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22 Mar, 2019 05:08

House Dems ignore base, battle Trump for Israel’s approval with anti-boycott law as AIPAC looms

House Dems ignore base, battle Trump for Israel’s approval with anti-boycott law as AIPAC looms

House Democrats have introduced a resolution condemning boycotts of Israel, competing with President Donald Trump to see who can pander the loudest to the Israeli lobby, ahead of the AIPAC conference – never mind their base.

House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-New York) and Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) are shouting their support for Israel at the top of their lungs as the AIPAC conference comes to Washington this weekend, introducing a resolution to condemn boycotts of Israel as “incompatible” with a two-state solution. Schneider, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is actually speaking at the conference, which is surely just a coincidence.

With the influential lobby in town, Democratic Party members are no doubt eager to convince their wealthy pro-Israel donors that rumors of anti-Semitism within the party are greatly exaggerated, and that Ilhan Omar’s blasphemy regarding "the Benjamins" that it may –or may not– be “all about” is not shared by all who call themselves Democrats.


However, their timing looks awfully cynical in light of Wednesday’s plea by influential liberal group MoveOn.org for Democratic presidential candidates to skip the AIPAC conference altogether for reasons largely related to Israeli policies, which have been internationally condemned for their apparent contempt for universal concepts like human rights and the rule of law.

The resolution condemns the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to force Israel to end its oppression of the Palestinians by means of non-violent economic protest, as “overly-simplistic and one-sided” and, somewhat ironically, accuses the movement of violating “free and open exchange and debate.”

Not to be outdone, Republican Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) and Lee Zeldin (R-New York) are co-sponsoring the anti-boycott bill, and Zeldin is also speaking at AIPAC. Indeed, President Donald Trump has out-Israel’d Israel by declaring his support for recognizing its sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights – recognition few in Israel actually want, aside from PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but which the discovery of oil in the region has apparently mandated.

Also on rt.com It’s time for US to fully recognize Israel’s ‘sovereignty’ over disputed Golan Heights – Trump

With Trump and Bibi closer than ever – and both, coincidentally, facing multiple criminal probes – it may seem odd that House Democrats, normally devoted to their #Resistance brand, would side with Trump, but AIPAC’s financial heft trumps party lines. The lobbying group, which prides itself on its bipartisanship, only spreads about $3.5 million around Washington, but its real power lies in its ability to connect favored pols with its network of wealthy donors, bundling millions to whoever it believes will do what’s best for Israel.

Despite their liberal base’s call for the party to distance itself from Israel, then, Democrats realize that midterm elections are over, and it’s another year before any member of Congress has to worry about wooing voters – leaving them to focus on wooing lobbying dollars instead. The #Resistance will return after these messages from our sponsors.

Helen Buyniski

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.