May 19, 2018 10:47:04 PM
Do Democrats truly stand for democracy, LGBT and women's rights, or even freedom?
Perhaps those values are merely talking points used to garner votes, because if progressives truly cared about human rights they claim to espouse, they wouldn't have boycotted the U.S. delegation in Israel this week celebrating the historic opening of America's embassy in Jerusalem.
You read that right. Not a single Democratic lawmaker traveled to Israel this week to honor our long-standing ally and remarkable moment in history. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a supportive statement applauding moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital but avoided what would have been a bipartisan show of force alongside Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee and other Republicans on-site to support our greatest ally in the Middle East -- the only nation in the region that embraces American values.
Progressive darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn't even muster a statement. And her socialist brother in arms Bernie Sanders stooped even lower. He blamed the Israel Defense Forces for harming "innocent" civilians in the Gaza clash that wounded many and left at least 60 Palestinians dead. Of course, Sanders' condemnation of Israel didn't mention the fact that many of the so-called protesters lashing out in response to the embassy move were heavily armed terrorists detonating explosives, throwing Molotov cocktails and causing deadly mayhem -- including Hamas fighters using civilians as human shields.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who traveled to the battle zone, said: "The Hamas leadership is a group of cannibals who treat their children as armament. They have rocket armament, personal armament and another kind of armament -- their children and women." He added, "Their goal is to lift Gaza's blockade but not to build their economy or hold talks about coexistence but rather to smuggle weapons (into Gaza) to continue to build up their military force and create a pseudo Hezbollah model."
That stark reality didn't stop Sanders from telling the host of the podcast "Deconstructed," Mehdi Hasan, "Instead of applauding Israel for its actions, Israel should be condemned." He continued, "Israel has a right to security, but shooting unarmed protesters is not what it is about." Meanwhile, on Wednesday, top Hamas official Salah Bardawil admitted during an interview with Palestinian news outlet Baladna that the majority of those killed in the Gaza riot were Hamas' soldiers. "I am giving you an official figure. Fifty of the martyrs in the recent battle were from Hamas," Bardawil said.
Regardless, most Democrats resisted giving President Donald Trump any credit for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem -- a policy promise past administrations made but never delivered.
What Republicans understand is that Israel is our staunchest ally in the Middle East and one of the only democracies in the region -- a freedom-loving nation that respects women's, LGBT and civil rights. Doesn't it make sense for all Americans to support an ally that shares our values?
Of course it does. And make no mistake: If Bill or Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or any Democratic administration had had the courage to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel's rightful capital, you can bet your last latke the media and Democratic Party would've lauded the move and packed airplanes bound for Jerusalem to be present for the ribbon-cutting.
But because our president is a Republican, most liberal lawmakers chose to either stay silent or blame Israel for the Gaza violence. Never mind that Palestinian leaders don't support women, equality or LGBT rights. Nor do they embrace democracy, making one wonder whether American progressives truly cherish those values, because if they did, they could've put partisan politics aside -- for just one day -- and supported Israel and our president.
Come November, voters will remember who was Israel's friend and who wasn't.
Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16.