Former Sen. Joe Lieberman. (AP/Susan Walsh) (AP/Susan Walsh)
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman

The statement was a warning to the Biden Administration that it can ‘no longer count on pro-Israel Jewish voters’ in the Democratic Party if it turns against Israel.

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Former US Senator and Democratic Party vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman‘s last statement was a warning to Democrats about the political danger of turning against Israel.

Lieberman died on Wednesday after sustaining a fall.

Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, detailed the late senator’s concern in a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

“Hours before his fatal fall on Tuesday, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman put his final touches on a statement we were writing together about Israel, the 2024 election, and the future of the Democratic Party,” wrote Dershowitz, who, like Lieberman, was a strong supporter of the Jewish state.

Dershowitz explained the message was a “warning” to the re-election campaign of US President Joe Biden that it can “no longer count on pro-Israel Jewish voters” to vote for the Democratic Party if it turns against Israel.

“We are here to say that you can no longer simply count on our vote just because Jews traditionally have voted Democratic. We are here to say you must earn our vote,” the joint statement read

It continued: “We want to continue to support Democratic candidates, but you need to know that if you abandon Israel in order to garner the support of anti-Israel extremists within the Democratic Party, it will be difficult for us to support Democrats who are on the ballot this November.”

In the 2020 US presidential election, only 30 percent of Jews voted for former US President Donald Trump, a Republican, while 68 percent voted for Biden, a Democrat. Since 1968, an average of 71 percent of Jews have voted for the Democratic candidate in the presidential race.

“None of us can or will vote for any candidate who supports cutting military support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas. So please, do the right thing. Do not abandon Israel and its time of great need. And we will not abandon you,” the statement concluded.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 89 percent of American Jews believe Israel’s reasons for fighting the Hamas terror group in Gaza are valid. A December poll found that 81 percent of American Jews support Israel’s mission to “recover all Israeli hostages and remove Hamas from power.”

Lieberman and Dershowitz wrote that they “appreciated President Biden’s statements in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas barbarisms” but that “more recently … we have become concerned about what appears to be a weakening of support for Israel by President Biden, Vice President Harris, and some other leading Democrats.”

“We are especially concerned about the possibility that some of this weakening may be influenced by domestic political fears of losing electoral support from anti-Israel voters who have threatened to stay home unless the Biden administration pulls away from Israel,” the statement noted.

In Michigan, a key battleground state and home to America’s largest Arab population, a campaign to vote “uncommitted” during the state’s primary rather than for Biden gained significant support — including from US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). More than 100,000 people, making up more than 13 percent of the total voters, cast an “uncommitted” ballot. It was a small spike of uncommitted votes in terms of proportion relative to when former US President Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012, but a significant spike in terms of raw numbers.

There have been questions raised about whether an anti-Israel stance would actually help Biden’s re-election stance, though. A recent Morning Consult/Bloomberg poll of Michigan voters found that, while only 1 percent of respondents said the Israel-Hamas war was the most important issue to them, a striking 67 percent said the issue was either “very important” or “extremely important.”

Lieberman’s last statement “was intended to be circulated among prominent pro-Israel Democrats and sent to the White House in a public release,” according to Dershowitz. “Its goal was to make it clear that if domestic political considerations — the so-called two state solution, meaning Michigan and Minnesota — were influencing the administration’s change of attitude toward Israel, there would be a domestic political price to pay for such a change.”

Lieberman has long been a staunch supporter of Israel. When he ran for vice president on Al Gore’s ticket in 2000, he was the first Jew to be on a major party ticket in American history.

He also observed Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Although some questioned how he was able to cease all work on Friday nights and Saturday while also being a US senator, he responded, “I don’t think I could be a senator and not observe Shabbat.”

Lieberman was considered a moderate Democrat who aimed to work across the aisle.

“Joe’s tragic death won’t end his campaign to keep support for Israel a bipartisan issue,” Dershowitz wrote. “Joe believed in this to the depths of his being. And those of us who were working with him to send this message will continue this campaign in his memory.”

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