to say a prayer.

“Does the Rabbi play golf?” the former president quipped, before calling Rabb Katz back to the podium. “Are you going to say a little prayer or something? Would you like to?” Trump said. “Who’s better than the rabbi?”

“We all have great gratitude to this person,” the rabbi began. “This is a person that doesn’t care only for themselves but good for the entire world and especially for the people in Israel and for the Jews in America. My blessing is, may the blessing from Israel come upon the president, his family, and all his friends. May God give a long life, a healthy life, and a sweet life to our dear friend, Mr. Donald J Trump.”

“Thank you, rabbi, ” Trump responded. “I’m glad I told him to do that. He did a very good job. You’ve done that before, rabbi, I guess a couple of times. Yeah, thank you very much.”

To standing ovations, Trump gave an off-the-cuff speech, recounting his accomplishments for Israel, declaring himself to be “proud to be the best friend and, as they say, the best president that Israel has ever had.”

Trump warned that “Israel is under siege politically. Today there is a revolution against Israel within Congress. The Senate is not what it used to be, but at least it’s still there. But in Congress, between AOC plus three and these other lunatics, they hate Israel with a passion. They’ve convinced a lot of people that Israel is a bad place with bad people. Something has to be done. If this had been ten years ago, they would have been sanctioned. Even some Jewish congressmen. Schumer is not good for Israel.”

At the event, attended by about 150 people,  Trump received the Keter Yerushalayim (Crown of Jerusalem) award in recognition of his work for the benefit of Israel and the relations between Israel and the US.

The partisan support of Israel was emphasized by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is trailing Trump in his campaign for the Republican nomination to run for president. On Wednesday, DeSantis tweeted, “How disrespectful for the U.S. Ambassador to Israel to falsely claim ‘most Israelis want the United States to be in their business.’ Biden meets with dictators of countries such as Venezuela but snubs the democratically elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is not how you should treat an ally.”

Support for Israel seems to be the tie that binds the GOP. On Tuesday, a group of 14 Republican senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz threatened to block Biden’s nominations over the administration’s “antisemitic” policies, including cutting off funding for scientific research at Israeli institutions beyond the “Green Line.” This ultimatum was sent via letter to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Candidly, it is untenable for State Department officials to continue testifying to Congress that they support the US-Israel relationship and then – once out of view – to push policies designed to undermine that relationship,” the letter stated. “Without a reversal in these trends, Congressional oversight and the expeditious vetting of nominees would become intractable.”

The State Department announced last month “that engaging in bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israel, in geographic areas, which came under the administration of Israel after 1967 and which remain subject to final status negotiations is inconsistent with US foreign policy.”

The GOP senators clearly disagreed in their letter.

“We also write to emphasize that any effort to deepen American policies that discriminate between territories Israel controlled before and after June 1967 will risk a full rupture in my/our ability to engage the Department of State on these issues.”


After two and a half years in office, Biden has yet to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. Netanyahu was re-elected six months ago to office and the snub is conspicuous. Former US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, commented on it in an interview with Caroline Glick, calling it “despicable.”

In his tweet, Desantis was criticizing a statement made by Thomas Nides, the Biden-appointed ambassador to Israel since December 2021. In a Wall Street Journal interview published Monday ahead of his departure from the role this week, Nides justified US criticism of judicial reforms proposed by Netanyahu’s coalition. 

“Israelis want the United States to be in their business,” Nides said. “With that sometimes comes a modicum of a price, which is articulating when we think things are going off the rails.”

The Biden administration has also criticized the Netanyahu administration for building Jewish communities in response to Palestinian terrorism. Many Israelis feel the US is meddling in Israel’s internal politics.

Ironically, Nides, who was born Jewish, looked back with pride on the benefits he brought to Palestinians during his term of service.

“I did not come here to negotiate a two-state solution. I came here to do practical things,” Nides said, adding that he is not getting a Nobel Peace Prize in the next seven days. “But I do think I can look back and say that I’ve done things that have made life just a little bit easier and better for the average Palestinian.”

This policy clearly comes directly from the Oval Office. In a CNN interview on Sunday, President Biden said that Netanyahu’s coalition government has some “of the most extreme members” he’s seen in Israel, and those cabinet ministers who back settling “anywhere they want” in the West Bank are “part of the problem” in the conflict.

The president was asked what it would take for him to invite Netanyahu to the White House, and he deflected, refusing to answer. He did note that Israeli President Isaac Herzog will be coming to Washington next week. Herzog was invited last year by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and current Speaker Kevin McCarthy reissued the invitation earlier this year. Herzog will address a joint session in honor of Israel’s 75th year of independence, but it is still unknown whether he will be invited to the White House.

“I’m one of those who believe that Israel’s ultimate security rests in a two-state solution,” Biden then said. “I think it’s a mistake to think that, as some members of his cabinet — and this is one of the most extreme members of cabinets that I have seen. And I go all the way back to Golda Meir and all. Not that she was extreme, but I go back to that era.”

The two-state solution would create an unprecedented Palestinian state inside the borders of Israel, ethnically cleansed of Jews, with its capital in an exclusively Muslim Jerusalem. 

In the interview, Biden blamed the ongoing wave of violence on Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition.

“Part of the problem — particularly those individuals in the [Israeli] cabinet who say… we can settle anywhere we want, [and the Palestinians] have no right to be here.”

Biden’s statement is inaccurate as Arabs live in all parts of Israel, whereas Jews are not permitted to enter Area A as established by the Oslo Accords.

Biden admitted that the Palestinian Authority “has lost its credibility” because of “some very extreme elements.”

Taking the president’s sentiments and expanding on them, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar posted on Twitter that she would not attend the session of Congress when Herzog addresses them.

“There is no way in hell I am attending the joint session address from a President whose country has banned me and denied @RashidaTlaib the ability to see her grandma,” Omar tweeted.

Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib were prohibited entry into Israel in 2019 over their support of the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement and over the concern that they would use their visit to advance anti-Israel activism. Israel later offered to allow Talib entry for humanitarian reasons in order to visit her grandmother on the condition she did not engage in anti-Israel activism while in the country. She refused, rejecting the offer. 

It should be noted that as a member of the left-wing Labor Party, Herzog supports the two-state solution. 

Omar also claimed this was “the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in history,” noting the deaths of 12 Palestinians in Jenin last week. 

Her statement was inaccurate. In 2002, nearly 500 Palestinians were killed in Operation Defensive Shield as a response to the Second Intifada.

The IDF reported that all 12 of the casualties in last week’s incursion into Jenin were claimed as combatants by Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Omar was criticized for her boycott of Herzog.

“I respect the fact that, unlike others in her party, she doesn’t even pretend it’s about Bibi. She just hates Israel! Openly!” tweeted Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner.

“It’s like when AOC pulled out of an event honoring Yitzhak Rabin when she found out he was Israeli,” he said about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Isaac Herzog ran against Bibi as head of the Labor party and nearly beat him too. Now he’s trying to get Likud to water down judicial reform. If you claim to simply hate Bibi and want a more liberal Israel, Herzog is your hero. If you just hate Israel, you boycott him too.”

“If Omar really opposed Netanyahu, then she would attend the talk and clap along, but her problem is with Jews, not with the prime minister, ” Mandel added.

“So Omar is boycotting Herzog’s address to Congress because of the Netanyahu judicial package that Herzog has worked tirelessly to try to prevent?” tweeted Robert David Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center at City University of New York.

“Stop calling for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel, and I’m willing to bet you will be allowed to visit like thousands of other Muslims do every single week,” Bryan Leib, executive director of CASEPAC, a nonpartisan political action committee, wrote.

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