Bipartisan Israel support – a fundamental US interest
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With the approaching midterm election, a recent Mellman Group poll showed that 75 percent of U.S. Jews disapprove of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE and plan to vote for Democrat candidates. This is hardly news, given that American Jews have traditionally voted Democratic long before Trump. However, the poll also revealed that just 51 percent of U.S. Jews support President Trump’s approach toward Israel. This is a remarkably low number given the Trump administration’s strong support for the Jewish state on several key issues, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, supporting Israel at the UN and defunding the terrorist-sponsoring UNWRA organization.

Earlier this summer, a survey by the American Jewish Committee showed that only 46 percent of U.S. Jews supported moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. In the past, most U.S. Jews supported the move. While Republicans and Democrats have always had their differences, Israel used to be the rare issue that enjoyed robust support from both sides of the aisle.

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In fact, many of the Trump administration’s policies on Israel and security used to enjoy robust bipartisan support. The Jerusalem Embassy Act that required moving the US embassy to Israel’s capital was widely supported by both parties, passing the Senate by a 93-5 margin in 1995. Presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBiden painted into a basement 'Rose Garden strategy' corner Giuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group We have the resources to get through this crisis, only stupidity is holding us back MORE, George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGraham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' 'This already exists': Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions Biden's immigration plan has serious problems MORE all articulated support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. By moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, Trump simply implemented what his Republican and Democratic predecessors had pledged to do for over two decades. Prominent Democrats who in the past supported the Jerusalem Embassy Act, like Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks MORE (D-Calif.), hypocritically blasted the Trump administration for implementing U.S. law.

Israel should never be a partisan issue. But are the days of Israel having bipartisan support over? There are troubling signs that this could be the case. Increased hostility toward the Jewish state is part of a wider, ongoing radicalization of the Democratic Party, intensified during the Obama administration. Radical leftist fringe positions have increasingly become mainstream within the Democratic Party and paved the way for populists like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump team pounces on Biden gaffes The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonRepublican lawmakers say Minnesota mask order violates state law against hiding identity Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism Is Ilhan Omar one and done? Why she could lose the August primary MORE (D-Minn.). The rapid transformation of the Democratic Party has pushed mainstream Democrats, including many Jews, to abandon formerly bipartisan positions on Israel and the Middle East. Thirteen out of 18 incumbent Jewish Democratic lawmakers supported President Obama’s controversial Iran deal that emboldened Tehran’s aggression against Israel and U.S. national interests. Nearly half of the incumbent Jewish Democratic lawmakers received funds from the progressive group J Street. Chapters of J Street have reportedly supported the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state. By contrast, Republican leaders and voters are increasingly more supportive of Israel.

While advocating a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Democrats overwhelmingly used to support Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. However, Israel’s Jewish Nation-State law passed earlier this year was widely criticized by mainstream Democrats including liberal Jews. Among the world’s numerous nation-states, the Jewish nation-state is once again unfairly singled out and slandered.

The Jewish Federation of North America usually convenes its annual General Assembly in Jerusalem. By contrast, this year it was held in Tel Aviv, further evidence that hostility toward Israel is moving from the fringes to the very center of the Democratic Party. Based on recognition of Israel as a valuable U.S. ally with shared values, past bipartisan support for Israel was uncontroversial. However, the Democratic Party’s embrace of bigoted officials and candidates, as well as identity politics increasingly romanticizes anti-American and anti-Semitic terrorist organizations like the PLO.

The trend of eroding Democratic support for Israel is tantamount to a betrayal of fundamental American values.

Daniel Krygier is a writer and political analyst based in Israel. He is a fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.