Blue State Blues: Democrats Are Bringing a New Anti-Israel Caucus to Congress

Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Facebook)
Rashida Tlaib for Congress (Facebook)

Democrats will elect several new representatives to Congress in November who hold staunchly anti-Israel views.

That will happen whether or not Democrats win overall, and manage to re-install Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as speaker. The anti-Israel members-of-Congress-to-be are running in solidly Democratic districts where they are certain to be elected.

As such, Americans must brace for the kind of extreme anti-Israel politics that has, until now, stayed on campus, in the mosque, in Europe, and in the Third World.

The leader of the pack is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the new heroine of the Democratic Party grass roots. Ocasio-Cortez — or AOC, as some of her fans now call her — is neither Muslim nor Palestinian. But she is a “democratic socialist.”

Despite Israel’s socialist roots, the far-left now identifies with the Palestinians, overlooking the brutality of Palestinian terror, the pervasive antisemitism of Palestinian society, and the authoritarian rule of both the Islamist Hamas regime in Gaza and the secular Palestinian Authority.

In May, after Hamas used a phony “mass protest” to in an effort to breach the Gaza border and attack Israeli civilians, AOC sided with the terrorist group, calling the Israeli response a “massacre” — even though nearly all of the 62 killed were Hamas operatives. In July, she stated that while she believed “absolutely in Israel’s right to exist,” she was opposed to the “occupation of Palestine.” She could not, when pressed, explain what she meant by the term, which the far-left often uses to refer to all of the State of Israel.

But there are two incoming representatives even more hostile to Israel than AOC.

One of them is Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born state representative who won the Democratic Party primary for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district — the seat being vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) — this week. In the past, Omar has referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime.” In 2014, during a war in Gaza, Omar tweeted: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

More recently, like AOC, Omar has deployed pro-Israel boilerplate to placate voters, donors, and critics. Earlier this month, she told a candidate forum: “I support a two-state solution. It is going to be important for us to recognize Israel’s place in the Middle East and the Jewish people’s rightful place within that region.” She also said that she opposed the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement.

But in the state legislature, she opposed a bill against boycotts of Israel and urged divestment from Israel bonds.

The other is Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American who won the crowded Democratic Party primary for the 13th congressional district of Michigan last week. She promptly launched a series of anti-Israel tweets, apparently in response to events in the Middle East, where Hamas launched nearly 200 rockets at Israeli civilians and the Israeli air force responded by targeting Hamas military infrastructure.

In the past, Tlaib supported Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh’s bid to fight deportation, and is backed by anti-Israel Palestinian-American activist and Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, who called for “jihad” against the Trump administration.

Curiously, Tlaib seems to be facing an onslaught of criticism from within the Palestinian-American community, for whom ordinary participation in American politics is seen as a form of selling out. One of her defenders tweeted that for Tlaib, “The first fight was for Palestine, always Palestine.”

Tlaib herself appealed to her community in a Facebook post that concluded: “#FreePalestine.” For Palestinian activists, and for the far-left, that slogan refers to the dismantling of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state.

Update: Tlaib actually endorsed a “one-state solution” to the conflict, meaning the end of a Jewish state in Israel, last week. Her opposition to a two-state solution caused even radical J Street — which often opposes Israel in Congress — to drop its endorsement.

For now, AOC, Omar, and Tlaib will retreat to the safe harbor of the “two-state solution” — enough to placate the Democratic Party establishment and nervous liberal Jewish donors. But in a crisis, they are likely to side against Israel, as in the past — even when the enemy is Hamas, Hezbollah, or Iran.

No matter the November result, this is what Democrats are bringing to Washington.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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