Support for Israelís Right to Self Defense Far From Guaranteed in
By Adam Kredo
June 8, 2018
In the wake of new congressional resolution to support
Israel's right to self defense amid a massive and unending wave of Palestinian
violence stoked by Hamas, Democratic support for the Jewish state's defense
remains in question, according to a top lawmaker pushing the new pro-Israel
resolution, recently introduced by Reps. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) and Josh
Gottheimer (D., N.J.), would put Congress firmly on Israel's side as it takes
defensive measure to protect its citizens from a wave of violence sponsored by
the terrorist group Hamas, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by the
Washington Free Beacon.
While such a measure would have gained broad bipartisan
support in years past, a growing anti-Israel wave in the Democratic Party is
making support for the latest measure controversial, according to Zeldin, who
spoke about this growing trend in an interview with Free Beacon.
Democratic support for Israel has become increasingly
polarized in recent years due to attempts by party leaders to appease a growing
segment of Democratic activists who view the Jewish state as an international
pariah and oppose the historically ironclad U.S-Israel alliance.
The new resolution seeks to put Congress firmly on Israel's
side as it battles Hamas militants who have been violently protesting along the
country's border with the Gaza Strip for more than a month now.
The measure "condemns the actions taken by Hamas in
Gaza, supports Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas, [and] urges the
United Nations and United States allies to support Israel in its self
It also offers a formal rebuke of "all those who
condemn Israel's right to safeguard its citizens against violence [and] condemns
all who support the goals of Hamas by condemning Israel's right to safeguard its
citizens against violence."
Zeldin said the resolution comes at a critical time for
Israel following international criticism of President Donald Trump's effort to
relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital city of
"The reason why the resolution is necessary is, as I
witnessed and many others did when Hamas most recently was organizing a massive
effort to storm the border of Israel and Israel exercised its inherent right to
self defense, there were people in our country and around the world who are
criticizing Israel for defending herself," Zeldin said. "There should
be no doubt that the policy of the United States, whether it is this past time
or the next time Hamas attempts to storm the border of Israel, that the United
States stands shoulder to shoulder with them. Any American who speaks out in
criticizing that policy is not speaking for our entire country."
This support is by no means guaranteed in Congress as even
middle-of-the-road Democrats seek to court the party's anti-Israel base.
"Support of Israel should be bipartisan," Zeldin
said. "It is certainly better for America, better for Israel, better for
our alliance, when everyone in Congress is united, or as close to united as
possible in support. However, I fear that when this resolution comes up for a
vote that some members of Congress will be showing their true stripes and take
Hamas' side over Israel."
The Zeldin-Gottheimer resolution will serve as a litmus
test for congressional support of Israel, forcing members to take a side in the
"I think it will be very telling to have a vote on the
resolution to see how close to unanimous it is," Zeldin said. "That is
what I would prefer. But it's unfortunately far from certain."
"The best thing for our country, Israel, and the
alliance is for every member of Congress to vote in favor of a resolution like
this," Zeldin explained. "It's also important for more members of
Congress to take a stance and not hedge with their positions and rhetoric to
play both sides. It's very dangerous."
As the Democratic Party moves away from its once steadfast
support for Israel, its anti-Trump fervor is further straining the party's
support for Israel. The tension was on full display when not a single U.S.
Democrat travelled to Israel to attend the embassy opening.
"There's a larger amount of the activist Democratic
base who are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel," Zeldin said when asked why
the issue of Israel is becoming increasingly partisan in nature. "We've
seen the evidence of this at the national convention for the Democratic Party in
2008, 2012 and 2016, where people tried to formally include these
pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel positions into the Party platform."
"We saw it with the Obama administration's
relationship with Israel, their team's efforts to oust [Prime Minister Benjamin]
Netanyahu," the lawmaker explained.
"There are many people in Congress and out who have pledged to oppose President Trump on anything and everything," Zeldin continued. "They opposed the embassy move just because it's Donald Trump fulfilling his pledge. They oppose everything and anything he does."