Hakeem Jeffries’ likely elevation set to please US pro-Israel groups

1 month ago 20

Hakeem Jeffries mightiness beryllium astir to marque past but immoderate critics fearfulness that connected 1 issue, astatine least, helium volition beryllium connected the incorrect broadside of it.

The progressive New York congressman wide expected to pb the Democrats successful the US House of Representatives volition beryllium the archetypal idiosyncratic of colour to caput either enactment successful the chamber. Jeffries’ predetermination arsenic House number person successful the caller Congress successful January would besides spot the baton walk to a caller procreation of Democratic leaders arsenic the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, 82, steps aside.

The alteration volition beryllium a profound 1 but, for some, it volition lone spell truthful far.

The imaginable of Jeffries heading the Democrats successful the House has been greeted with delight by hardline pro-Israel groups progressively alarmed astatine a increasing dissent successful Congress implicit Israeli attraction of the Palestinians, including large-scale forced removals of Arabs from their homes, which is lone apt to intensify arsenic the Israeli far-right gains power.

The erstwhile Democratic congressman Robert Wexler told Jewish Insider that “the pro-Israel campy needs idiosyncratic conscionable similar Hakeem to pb america into the future”.

“In fact, I would say, if the pro-Israel assemblage wanted to make a Democratic person for the future, we would make Hakeem Jeffries,” helium said.

“Hakeem is not conscionable funny successful these issues. He’s devoted to them. He’s respectful of the American Jewish community. He identifies with it. And he’s conscionable a truly bully feline connected apical of it.”

Others who support Israeli policies person praised Jeffries successful likewise lavish terms. The congressman has been conscionable arsenic effusive successful speaking astir Israel.

In 2020, Jeffries told a league of the US’s largest and astir almighty pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), that “back location successful New York City we see Jerusalem to beryllium the sixth borough”.

“The narration is anchored successful values,” helium told the meeting.

But arsenic Jeffries takes implicit the Democratic House enactment helium is apt to find the assertion of communal values progressively tested by far-right ministers successful the caller Israeli authorities and challenged by critics of its policies successful his ain caucus.

Among those expected to beryllium person a almighty power implicit the adjacent Israeli authorities is the person of the Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was progressive successful the anti-Arab Kach enactment until it was banned arsenic a violent organisation aft 1 of its followers, Baruch Goldstein, murdered 29 Palestinians successful Hebron successful 1994. Ben-Gvir utilized to hang a portrait of Goldstein successful his surviving room.

Ben-Gvir, similar Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to go premier curate again, is opposed to the instauration of an autarkic Palestinian state. Jeffries supports “a self-governed and demilitarized Palestinian state”.

With Ben-Gvir expected to beryllium appointed nationalist information curate successful Netanyahu’s caller government, portion advocating the expulsion of Arabs deemed to beryllium disloyal to the Jewish state, the unit wrong the Democratic caucus to guarantee that Israel lives up to the antiauthoritarian values Jeffries praises is lone apt to grow.

Jeffries opposed a bill introduced last twelvemonth by different enactment member, Betty McCollum, to guarantee that the astir $4bn successful yearly American subject aid to Israel is not utilized to illegally annex Palestinian land, to demolish Arab homes and forcibly region Palestinians, oregon to detain children successful Israel’s labyrinthian subject judicial system.

Earlier this year, 15 Democratic members of Congress urged the Biden medication to intervene implicit the largest forcible removal of Palestinians successful the occupied West Bank by the Israeli subject successful decades, successful what has been called a warfare transgression by Human Rights Watch.

Jeffries told Aipac that assistance should proceed with “no conditions”. He signed a missive drawn up by Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch opposing “reducing backing oregon adding conditions connected information assistance”. The missive was signed by much than 300 members of Congress, boosted by an Aipac lobbying campaign.

Pressure has besides grown successful Congress for a due accounting by Israel implicit the sidesplitting of the Palestinian American writer Shireen Abu Akleh successful May.

Dylan Williams, the elder vice-president of argumentation and strategy astatine the Washington-based run radical J Street, which describes itself arsenic “pro-Israel and pro-peace”, has said the demands for justness for Abu Akleh bespeak broader concerns wrong Congress arsenic Israeli killings of Palestinians person escalated portion Jewish settlers successful the West Bank appear to person been fixed escaped rein astatine times to onslaught Palestinians and take over their land.

“Members of Congress look progressively frustrated that these types of disturbing actions from Israeli forces proceed to instrumentality place, without facing meaningful pushback oregon accountability from our government,” helium said.

“There’s increasing momentum to marque wide that Israel indispensable beryllium held to the aforesaid important standards arsenic each adjacent US allies, and that our steadfast enactment for Israel’s information does not and should not preclude our authorities from besides lasting up successful defence of quality rights and planetary instrumentality successful the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Jeffries maintains adjacent ties to Aipac and different hardline pro-Israel lobby groups. One of them, Pro-Israel America, was his largest azygous donor implicit the past year, giving his run much than $213,000. Pro-Israel groups gave him $460,000 successful total, 2nd lone to donations from the fiscal industry.

Critics person said that Jeffries’ statements connected Israel often work similar lobby talking points. Earlier this year, the congressman rejected reports by Israeli and planetary quality rights groups that Israel practices a signifier of apartheid against the Palestinians. He said the assertion is “designed to isolate Israel successful 1 of the toughest neighborhoods successful the world”.

During a sojourn to Israel and the occupied territories earlier this year, Jeffries confronted the Palestinian premier curate Mohammad Shtayyeh for raising the apartheid parallel, successful effect telling him however the Palestinians are permitted to picture their ain oppression.

However, Jeffries broke with the pro-Israel lobby and galore of his Jewish constituents successful supporting President Obama’s 2015 atomic woody with Iran. Aipac lobbied heavy against it aft Israel opposed the agreement, which was intended to forestall Tehran from processing atomic weapons.