What do Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, and Stenny Hoyer have in common? At least two things. First, all three are Democrats who support Israel’s right to defend itself against the missile attacks launched by Hamas.
Second, all three are at least 67 years old. Schumer is 70, Menendez 67, and Hoyer 81.
Israel’s support from Democratic lawmakers is largely confined to old-timers. The new generation of congressional Dems is either ambivalent about Israel or, like the Squad, openly hostile to the Jewish State.
The Washington Post reports that “a new crop of younger lawmakers willing to challenge the party’s pro-Israel orthodoxy has put pressure on the Biden administration and congressional leaders amid polling showing growing skepticism among Democrats about Israeli actions.”
What polling data?
A Gallup poll in March found that the majority of Democrats now take the position that the United States should be applying more pressure to Israel to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The 53 percent opting for more pressure on the Israelis is up from 43 percent in 2018 and no more than 38 percent in the decade before that, marking a substantive change in Democrats’ perspective on U.S. policy,” the report found.
This shift in opinion among Democrats is reflected in Congress. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, says:
Congress is beginning to reflect the demographic changes in how the public views [the] Israeli-Palestinian issue. You’re seeing a much more diverse group on the Democratic side who reflect where the base of the Democratic Party is going from Black and Latino to young people and professional women. Their attitudes in polls are radically different than White middle-class Americans.
If one adds the many rank-and-file Democrats who still support Israel to the majority of Republicans who do, it adds up to a clear preference for the Israeli side of the conflict, rather than for the Hamas/Palestinian side. So this is a winning issue for the GOP, and probably will remain so for a good while.
Republican pros understand the opportunity. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel states:
The Republican Party stands with Israel, a nation that has every right to defend itself against violence and the barrage of rockets from Hamas. These attacks prove that Biden’s weak leadership is reversing the historic progress the Trump administration made towards peace in the region and has signaled to known terrorist organizations, like Hamas, that they can get away with attacking our nation’s strongest ally in the Middle East. It is vital that the United States stand with Israel and the Jewish community.
Former Ambassador to the U.N. and potential Republicans presidential candidate Nikki Haley says:
Hamas has watched Biden downgrade our relationship with Israel and then restore funding to the PA and the UN’s most corrupt agency without reform. Now, they are testing him. While terrorist rockets rain down on Israeli civilians, Biden is nowhere to be found.
I’m not sure about that last comment. Reportedly, Biden and his team are working the phones, talking with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and maybe other regional players.
But there’s little doubt that Biden would like to avert his eyes from the fighting. He knows there’s nothing much he can do to stop it and, as noted, the matter splits his party in a rather unseemly way.
Moreover, according to the Post:
The effort [to stop the fighting] risks drawing the United States into just the kind of Middle East morass that Biden hoped to avoid. His foreign policy strategy is premised on a shift toward confronting China and away from an emphasis on the Middle East and Europe.
If that’s true, Biden should go ahead and shift. The fighting will end in due course with or without his intervention. Less is more when it comes to Joe Biden’s involvement in the Middle East.