House Democrats are united against President Donald Trump, but when it comes to issues concerning Israel, pro-Israel legislators find themselves pushing back against anti-Israeli detractors within their own ranks.
Bipartisan congressional support for Israel has always existed, regardless of who sat in the Oval Office, or which political party controlled either chambers of the U.S. Congress.
The 2018 mid-terms elections brought in a progressive change to the House that makes liberal Democratic members like Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, appear more like moderate Republicans.
Both Wasserman Schultz and Deutch are without question two of the staunchest supporters of Israel’s right to exist and self-determination.
While she didn’t openly support Trump’s moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Wasserman Schultz has always believed that “Jerusalem is and will remain the undivided capital of Israel.”
Deutch, who also believes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, has been arguably the loudest pro-Israel voice in the House of Representatives, sponsoring and co-sponsoring numerous bills to aide and protect Israel and it interests.
But now the Deutch/Wasserman Schultz pro-Israel wing of the Democratic Party is up against the new pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) action led by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Omar recent sponsored house resolution in support of BDS, which was cosponsored by Rep.Tlaib, is in direct opposition to Deutch’s H.R. 246, a bill filed to reject BDS.
Omar’s BDS-supporting bill has 7 cosponsors, while Deutch’s bill has 341 cosponsors, and would easily pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Tlaib has called H.R. 246 “unconstitutional,” and a measure that aims to “silence opposition to Israel’s blatantly racist policies and demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians.”
“And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”-Rep. Ilhan Omar (D)
Here is what Deutch said upon his resolution’s passing in the House Foreign Affairs committee:
“This bill puts Congress on record supporting the unprecedented levels of the 2016 MOU and affirms our unwavering support for the alliance between the United States and Israel. This legislation ensures that Israel has the ability to defend herself from the very real threats posed by terrorist organizations that sit on her borders.
The United States has always maintained a strong commitment to ensuring that our ally can defend herself and this bill highlights the ways in which we guarantee that commitment.
But our alliance is based on more than our mutual security concerns. This bond is rooted in mutual democratic values. Israel is a vibrant democracy where political parties span the spectrum from right to left and vigorously debate and disagree on policy.
That bond has fostered collaboration in many civilian areas like water and agriculture, which have yielded dramatic advancements with global impact.
This legislation strengthens existing programs for science and energy research and promotes the US and Israel working together to deliver humanitarian aid in developing countries, and it expands new areas of civilian cooperation.
The legislation creates new avenues for regional cooperation in the high-tech sector, bringing together Israeli and Palestinian researchers, along with regional Arab countries, for projects that will have a lasting impact on the entire region.”–Rep. Ted Deutch
Tlaib and Omar are members of the so-called “The Squad” of freshmen congressional “women of color” that have been targeted by President Trump.