Progressive Democrats Seek a Shift to US Relations with Israel
Progressive Democrats in the United States are pushing forward efforts to dramatically shift the US relationship with Israel, following the 11-day Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.
Their agenda is centered around social justice for Palestinians, and conditioning of US military aid to Israel, the Hill reported on Friday.
“Domestic politics has always been a reality when it comes to U.S. and Israeli relationship, and U.S. support of Israel,” said Aaron David Miller, who served as a negotiator on Israeli and Palestinian peace efforts across Republican and Democratic administrations.
“I think now more than any time I’ve watched this movie, the stress on the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the criticisms of Israel’s actions are probably greater now than ever before,” he acknowledged.
Progressive groups are encouraged by changing priorities among Democrats that have promoted policy shifts on climate change, healthcare, criminal justice reform and racial equity, according to the report.
“Conditioning aid to the Israeli government is a policy that is supported by the overwhelming majority of Democrats but is not supported by the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Washington,” said Waleed Sahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, which is the political action committee that supported Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other prominent, progressive lawmakers in Congress.
“But that’s true about many issues that progressives campaign on. Over time, in our view, the party will change with more pressure from inside and outside on this issue.”
Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are leading the efforts to block a $735 million weapons sale to Israel, with a resolution introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate this week.
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.
Her words came amid reports of the rising death toll of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that were targeted by Israeli air strikes.
Israel on Thursday declared a unilateral ceasefire and the Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza accepted it.
Israel began the aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip on May 10, after weeks of violence against Palestinians at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where Israeli forces and settlers attacked Palestinian worshipers, and in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the regime tried to force Palestinians out of their homes to build more illegal settlements.
The Israeli regime killed at least 243 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, through its aerial bombardment of Gaza. Palestinian resistance groups responded with thousands of significantly improved rockets, which caught Israel off guard and killed 12 people.
Senator Sanders’s sponsorship of the resolution opposing weapons sales to Israel will force a vote on the issue in the Senate. The resolution only requires a simple majority to pass the Senate, but it would need a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House if it is vetoed by President Joe Biden.
Progressive activists are hailing the resolution as a “historic” moment.
“The progressive movement has gained power in the last few years and has elected more human rights champions,” said Yasmine Taeb, a human rights lawyer who has called for more Israeli accountability in its violent policies towards Palestinians.
“I do believe it’s because of those gains that we made, and strengthening our inside and outside strategy, which has brought us to this moment.”
Taeb and others wrote an open letter to the Biden administration that called for denouncing of Israel’s “war crimes” against Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds and the occupied West Bank.
Source: Press TV