A fourth-generation Irish American from El Paso who sits in the House of Representatives is challenging Ted Cruz for his Senate seat. His name is Robert O’Rourke and he is a former punk rocker.
But he has elected to run under his childhood nickname of “Beto” and he has as much Latino blood running through his veins as Elizabeth Warren has Cherokee. But “Beto O’Rourke” he is.
He has raised an enormous amount of amount of money because Ted Cruz is a very attractive target for Progressive causes. There is some confusion about where much of this campaign’s funding is sourced, but the non-partisan website, opensecrets.com, says the majority of the campaign donations (Campaign Committee and PAC’s) are coming from California, New York, and Texas.
Despite the unending criticism from the Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that Trump’s tax cuts are “crumbs” thrown to the middle class, are only intended to benefit the “top 1%” and “special interests,” it should be noted that Beto’s 2nd largest group of contributors are “Lawyers/Law Firms” — in other words, people who do not want to see tort reform enacted or damages capped in medical malpractice suits, for example.
That would reduce the cost of medical insurance for individuals and families without the need for Obamacare which, of course, the Democrats uniformly oppose. They have also historically opposed the very concept of capping damages in malpractice suits because contributions from lawyers have been a critical source of campaign finance.
So much for the slam that Republicans are beholden to special interests.
Perhaps more intriguing is Beto’s largest contributor: J Street.
We know that Ted Cruz, whatever your opposition to him might be, has been one of Israel’s most steadfast supporters in the US Senate. The J Street PAC, which describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace” has endorsed (and, presumably, supported with cash) Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The Political Director of the J Street PAC rationalized their endorsement based upon their “advocacy for a two-state solution and the Iran nuclear agreement”.
In principle, most would agree with the former if Israel had a reasonable negotiating partner whose leader Mahmoud Abbas did not make declarations like Israel was established as a “colonial project” that has “nothing to do with Judaism”. And that the Holocaust was caused by Jewish “social behavior, charging interest and financial matters.”
Oh, yeah, and an Iranian surrogate, Hamas, controls the “other” Palestinian territory, the Gaza “Strip” which diverts essential materials provided to its citizens to build tunnels to broach the Israeli borders on land and sea.
But these are values embraced by J Street and constitute “pro-Israel, pro-peace”.
Far more offensive and more difficult to defend, particularly in retrospect, is any endorsement of the Iran nuclear deal. Following the decision of the US Government to decertify the JCPOA, Ayatollah Khamenei made the following demands to the remaining signatories to the agreement in order to maintain Iran’s compliance:
- The Europeans must put forward a resolution before the United Nations protesting the US violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (the JCPOA).
- Iran’s missile program and its “regional presence” absolutely may not be discussed with European leaders.
- European leaders must clearly oppose all American sanctions against Iran.
- If the Americans try to interfere with Iran’s oil sales, the Europeans must guarantee the purchase of oil from Iran.
- Europe must guarantee Iran’s banking connections.
If J Street is determining whether to endorse candidates or not based upon their continuing support of the JCPOA now that the Ayatollah has released his demands for remaining in the deal, there is nothing “pro-Israel, pro-peace” even hinted in these threats.
The US has made it clear that it will be reimposing economic sanctions and one of the most crippling is that Iran will not have access to the world banking system. There is nothing the Europeans can do to help the Iranians skirt this crippling prohibition, and they will not be able to conduct worldwide commerce. Further, any company that conducts business with Iran will be barred from doing business in the US or with any US companies, and it is difficult to conceive that will be a tough choice to make.
Iran is about to be isolated in a way that is far more draconian than in the pre-Obama era. Even the Russians and Chinese, despite their loss of face over the Trump tariffs, are in no position to trade with Iran and face the prospect of being sanctioned by the US.
So, these are the candidates and the cause that J Street has chosen to align itself. Where does the phrase “pro-Israel” become even a part of the equation?
Bernie Sanders did not accept the explanation that Hamas fighters were interspersed with “protesters” during the Gaza clashes, even though Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Hamas leader, said, “…when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance’, we are deceiving the public.”
Elizabeth Warren did not concur with Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, saying it would make it more difficult to achieve peace in the Middle East.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed 93-5. The six-month waiver permitted in the law was repeatedly invoked by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. President Trump signed one waiver and then moved the Embassy from Tel Aviv.
Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Israel to attend this historic event, but Beto was not in attendance. Perhaps he didn’t catch the “pro-Israel” part of the slogan attached to his largest donor.