The Problem of the Left: Resolving the Israel-Haidom Conflict with the U.N. and Protecting the Gaza Strip
Democrats in Congress, torn between their support for Israel in its war with Hamas and concern about civilian suffering in Gaza, are struggling with how far to go in calling for measures to mitigate civilian casualties as the left wing of the party escalates pressure for a cease-fire.
In the last few days, several House and Senate Democrats have urged temporary humanitarian pauses to facilitate aid deliveries of food, water and fuel to the Gaza Strip. They argued that the pauses were needed to prevent the humanitarian crisis from getting worse and to negotiate the release of hostages in Gaza, including Americans, who are held by Hamas.
“You’ve got to have a pause in the bombing. The immediate disaster needs to be taken care of. Israel’s got to change its strategy,” Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and a prominent Jewish progressive, said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. I don’t know how you can have a truce with an organization like Hamas which is focused on destruction of the state of Israel.
The comments drew a backlash from some progressive activists that highlighted the cross pressures Democrats are dealing with on the issue. The dilemma they are in, which mirrors the one President Biden is faced with, could result in political consequences for the party overall. In order to hold the White House and the Senate, Democrats will have to win over their core supporters who are liberals in a big way.
The first democrat to advocate for a cease-fire was Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, who said he would support it if Hamas agreed to release hostages. His decision reflected a shift underway on Capitol Hill that has coincided with changes in Mr. Biden’s public messaging on Israel.
Mr. Biden insists that the United States is in solidarity with Israel. But in the last several days, he and top administration officials have emphasized their efforts to persuade Israeli officials of the need for humanitarian pauses to allow the United Nations to deliver aid to civilians.
Polls show that most Democratic voters are in favor of a cease-fire, as well as that younger people and people of color are against the administration’s stance on the war.
Israeli War and the State of Israel Revisited: Rep. Rob McCormick vs. Rep. Scott Tlaib
Among the comments in question is a post on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, where Tlaib shared a video featuring a Palestinian slogan that has been called antisemitic.
International law defines genocide as a crime if it is done with the intent to wipe out a group of people. Israeli officials have said that they aren’t targeting the Palestinians.
The pro-Palestinian protesters in Michigan chanting “from the river to the sea” is a reference to territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that many regard as calling for the eradication of Israel.
“None of us, especially elected leaders, should amplify language that inflames a tense situation & makes it harder for our communities to find common ground,” wrote Ms. Slotkin, a centrist who is Jewish. I would apologize if I knew that my words had hurt someone, no matter the origin. I’d ask the same from you.”
“This phrase means eradicating Israel and Jews. She said that the only thing that would save civilians and secure the peace, justice and dignity was a return of hostages.
Tlaib responded to allegations that she shared a slogan calling for violence against Israel, saying on the House floor that she was calling for a cease-fire.
Republicans advanced a measure to censure Tlaib on Tuesday afternoon when the House rejected a motion to set aside a resolution filed by Georgia GOP Rep. Rich McCormick. The second attempt was to penalize Tlaib for her comments about the war.
Tlaib is accused of calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, and promoting false narratives about the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel.