The Democratic Party is suffering a mental breakdown as its factions fight over who to support in the war in Israel/Gaza. The radical wing of the party is out in force for Hamas, while the establishment has maintained tepid support for Israel. Jawad Iqbal reports in The Spectator:
A month is a long time in American politics — or so it would seem judging by the growing split among Democrats over the Israel-Hamas war. In the days immediately after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 240 hostages, Democrats across the board offered unequivocal support for Israel and its right to self-defense.
That was then. Now, support for Israel’s actions has plunged the party into an increasingly vitriolic internal battle that is pitting former political allies against each other. The festering divisions in the American left running along ideological, generational and racial lines are set to deepen as the conflict drags on and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza escalates.
Some in the party are calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza while others continue to stand firm in support of Israel’s military actions. Positions are becoming more and more entrenched, and the insults are flying, becoming uglier with each day that passes.
The tensions burst into the open earlier this week on the House floor, when twenty-two Democrats joined forces with the Republicans on Wednesday to censure the Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American, for her rhetoric on the conflict. The censure motion accused Tlaib of “promoting false narratives” about the Hamas assault on Israel. Some of her own party colleagues said she was “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Emotions were running high throughout the session. “I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable,” she declared, accusing her opponents of trying to “silence” her.
The unprecedented rebuke of Tlaib came in the wake of video footage featuring her, shared on social media, that included a clip of pro-Palestinian protesters chanting “from the river to the sea,” a slogan condemned by Jewish leaders as antisemitic. Tlaib, rather ludicrously, has suggested that the phrase is an “aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.” It really isn’t that, and Tlaib should know better than seeking to defend it as such.
Tlaib’s supporters were furious with those who supported the censure resolution. Cori Bush, a former Black Lives Matter activist who represents Missouri, accused House members of putting “targets on the backs of actual people, most of whom are black or brown.”
The fissures in the party are now spilling into public view. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a prominent Florida congresswoman, was damning last month about party colleagues who wouldn’t back a resolution affirming support for Israel in its war against Hamas: “Someone who votes against this, I would think, doesn’t have a soul.” Some in the Congressional Black Caucus were quick to hit back, telling her that referring to people of color as “soulless” is a trope that was used to justify slavery. These are cracks too deep to be papered over easily.
The left is facing a long overdue reckoning. Support for Israel used to be one of the few areas of bipartisan consensus: Democrats and Republicans fought tooth and nail over most things but tended to speak as one on Israel. No longer.
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