Over the past three days, our closest ally in the Middle East has endured a barrage of rockets from its Islamic jihadist neighbors in Gaza, resulting in the closing of Tel Aviv schools for the first time since 1990. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in Shajaiyah in Gaza City, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) assassinated Baha Abu al-Ata, a top commander of the Gaza terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a strike which has resulted in violent retaliatory measures against Israel on the part of the PIJ.
Though Hamas is the terrorist organization currently exercising political control over Gaza, their absolute hold over the region has been more tenuous in recent years. And the Iran-backed PIJ has capitalized on this weakening of power, rising to fill the resulting power vacuum from Hamas’ decline.
Yet, despite the hundreds of rockets launched at civilian centers throughout the southern part of Israel, only four of the top 10 2020 Democratic contenders bothered to comment—former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (who commented only when approached), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Notably absent were frontrunners Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).
Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats. It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That's why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel's life-saving Iron Dome. https://t.co/aQOUdKZqq7
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 12, 2019
I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) November 13, 2019
The irony of this silence from top primary contenders such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA., is that they have no problem rustling up commentary on Israel when it is to lecture Israel on its immigration policy or to challenge Israel’s understanding of its own territorial claims.
Indeed, many of the Democratic contenders expressed public anger at Israel’s denial of entry to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-MI., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN., who were refused admittance under Israel’s Entry into Israel Law due to their BDS activities (which included the proposal of a pro-BDS bill in U.S. Congress). Though Israel’s decision was largely the result of adhering to laws already in place, public chastising on the part of the Left was swift and severe.
Democrats prefer to discuss Israel only when they can condemn Israel. When the matter involves terrorists threatening Israeli lives, these usually outspoken Democratic leaders are strangely mute. If they are so invested in Israel’s future, as they would like audiences to believe through their perpetual criticism of Israeli policy, why are they so stunningly silent now? Furthermore, isn’t it possible that the very policies they routinely criticize are the result of complex factors, like nearby terrorist factions launching hundreds of rockets, and that it would behoove them to acknowledge such attacks like the current one? Apparently, no.
In July, after Elizabeth Warren hired a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel aide named Max Berger and remained unabashedly mum about her decision, it became obvious that the far-Left’s hatred of Israel (and of really anything professing Enlightenment values) had begun to infect the upper echelons of the Democratic Party. The argument made at the time largely holds true in the current moment, as well.
Warren’s failure to comment on Berger’s support for anti-Semitic terrorists reveals a watershed moment in Warren’s campaign. To speak is an act, but in the world of campaigns, to remain silent may require equal deliberation. It seems here is no exception.
It is likely Warren sees an opportunity to remain silent about Berger as a way of offering tacit support to the far-left, anti-Israel progressives of her base…[S]he is able to shore up support from radical anti-Israel groups by simply saying nothing.
The silence of Democratic leaders speaks volumes about where the more progressive elements of the party are today, given that ignoring hundreds of terrorist rockets raining down on our strongest ally likely takes some effort. It seems both Warren and Sanders have found ducktaping themselves to be a fruitful endeavor—it endears them to their anti-Israel (and for some, anti-Semitic) base in a way that nothing else could.
This article has been corrected since publication.