Israel will not be unhappy if the Democrats win – The Daily Star

Posted By on September 2, 2020

Israel will undoubtedly enthusiastically welcome and celebrate the occasion if Donald Trump wins the US presidential elections. No other US president has done so much for the Zionist state since Harry S Truman. Truman was the first world leader to officially recognise Israel as a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, only 11 minutes after its emergence.

It may be mentioned that Truman was a Democrat and recognised Israel despite his internationally famous foreign secretary George Marshall recommending not to do so at the time. He opined that the Jewish state would create more conflicts in an already tumultuous region. He was proved right. However, Washington and its allies calculatedly preferred a troubled region so that they could maintain and expand their economic and strategic interests. It is important to note that the creation of Israel was an outcome of the Jewish opposition to Turkish involvement in the First World War against the British and its allies.

It has been described in the US archives, which states "In 1917 Chaim Weizmann, scientist, statesperson and Zionist, persuaded the British government to issue a statement favouring the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The statement, which became known as the Balfour Declaration, was, in part, payment to the Jews for their support of the British against the Turks during World War I. After the war, the League of Nations ratified the declaration and in 1922 appointed Britain to rule Palestine."

Those who are aware of the political history know very well that previously, the Democrats were more pro-Israeli than the Republicans. After the mid-sixties, the equation began to change. Now, the Republicans are considered more pro-Israeli, and since Donald Trump came to power, there have been no limits to this support. Trump has given them almost unlimited blank cheques. Besides, Israel has got Kushner, the son-in-law of the president, who directly looks after the interests of the Zionist state. Kushner, both by faith and deed, is a Zionist. Hence, it is natural that Israel will prefer to see Trump and Pence in the White House for another four years. But will they be too unhappy if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris come to power instead? Definitely not.

First, we may come to Biden's standpoints. Even before he had secured his nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, as early as April 2020, he categorically declared that if elected, he would not put pressure on Israel to move its capital back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. When Israel and UAE signed an agreement where the Emirates officially established relations with the Zionist state, Biden almost immediately welcomed it.

It seems the Democrats are happy that the Republicans, headed by Donald Trump, are making some unpleasant decisions that they tacitly support but could not take themselves because of diplomatic considerations. In other words, it demonstrates their opportunism in this regard. After the primaries, when it was clear that Joe Biden was going to be the nominee, the powerful pro-Israel US news outlet The Hill categorically wrote on July 29 that "Joe Biden is the candidate for Israel."

Then came the question of picking his running mate. Selecting Kamala Harris was an intelligent strategy on the part of Joe Bidena multi-dimensional "checkmate", if you will. Demands were made from different quarters to nominate an African-American woman for the second most important post of the administration. Harris is an African-American from her paternal side, but she is also an Indian-American and thereby an Asian-American, from her maternal side. There is a big Indian community in the US, most of whom are expected to vote for Kamala Harris.

Sensing the danger, the Trump camp has started using Trump-Modi posters in his election campaign. However, another very significant factor here is Kamala's Jewish connection. She is married to attorney Douglas Ehmhoff, who is Jewish by faith. After Joe Biden's formal announcement of his running mate, The Times of Israel wrote "In Harris, Biden chooses a traditionally pro-Israel Dem as his veep candidate." Similar statements have been seen in other Israeli media too.

Some observers have pointed out that Kamala Harris has expressed her support for the Kashmiri peoples' right to self-determination and has even spoken for the basic human rights of Palestinians, which caused concern in New Delhi and Tel Aviv (Jerusalem). But these are, at best, moral posturing. Even Trump has spoken for the Palestinian state! At the end of the day when crucial decisions are to be made, experts believe that the Biden-Kamala pair, if elected, will stand by Israel and India.

There is no doubt that Kamala, by her own individual merits, qualifies for the job more than many other aspirants. She is the daughter of two highly educated parents, both of them PhD holders. She herself is an excellent lawyer who served as the elected Attorney General of California. She made her mark on different aspects of the law, such as the death penalty, LGBT rights, environmental protection laws, sex crimes and immigrants' rights. In 2016, she was elected to the US Senate, securing around 60 percent of the vote. She has brilliant debating skills with to-the-point and thought-provoking deliberations. Many Democrats consider her to be an asset.

But in addition to these factors, Biden found an extra treasure in her which is considered vital for his election winning calculations. This is her Jewish connection. Securing the African-American vote is not enough. Without Jewish endorsement, it is almost impossible to win the US presidential elections. Hence, both the Republicans and the Democrats want their endorsement, or at least, want no opposition. In the context of Trump's blank cheque to Israel, Biden had to select a running mate who would be looked upon favourably by the Jewish lobby.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of the strongest lobby groups in US politics, and Eric Cortellessa from The Times of Israel wrote on August 12 that Kamala Harris has a close relationship with AIPAC. Last year, she had a private meeting with AIPAC leaders and tweeted "Great to meet today in my office with California AIPAC leaders to discuss the need for a strong US-Israel alliance, the right of Israel to defend itself, and my commitment to combat antisemitism in our country and around the world." In November 2017, she visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In April 2019, the senator's then campaign communications director Lily Adams said that her "support for Israel is central to who she is." So in Kamala Harris, Israel can feel some sense of comfort.

At present, Israel prefers the Republican Trump-Pence pair. However, they do not plan to alienate the Democrats and the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris combination. Israel do not keep all their eggs in a single basket. They know that the election results can go either way. Whoever wins, Israel will gleefully tell the Palestinians "Heads we win, tails you lose this time too."

Anisur Rahman is a senior Bangladeshi journalist now living in Sweden.

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Israel will not be unhappy if the Democrats win - The Daily Star

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