Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sen. Booker's Romance with the Anti-Israel Fringe - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

A dark pattern emerges.

The anti-Semitic U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) promotes the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel and, in that connection, has reportedly funneled donations to a Palestinian group with ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Nevertheless, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), one of several Democrat senators contemplating a presidential run in 2020, made the obligatory appearance at the radical Left Netroots Nation’s 2018 conference last week where he managed to provide some cover for USCPR. Senator Booker did so when he smilingly appeared in a photo holding up a sign that declared, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.” The senator posed for the photo standing right next to Leah Muskin-Pierret, who heads government affairs for USCPR and was wearing a shirt that said, "Palestine is a feminist/queer/refugee/racial justice issue." USCPR proudly posted the photo online, tweeting “Excited to be here at Netroots Nation talking with progressives like Sen. Cory Booker about our shared commitment to freedom, justice, and equality for all people. #NN18.”
Senator Booker’s office wants us to believe that the aspiring presidential candidate “didn’t have time to read the sign, and from his cursory glance he thought it was talking about Mexico and didn’t realize it had anything to do with Israel." The embarrassing photo was spun as just a big misunderstanding, even though Senator Booker himself does not appear to have personally apologized as of yet. The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Senator Booker to clarify his position on the BDS movement. “Like so many other Americans, we were shocked to see Senator Booker in a photo holding a sign that equated the wall between the U.S. and Mexico to the barrier Israel constructed, which has successfully halted suicide bombers from wreaking more havoc on Israeli citizens,” the Center stated. “We understand that the senator does not fully grasp what the sign said, but he is a leading American political figure who has been touted as a future President of our nation. Therefore, The Simon Wiesenthal Center respectfully asks Senator Booker to clarify his stance on the anti-Israel BDS campaigns and on the anti-terrorist barriers that Israel has constructed.”
Senator Booker could start making amends by publicly announcing that he will now finally co-sponsor the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which several other Democrats have co-sponsored, including his fellow senator from New Jersey, Bob Menendez.
Whether Senator Booker had time to carefully read the particular sign he was holding or not, the question is why he would ever have agreed in the first place to pose in a group photo alongside members of an organization whose raison d'être is the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel. After all, Senator Booker has been a supporter of Israel in the past. The reason lies in how Palestinian activists have managed to co-opt the language of the Left and thereby link themselves with the Left's overall social justice agenda. This language, which has become de riguerur for any Democrat seeking the support of progressives in the upcoming presidential primaries to regurgitate, is all about “righting” the terrible “wrongs” committed by Western society against the “oppressed victims” in the world. The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights proudly promotes the Palestinian victimhood myth that seeks to equate the Palestinians with every so-called “oppressed” group in the United States and elsewhere. It is a narrative of victimhood at the hands of an imaginary “neo-colonialist” American-Zionist cabal that the Left cannot resist trumpeting. This narrative has spread from campuses to left-wing media and forums such as Netroots Nation’s 2018 where Democrat politicians such as Senator Booker seek to ingratiate themselves to their progressive patrons.
Senator Booker did not suddenly decide to distance himself from Israel in 2018. He supported President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran back in 2015, irrespective of its fundamental flaws that posed serious dangers to American as well as Israeli security. The senator invited Ahmed Shedeed, president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, to be his guest at Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in 2016. Senator Booker praised Shedeed, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and a fierce critic of Israel, as an exemplar of “how the diversity of America makes us all better.” 
Senator Booker demonstrated his solidarity with the Palestinian cause last year when he supported an anti-settlement amendment to a bill condemning the United Nations Security Council for its infamous anti-Israel Resolution 2334. In August 2017, Senator Booker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposed a bill, known as the Taylor Force Act, aimed at cutting U.S. aid to Palestinians until the Palestinian Authority and PLO stop paying Palestinian prisoners serving sentences for terrorism in Israeli prisons, as well as the families of deceased terrorists.  Senator Booker was one of only four out of ten Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote against the bill, which passed the committee by a vote of 17-4. He said he opposed the legislation because he feared unintended adverse “humanitarian” consequences. Tell that to the terrorists' victims or to the families of those murdered by the Palestinian terrorists. The Taylor Force Act eventually became law as part of the omnibus spending legislation passed in March of this year. Senator Booker voted against the omnibus spending legislation as well. 
Senator Booker opposed President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He also opposed confirming David Friedman to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Israel. The senator’s complaint was that Mr. Friedman had used some harsh rhetoric in the past against critics of Israel, for which Mr. Friedman has since apologized. As Rabbi Shmuley Boteach pointed out in his article in the Jerusalem Post, at the very least Senator Booker should have been as vehement in criticizing “the Iranian regime that has pledged death both to America and its foremost ally, Israel” as he was in criticizing David Friedman.
The Left’s philosophy is based on dividing the world into what John Fonte once called the “oppressor vs. victim groups.” Whether it is fighting against “white privilege,” “Islamophobia,” capitalists’ “exploitation” of the “down-trodden,” enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws against illegal immigrants crossing into our country, or Israel's so-called “oppression” of Palestinians in “occupied Palestine,” the paradigm of the “evil” oppressor versus the “virtuous” victim is always the same. There are no shades of gray in the Left’s world-view. It has embraced the Palestinian cause as akin to the "righteous" causes of all other "oppressed" groups. No wonder the anti-Semitic U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ head of government affairs wore the shirt with the slogan "Palestine is a feminist/queer/refugee/racial justice issue" at the same Netroots Nation’s 2018 conference attended by Senator Booker and other Democrat politicians. The fact that Senator Booker would in any way associate himself with such nonsense speaks volumes of how the Left and its allies are tightening their grip over the Democratic Party’s agenda as the presidential election of 2020 approaches.
Joseph Klein


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