Democrats' last hurrah to Israel

Democrats' last hurrah to Israel
Comment: 'Progressive' politicians are showing how out of touch with their base they truly are, writes CJ Werleman.
5 min read
28 Mar, 2018
Democrat Nancy Pelosi will lead the Democrats' visit to Israel [Tom Williams/CQRollCall]
On Saturday, US Congressional Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will lead ten congressional Democrats on a trip to Israel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

"There is no greater political accomplishment in the 20th Century than the establishment of the State of Israel," announced Pelosi on the eve of the trip.

That's right - according to Pelosi, there was not a single political accomplishment that was greater than the creation of Israel in the 100 years that spanned 1900 to 1999, not the defeat of European fascism, or an end to the US-Soviet confrontation that threatened to annihilate the entire universe, nor women's suffrage or even the end of apartheid in the United States during the 1960s or South Africa in the 1980s.

All of these accomplishments take a back seat to the creation of Israel, so says the leader of the United States' "progressive" political party.

Joining Pelosi will be Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, along with Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), another member of the panel, and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Donald McEachin (D-VA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

Israel's creation narrative is built upon the premise of Jewish continuity and divine right over the land it now both legally and illegally occupies

But expect not a single one of these Democrats to utter anything more than cheap slogans and throw-away lines about Palestinian liberation and Israel's continued defiance of international law.

Expect instead the usual flowery and flourishing rhetoric that serves, by design, to only whitewash crimes and violence undertaken by Israel's founding fathers before and after 1948.

Expect to hear the all-too-predictable talking points; including the "Israel made the desert bloom" myth which is the beating heart of the Israeli hasbara project.

"The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel's cultivable land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness," boasted Shimon Peres, Israel's eigh
th prime minister.

It is a sentiment long-favoured by Israeli leaders. "It was only after the Zionists made the desert bloom that they [Palestinians] became interested in taking it from us," asserted Levi Eshkol, Israel's thi
rd prime minister.

This creation myth is the cornerstone of Israel's effort to conceal its injustices and abuses of the indigenous inhabitants of the land - the Palestinian people. "Israel's founders attempted to convince world opinion that the country was a virtually uninhabited desert - a land without a people for a people without a land - in which Jewish immigrants could settle without prejudice to anybody's interests," writes Alan George, the former Assistant Director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, and author of Making the Desert Bloom: A Myth Explained.

Israel's creation narrative is built upon the premise of Jewish continuity and divine right over the land it now both legally (pre-1967 borders) and illegally (post-1967 borders) occupies. In its effort to make realities on the ground synchronise with this mythological narrative, Israel has erased every vestige of Palestinian presence since its creation in 1948: more than 500 Palestinian villages were liquidated and 600,000 Palestinians were expelled during the Nakba, and nearly every Arab street and town that remained intact after has been renamed with Hebrew nomenclatures.

The more liberal a voter describe themselves, the more likely they are to support Palestinian liberation

The leaders of the Democratic Party will again give their blessing to the lies Israel deploys to conceal its 70-year campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous inhabitants, while the Republican Party continues to be indistinguishable from Israel's far-right Likud party in terms of style and substance when it comes to resolving legitimate Palestinian grievances.

The question then becomes how much longer can the Democratic Party continue to stand by Israel's illegal occupation and violation of Palestinian human rights, when Democratic voters are now more likely to say they
sympathise with the Palestinians than with Israel?

During the 2016 election, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Jewish American who once lived on a kibbutz in Israel, channelled and rode the sentiments of an increasingly pro-Palestinian Democratic voter base when he told an Israeli
 audience that Israel must end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

When you drill down further into polls of Democratic voters you find that the more liberal a voter describe themselves, the more likely they are to support Palestinian liberation. More significantly, younger voters overwhelmingly side with Palestinians, and given it's the 18-35 voter the Democratic Party hopes will drive it to victory in the 2018 midterm elections, political reality is finally catching up to ageing white Democrat stalwarts - like Pelosi and Senate Minority Speaker Chuck Schumer (D-NY) - in the House and Senate.

"In Congress, a sidling away from Israel among Democrats may already be underway," observes Shmuel Rosner for
The New York Times. "Once, Democratic legislators had to worry about appearing unsupportive of Israel; today some of them - especially those who need to be re-elected by liberal voters - seem to have the opposite concern: They do not want to be seen as too supportive."

To this end, the world should see this visit to Israel by the Democratic Party for what it really is: generational politics. In other words, think of it as the last overt display of Democratic Party solidarity with Israel, expressed by a generation who are now well and truly out of the touch with their base.

CJ Werleman is the author of 'Crucifying America', 'God Hates You, Hate Him Back' and 'Koran Curious', and is the host of Foreign Object.

Follow him on Twitter: @cjwerleman

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.