Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.
The Hamas attack also shook internal Democratic politics. In California’s Senate race, Congressman Adam Schiff is the only one of the three leading Democratic candidates to voice unambiguous support for Israel. By contrast, Representative Katie Porter condemned the loss of lives on both sides. Representative Barbara Lee called for a ceasefire and offered her prayers for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Yet it was in New York City where the left’s not-so-subterranean skirmishes over Israel burst into the open. On Sunday, several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted “Globalize the intifada,” and “Smash the settler Zionist state.” They also taunted Israel over the number of people killed. The Democratic Socialists of America was an event sponsor. Expect middle-America to be turned off by these antics.
Kathy Hochul, New York’s governor, blasted the rally as “abhorrent and morally repugnant”. Representative Ritchie Torres, a Bronx congressman, wrote: “There is a special place in hell for those who glorify the cold-blooded murder of civilians and children.”
Joe Biden may yet be the last unalloyed pro-Israel Democratic president. But right now, it is he who sets the tone of US policy.
The relationship has been further tested in his presidency. The key episode to revisit is Israel’s May 2021 incursion into Gaza after a major Hamas rocket attack. Biden backed Netanyahu unequivocally: “Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” he said.
But with each passing day of the conflict, as violence in Gaza mounted, the criticism from some Democrats in Congress escalated, and Biden felt more pressure in his private conversations with Netanyahu to push for a ceasefire, which came 11 days after the initial attack.
The scale of Hamas’s attack on Saturday is far greater and more barbaric than any recent violence against Israel, but several House Democrats we spoke to last night are convinced that this political cycle will repeat itself.
“For the last couple of days we’ve seen all the pictures of girls who were killed at this festival and the children and the parents and the Holocaust survivor and the elderly, and the hundreds of people who are dead and the stories about them being raped,” one Democratic congressman told Playbook. “That’s over. Okay? The media is going to turn from all of that real soon. And the only images we’re going to see for the next couple of weeks are dead Palestinians.” The member added, “So that’s when the Progressive Caucus will get all ginned up.”
The left is forgetting one big thing: the terrorists killed and captured Americans.