Foreign Policy

After years of progressive work to shift U.S. policy leftward, the president’s party isn’t flinching this week in its calls for a tougher posture against aggression toward Palestinians.

In a New York Times op-ed, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the Biden administration to speak out more forcefully against the Israeli government’s actions. | Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

By ANDREW DESIDERIO

 

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Democrats are heading for a major reckoning over the U.S. relationship with Israel, amid a spiraling escalation of violence in recent days that has put pressure on President Joe Biden to get tougher on the Israeli government.

The prospect of forced evictions of Palestinians in east Jerusalem and a sustained rocket campaign against Israel this week have laid bare the increasingly thorny political dynamic facing congressional Democrats, more of whom are beginning to question the lockstep bipartisan support for Israel that has existed across Washington. While not abandoning America’s historically strong ties to Israel, Democrats aren’t flinching this week in their calls for a tougher posture against aggression toward Palestinians.

“There is a very strong emerging ground in the Democratic Party that wants to see an American policy that is balanced — that recognizes both Israel’s security needs and rights when it comes to defending itself from rockets and terror, but also recognizes that will never end unless Palestinians get their rights and their freedoms,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, an advocacy group founded as a progressive pro-Israel voice on U.S. policy.

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