Some Jewish Democrats and community activists are concerned at what they see as fresh signs that the party is distancing itself from Israel. New York's Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said at a July 22 town hall meeting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "does not have a plan for peace.” In Massachusetts, Jewish Democrats were riled by a recent attempt by some party activists to promote a position more critical of Israel. In California, critics of Israel brought about the adoption of an anti-Israel resolution at the Democrats’ latest state convention.
With only a few weeks remaining before the presidential election, and the start of early voting in most states, Jewish voters may still be weighing their decisions. JNS.org looks at the candidates’ positions and what they’ve said over the past year on major issues that may be important to Jewish and pro-Israel voters.
Jew-baiting these days is a globally competitive field. The Middle East, Latin America and Asia could all put up credible candidates for the title of most notorious Jew-baiter, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen.
“In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us,” Israeli MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) reminded a packed Knesset hall earlier this month during the premier joint meeting of the Knesset Caucus to Fight Delegitimization of Israel and the Christian Allies Caucus. The focus of the event: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and how Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel can work together to quash the economic warfare movement against Israel.
Jewish leaders in the United Kingdom have voiced their displeasure with the Labour Party amid an anti-Semitism scandal within its ranks that continues to engulf the country’s second-largest party. With the reported suspension of at least 50 Labour members for anti-Semitic comments over the past two months, British-Jewish voters are also indicating that the scandal may have damaged their perception of the liberal party. Although the Labour Party’s candidate for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, defeated Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith in the city’s May 5 election, results from other local and regional elections around the U.K. on the same day showed losses for the Labour Party among Jewish voters, including in Manchester, home to the country’s second-largest Jewish community.
A meeting on Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (leader of the Yesh Atid party), intended as a bid to salvage Israel’s coalition government, ended in a stalemate. As a result, a new election is expected in the country. On Tuesday, Netanyahu proceeded to fire Lapid as well as Hatnuah leader and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
Although the 2016 presidential election is still a long way off, prospective candidates are already testing the waters for possible presidential bids—primarily candidates considering running in the currently wide-open Republican race. Thus when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), one of the most visible potential contenders in 2016, said that he had never proposed to cut foreign aid to Israel, many in the pro-Israel community took notice.