Despite appearances, former senior national security official Elliott Abrams warns that Democrats — and American Jews — are moving away from Israel.
US President Donald Trump has steadfastly backed Israel at the UN, moved the embassy to Jerusalem and withdrawn from the Iranian nuclear deal.
As a result, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised him effusively.
But this, according to Netanyahu critics on the Left both in Israel and the US, is a mistake. They argue that Trump will not be there forever – in fact, he could be turned out of office in just over two years’ time – and that Netanyahu’s embrace of a deeply divisive Republican president will hurt Israel if a Democratic president comes next in line.
But Elliott Abrams, who held senior positions in the White House’s National Security Council under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, thinks otherwise.
“You have a party in the United States that is wildly pro-Israel,” Abrams said of the Republican Party. “It would be the sin of ingratitude not to show appreciation. And it is not just Trump, it is the Republicans.”
Abrams, in the country to deliver the keynote address last Tuesday night at the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage, said that his message to Netanyahu would not be to “step back from Trump.”
Rather, he said during an interview in the lobby of the King David Hotel, his message is to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Zionist Union head Avi Gabbay, and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog: “You should embrace the Democratic Party; that is your job. The Republicans do not need to be told to be pro-Israel; the Democrats do. Why don’t you do that?”
Abrams, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, said that there are pro-Israel stalwarts in the Democratic Party, people like California’s Nancy Pelosi, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, and New York’s Chuck Schumer.
The problem, he said, is that they are all in their sixties and seventies, and there is not an equally ardent pro-Israel cadre among the marquee Democratic names in their thirties and forties.
Read more at The Jerusalem Post