IN MAY 2018, Ivanka Trump celebrated the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem against the backdrop of Israeli troops gunning down 60 Palestinians in Gaza.
In some quarters of the Democratic Party, the killings were sharply condemned. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called the shootings a “horrific slaughter” and added, “We are witnessing the use of unabated brutality and force against civilians to stifle civil unrest.”
Other Democrats, however, reacted much differently.
Among them was Rep. Eliot Engel, a 30-year member of Congress from New York. He applauded President Donald Trump’s move to break with decades of U.S. policy and effectively recognize full Israeli control of Jerusalem, a city whose Palestinian eastern half is under military occupation.
“This move is long overdue,” Engel said in a statement, “and I look forward to visiting.” He did not mention the scores of Palestinians slain by Israeli soldiers on the same day as the embassy opening.
The statement, in its praise for Israel and lack of concern for Palestinian human rights, was classic Engel rhetoric.
Engel, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is one of the most pro-Israel hawks in the House of Representatives. His alignment with the right-wing on Israel is increasingly out of step with a Democratic base that is younger, more diverse, and more willing to call out Israel for its violations of international law. U.S. military aid to Israel is no longer being accepted without question.
A Center for American Progress poll released this year found that 71 percent of Democrats support conditioning aid to Israel if the Jewish state continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land. A Data for Progress poll found something similar: Sixty-four percent of Democrats support reducing aid to Israel over human rights abuses.