The Corner


The Democrats’ Turn against Israel Did Not Start under Trump

President Barack Obama meets with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2011. (Jim Young/Reuters)

This is from today’s Politico Playbook, which is turning into a newsletter version of MSNBC:

In another era, describing Israel as an apartheid state, as Rep. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-N.Y.) did recently, or accusing Israel of committing “terrorism,” as Rep. ILHAN OMAR (D-Minn.) did, would have been met with widespread denunciation by Democrats. Not anymore.

“We have lost the emotional side of the argument,” lamented a staunch Democratic ally of Israel in the House.

In any other era, few, if any, elected Democrats would be making a moral equivalence between terror states and allies, much less spreading blood libel on the floor of Congress. But what amazed me is one of the explanations Playbook offers to explain the change:

    1. Former President DONALD TRUMP and Israeli PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU accelerated the process of support for Israel being turned into a partisan issue where many voters see it more like abortion or gun rights.

Undoubtedly, there are some voters who abandoned their pro-Israel position simply because Trump was an ally. But I’m not sure how anyone born before 2015 could possibly believe that the “process of support for Israel being turned into a partisan issue” was especially accelerated during the past five years. It was the Obama administration that attempted to boost the Iranian regime as a regional counterforce to the Jewish state, that used dual-loyalty smears, that voted against Israel in the United Nation, and that relied on leaks to embarrass and undermine Netanyahu while he was visiting the United States. One need look no further than former Obama official and current Hamas defender Ben Rhodes to understand the level of antagonism within the administration. It was unprecedented. Whether Obama was merely a reflection of changing left-wing attitudes or forging them is really the only thing up for debate.


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