Democrats discuss future Israeli government at J-Street conference

WASHINGTON – Seven Democratic lawmakers speaking at a J Street conference this week expressed concern about the “far-right” government currently being installed in Israel, despite the Biden administration’s cautious approach.

Most of the lawmakers in the audience described themselves as progressives and belonged to the camp increasingly concerned about Israel’s actions in the West Bank, but they were nonetheless more moderate on the issue. staff, further to the left, a group of female lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. All speakers agreed on the need to first emphasize the importance of the relationship between Israel and the United States.

The determination of the delegates to openly deplore the return to power of prime ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu and the promotion of extremist MKs he placed in high-level positions gives a better understanding of the pressures the Biden administration will face. probably the part of his camp on the issue of Israel in the years to come.

Get our free daily edition by email so you don’t miss the best news! Sign up for free!

For now, the administration has said it is taking a wait-and-see approach to dealing with the next Israeli government, which could be sworn in within days.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said at the conference, “We will judge the government not by the personalities that form it at the individual level, but by the policies it will implement.”

Axios reported Wednesday that the White House called a meeting last week to discuss how he might engage with the next administration, but no decision was made.

An official informed about the matter Israel times American ambassador Tom Nides said that he does not yet plan to meet with Itamar Ben Gvir, the leader of the extremist faction Otzma Yehudit, whom Netanyahu appointed as national security minister in his next government. A policy that could also apply to Bezalel Smotrich, whom Netanyahu wants to appoint as finance minister and the pro-annexation HaTzionout HaDatit party has also gained control of bodies within the Defense Ministry heavily involved in Israel’s West Bank policies.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks at the J Street National Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Political forces that defend democracy, equal rights, freedom before the law and the peace process in Israel must agree with the far-right alliance formed in the Knesset, whose members should form Netanyahu’s new cabinet,” he said. Representative Jamie Raskin presided over the process. on impeachment in the direction of former President Donald Trump.

“The inclusion of political extremists in the government of a democratic society – as we have seen here recently with the Trump administration – is a clear and present threat to democratic values, the rule of law and human rights,” he added. his speech at the opening of the conference on Saturday evening.

Seven-term Congressman Gerry Connolly slammed Netanyahu’s decision to “destroy” the Iran policy put in place by former President Barack Obama in a 2015 speech to a joint session of Congress, he noted. He added that the only solution envisaged by the Prime Minister in the Iran issue is the US military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and the “results of this will be disastrous”.

“Bibi should know that when he comes here, he should refrain from trying to divide us into partisan lines again. He had better not jeopardize long-term US support for Israel by making a partisan commitment. And he’d better listen to the growing number of voices, including in this room,” Connolly said Monday.

“He brought together the most right-wing extremist government in Israel’s history, including other figures recognized as supporters of terrorists, not only by our government, but also by Europe, and by the State of Israel itself.” Connolly continued by referring to Ben Gvir, whose members of the Otzma Yehudit party were followers of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane’s Kach organization was banned and blacklisted as a terrorist organization in the US and Israel.

Rep. Peter Welch, who recently won one of two seats in the Virginia senate, said Netanyahu has “shown a cynical disregard for the principles of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.”

“Why is he working to build a government that not only opposes the two-state solution, but also includes ministers who want to expel Arab citizens from Israel? “he asked. Ben Gvir was campaigning for the expulsion of “traitorous” Arab citizens from the country.

“I cannot support Netanyahu’s efforts to undermine the aspirations of a democratic Israeli state by marginalizing, annexing and compromising the rights of Israel’s Arab citizens,” he adds.

He also touched on Trump’s dinner last month with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, two notorious anti-Semites: “Bibi didn’t have dinner with Trump, Ye and Fuentes, but she obviously serves the same menu.

Rep. Becca Balint, who will replace Welch in the House of Representatives, praised J Street Chairman Jeremy Ben Amin’s earlier remarks in a video conference speech. “The ultra-right Netanyahu government will force US-Israel relations into a moment of truth,” he said and repeated.

Representatives Melanie Stansbury, Jennifer Wexton, Madeleine Dean and Sean Kasten spoke on the conference stage about their J Street-sponsored trip to Israel and the West Bank, expressing concern about the situation on the ground, and their situation in particular. The Palestinians of Hebron and the Israelis who live on the border with Gaza, and they have vowed to take action to change things on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Dean from Philadelphia also expressed concern that the next Israeli government could further escalate tensions. “I am deeply concerned about the direction the new government will take Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

Wexton, who has been involved in initiatives to condemn unilateral Israeli actions in the West Bank in the past, said he hoped the Biden administration would follow through on its promise to block these unilateral directives.

“If they don’t, and Secretary of State Blinken is scheduled to appear before my committee shortly, I think I will ask him about it,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *