I’m a Democrat; my support for Israel doesn’t waver

We Democrats must stay true to our principles, and that means staying true to the one democracy in the Middle East
Illustrative. Buttons depicting US and Israeli flags. (iStock)
Illustrative. Buttons depicting US and Israeli flags. (iStock)

For decades, Democratic Party support for Israel was never questioned. But recently, the GOP has taken up the pro-Israel cause, offering blind support, while ignoring certain Israeli actions criticized by prior American governments.  Simultaneously, many Democrats have been critical of Israeli policy, even to the level of questioning the long-term bond between our countries. There is an inaccurate, but perhaps growing, perception that the Republicans are better for Israel than we are.

As a Democratic candidate for the House in NY-1, I affirm traditional Democratic Party principles and stand in solidarity with Israel as our sole true democratic friend in the Middle East. The Democrats’ support for the Jewish state dates back to Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, and has not wavered in the 70 years since. While Democrats are known for their “big tent” and diverse views, there are certain issues shared by all wings of the party. Support for Israel must remain one of them.

There cannot be a wedge between Jewish American voters and our party, and it is imperative that we as Democrats stay true to our basic principles. As your future NY-1 congressman, I pledge to hold to the following ideals that should be representative of us all:

  • Israel is our strongest ally in the region. The US must remain committed to Israel’s security and ability to defend itself. This includes the maintenance of secure and defendable borders for the Jewish state.
  • Americans must unite in opposition to the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement. Despite claims to the contrary by its advocates, BDS is no more than a statement of anti-Semitism, under a 21st century guise.
  • Hamas is primarily responsible for the current border violence in Gaza. We must unite in absolute condemnation of Hamas, which is a terrorist organization. The Hamas-initiated rocket fire from Gaza must halt. If true peace is to be achieved in Gaza, either Hamas must abandon its violent ways and accept publicly the legitimacy of the State of Israel, or it must relax its iron-hand control of Gaza and let a new governing entity take control.
  • The United States and Israel must remain committed to a true two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Without a two-state solution, Israel will lose either its Jewish identity or its democratic identity, neither of which is acceptable. If there is no entity to negotiate peace for the Palestinians, the process must wait until such entity surfaces.

None of this is new or groundbreaking, nor should it even be controversial. These are democratic principles, and as a Democrat, I have a strong personal commitment to them.

Many may try to confuse voters by suggesting that Democrats who criticize individual policies championed by a particular coalition of the Israeli government do not support Israel. This is a specious claim. As in America, Israeli governments change. Neither Democrats who criticize Trump, nor Republicans who criticized Obama are unpatriotic, much less haters of America. Americans have criticized many of our allies’ policies for years.  Why would a different standard be applied to Israel?

My support for Israel is rock solid. The Democratic Party’s support for Israel remains unwavering, and those within the Party who question such support are misguided and unrepresentative. I am proudly running for Congress in NY-1 as a Democrat, confident that the Democratic Party was, is, and always will be, a true friend of Israel.

About the Author
Perry Gershon is the democratic nominee for the House of Representatives, in New York's first district, NY-1.
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