Such is the visceral disdain with which most Democrats hold President Trump that it has even scored a name: Trump Derangement Syndrome. We have long feared that given Trump’s extraordinary pro-Israel leanings and actions, traditional pro-Israel sentiment among Democrats would start to wane. Indeed, we thought we detected signs of this when the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives recently became unusually tolerant of some newly minted Democratic representatives’ outright slandering of the Jewish state.
And the growing influence of the leftist wing of the party, which goes out of its way to challenge the traditional bi-partisan support for Israel, has only added to our concerns. Of course, there is still strong and broad support for Israel within Democratic ranks. But how long will it last? Even traditional Democratic champions of Israel have taken to railing against the relocation of the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Even now the presidential contenders oppose U.S. support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan and parts of the West Bank. Surely, as the power of the left rises, more and more Democratic politicians will take due notice.
But what unnerves us at least as much is that the issue of Israel did not come up at all in the first two Democratic Party primary debates last week. Immigration did, health care did, as did other pet concerns of the left/progressives. But Israel, a topic that in the past all presidential contenders typically tried to milk, was not even mentioned. To be sure, the moderators may not have posed Israel-related questions. But this never stopped Democratic aspirants before. And there were several open-ended policy related questions that could easily have been seized upon to talk about support for Israel.
That none of the contenders were anxious to get on the record tells us that they did not think trumpeting support for Israel would be helpful to their campaigns and there is a Democratic party shift away from support for Israel. Already, several polls are showing that the Democratic Party membership is divided on Israel, even as the rest of the country favors Israel over the Palestinians.
It would be tragic if Trump’s unprecedented support for Israel would result in Israel becoming a partisan political issue.