Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Martin Falbisoner
The U.S. Capitol building

by Jackson Richman

The Democratic Party retook the majority in the House of Representatives on Tuesday night after a seven-year absence.

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Despite the election of certain pro-BDS candidates, such as New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, the heads of committees significant for furthering policy related to Israel are mainstream Democrats: New York’s Eliot Engel for Foreign Affairs, and Nita Lowey, also from New York, for Appropriations.

“The House looks likely to be headed by leadership, including [Nancy] Pelosi and [Steny] Hoyer, who are strongly pro-Israel and revered by many in the Jewish community,” said Norm Eisen, an attorney and former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic under President Barack Obama in an interview with JNS. “So the baseline of support for Israel’s security and for the Jewish people globally will remain strong.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) expressed optimism over what will be a split Congress, with the Senate remaining in Republican hands, even gaining a few seats.

“At a time of intense partisan polarization, candidates from both parties overwhelmingly expressed their support for Israel’s security and her efforts to reach peace with all of her neighbors,” AIPAC said in a statement.

“The 116th Congress will include many new members, as the American people elected over 90 new members of the House and Senate,” continued the organization. “Virtually all of the victors in this year’s election have issued position papers and statements reflecting their strong commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)

ZOA national president Morton Klein told JNS, “I’m thrilled that my friend, Congressman Eliot Engel, one of Israel’s strongest supporters, will be chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

“He is one of Congress’s most principled and courageous leaders, who fully understands the truth of the Arab-Islamic war against Israel and the West,” said Klein. “He spoke out about the dangers of the Oslo Accords and [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat’s violations of it from the very beginning in 1993.”

However, Klein expressed concern over the three pro-BDS candidates.

“I am very worried that several extremely anti-Israel people have won House seats in Minnesota, Michigan and New York— the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” he said. “They have condemned U.S. aid to Israel and have promoted the ugliest Palestinian propaganda lies against Israel, including Israel committing ‘massacres in Gaza.’ ”

National Council of Young Israel (NCSY) president Farley Weiss echoed Klein’s sentiment.

“I think support for Israel will remain strong,” he told JNS. “The concern we have is that some new Democrats are not favorable for Israel, and the hope is that they will be marginalized. The House Democratic leadership and heads of most committees should be supporters of Israel if they remain as expected.”

“A divided Congress should have no impact on the pro-Israel policies of the administration,” he added.

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