Corey Booker, a rumored 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, posed with a sign that reads “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” a slogan developed by a group promoting BDS.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was seen posing with a sign featured by a pro-BDS Palestinian group.
Booker, a rumored 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, is seen holding a sign that reads “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” a slogan developed by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
According to the watchdog group NGO Monitor, “USCPR is a national coalition of hundreds of groups working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in U.S. policy, and is a leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS campaigns.”
USCPR posted the picture of Booker on its Twitter page on Friday.
“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,” the tweet said.
Booker, who represents a state with one of the largest Jewish communities in America, has long fostered ties with the Jewish community, and is noted for his study of Jewish texts during his time at Oxford University. However, he has drawn the ire of some within the pro-Israel community in recent years for his support of the Iranian nuclear deal.
Supporters of the anti-Israel BDS campaign describe it as a movement to secure justice for Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. Critics say it denies the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and aims to undermine Israel’s continued existence.
Democrats Lurching to the Left
Many worry that the leftward shift among Democrats in their opposition to President Donald Trump during this election season may bring the party closer towards the anti-Israel views found on the party’s far-left, as exemplified by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
One of the biggest surprises so far in the primary season was the upset victory by Democratic Socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over incumbent New York City Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in a party primary in June.
Shortly after her surprising primary victory, Ocasio-Cortez was criticized for a tweet that said Israel was committing a “massacre” in Gaza, in reference to the deaths of more than 60 Palestinian rioters massed along the Israel-Gaza on May 14, most of whom were later acknowledged to be members of Hamas.
In July, Ocasio-Cortez again drew criticism in an interview with PBS’s “Firing Line” when she said, “I also think that what people are starting to see—at least in the occupation of Palestine—is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian condition and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.”
When pressed to expand on her comments, she explained how “Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes. Oh, I think—what I meant is that the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes … ”
And then when asked again to clarify, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that she was not familiar with the facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I am not the expert at geopolitics on this issue,” she said with a laugh. “I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these—for me, I just look at things through a human-rights lens, and I may not use the right words. I know this is a very intense issue.”
While Ocasio-Cortez has drawn much of the attention, other Democratic candidates, such as Ilhan Omar, Leslie Cockburn and Scott Wallace, have also been criticized for their anti-Israel views or ties to pro-BDS groups.
Omar, a Minnesota state representative who is vying to replace Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)—himself a vocal critic of Israel during his tenure in the House and who has been tied to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan—has previously accused Israel of “evil doings” in the Gaza Strip, calling it an “apartheid state.”
Similarly, Cockburn, the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s fifth congressional district, wrote a book back into the early 1990s titled Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship that has been panned for peddling conspiracies theories and smears that depict Israel as manipulating US foreign policy. The New York Times noted in its review of the book at the time that it was dedicated to “Israel bashing for its own sake,” and that its message was that Israelis “are a menace” who are responsible for “everything that ails us.”
For his part, Wallace, a multimillionaire philanthropist and Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s first congressional district, was exposed for his family foundation’s donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that promote the BDS movement, including Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace, according to a report by The Forward.
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