2020 Democratic hopefuls are silent on Gaza — and it's deafening

2020 Democratic hopefuls are silent on Gaza — and it's deafening
Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris (Shutterstock / Wikimedia Commons)

Israel reached a ceasefire with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip this week after several days of fighting left four Israelis and 25 Palestinians dead, including two pregnant women and a one-year-old child. Yet as of this writing, just three Democratic candidates for president have elected to weigh in on the violence—two of them in defense of Israel, according to Haaretz. Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who is running an expressly anti-war campaign and whose social media is being managed by a group of teenage students, has offered the lone voice of support for Palestine.


“The bloodshed in Palestine and Israel will not cease until the fundamentally unjust existing structure is jettisoned,” he tweeted. “We cannot support a right-wing racist regime committed to annexation and gradual ethnic cleansing. There must be a binational state with equal rights for all.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called on Hamas to cease its “random rocket fire into Israel,” adding that his “heart goes out to the families of the Israelis killed, and those wounded in the grievous attacks. I call on all parties to show restraint and de-escalate this situation immediately.” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., did not issue a formal statement but told CBS News, “You have a terrorist organization that actually suppresses its own people, conducts acts of violence and human rights violations against people who live in Gaza. And so Israel has a right to defend itself and it should do that.” Both loosely echoed the words of President Donald Trump, who posted the following on Sunday:

Democrats in Congress have proved considerably more outspoken. Rep Rashid Tlaib, D-Mich., criticized The New York Times for a headline suggesting the latest skirmish had been initiated by Hamas militants, while Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., issued a sweeping condemnation of Israeli aggression in the region. “How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?” she tweeted. “The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.”

But despite their pledge earlier this year not to attend the annual conference of the Israeli lobbying group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—one that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., effectively violated when she hosted representatives from the organization in March—the Democratic Party’s 2020 hopefuls have been loathe to criticize the Israeli government, with a couple of notable exceptions. Both former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have called the Netanyahu administration “racist,” with the latter telling a CNN town hall recently, “I have family in Israel. I am not anti-Israel. But the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who, I think, is treating the Palestinians extremely unfairly.”

Read more at Haaretz.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.