Eighty-eight U.S. senators, including dozens of democrats, signed a letter asking Obama to veto “one-sided” UN resolutions, The Times of Israel reports:
On the eve of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in New York Tuesday, 88 US senators penned a letter to the commander-in-chief urging him to uphold for the duration of his term the US policy of opposing “one-sided” United Nations resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and vetoing them where necessary.
In their missive commended by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Monday, the senators say that while they are disappointed that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are stalled, the only way to resolve the conflict is through “direct negotiations that lead to a sustainable two-state solution,” echoing a stance held by Netanyahu himself.
The letter was initiated by Michael Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, and New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat.
Par for the course, right? Yes, but given all the speculation that the Democratic Party might be turning against Israel, no news is, in this case, news. Bernie Sanders may have stepped somewhat outside the bounds of the usual Democratic Israel conversation (and he notably did not sign this letter), but the Democrats’ position still looks much as it has for the past several decades: Advocate two states, with the U.S. playing a key mediating role, and firmly defend Israel against international criticism. It’s not just the usual old timers in the Democratic Party hewing to this line; “future of the Party” senators like Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and leftwing darling Elizabeth Warren are signatories too.
The Republican Party, meanwhile, continues to be as pro-Israel as ever, fears about some of Donald Trump’s statements notwithstanding.
This pro-Israel consensus exists for a very simple reason: it’s popular. Fifty-four percent of Americans say they support Israel more than they support the Palestinians—even in the Democratic Party, only 19 percent say the opposite. Moreover, signing a letter calling for using the veto pen in the United Nations is essentially a symbolic gesture. With the pro-Israel lobby both popular and well-organized, and the pro-Palestinian lobby unpopular and poorly organized, signing AIPAC’s letters is a no-brainer for most senators. It requires no more of them than some ink and a quick wrist movement, and it instantly wins them popular approval.