‘Israel first, then America’! - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

‘Israel first, then America’!

One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s main presidential campaign slogans in 2016 was “America first.” Yet, Trump’s presidency followed a course more along the lines of “Israel first, then America.” However, the “Israeli lobby’s” influence on the U.S. Congress stands out more profoundly compared to past terms. Along with their influence on the Young Democrats’ party base and increased numbers in congress, the two-party Israel support is unraveling. This is because the association of the U.S.’s Middle East policy with Israeli interests has now reached a disturbing extent. Reference to Israel’s interests in every matter ranging from the U.S.’s withdrawal from the “Iran Nuclear Deal” to U.S. troops pulling out of Syria is starting to get old.

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a draft resolution to cease military support to Saudi Arabia for the civil war in Yemen.

The draft resolution that was approved with 247 votes in the House of Representatives, in which Democrats have the majority, received the “yes” vote from 16 Republicans as well. A similar draft had been approved in the Senate in March. The “lobby” again took action to prevent the draft from being approved. The lobby argues that Israel will be harmed if the U.S. withdraws its support from the Saudis in Yemen. Hence, pro-Israel Republicans made an initiative to add to the draft a change that includes a sanction on companies that support the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement known as the “Initiative to Boycott Israel for Palestine.”

Pro-Israel Democrats were infuriated by the initiative. Democrat deputies stated that BDS and Yemen needed to be discussed separately, and accused Republicans of political deceit. In response, the Republicans tried to pressure the Democrats with the claim that they are “anti-Jew.” Democrat deputy Ilhan Omar was declared “anti-Jew” for criticizing the “Israeli lobby.” The provocation was successful; Patrick W. Carlineo, who made death threats to Omar, was detained in New York. Carlineo, who was reported to have said that he is a pro-Trump patriot in the investigation by the FBI, is expected to appear in court on Apr. 10.

Republicans who accuse Democrats of drifting toward an “anti-Jew” position want to draw liberal Jewish voters on their side in the 2020 elections. The “BDS”-related voting ended in a fiasco. Had the “BDS change” been added, the “Yemen draft” was going to go to the Senate. Their aim was to kill the draft in the Senate before it reached Trump.

One of the leaders of the initiative to add the clause against the BDS in the Yemen draft is the House of Representatives’ most senior Republican member, Michael McCaul. According to McCaul, who is known to have close relations with the “Israeli lobby,” the Yemen draft was a “pro-Iran and Houthi” draft. Stating that he is pro-Israel and strongly against the BDS, House Majority leader Steny Hoyer accused Republicans of using Israel in a “partisan” manner.

These days, the topic of discussion in U.S. media is that a nuclear reactor in Saudi Arabia is in the final stage. The Israeli lobby has objected to the Trump administration allowing Saudis the transfer of nuclear technology. Pro-Israel senators, primarily Marco Rubio, has demanded the investigation of nuclear support to Saudis. Israel does not want Saudis to have access to nuclear technology even on the grounds of Iran. Republicans that advocate U.S. support to Saudis in Yemen are also against the Saudi reactor on the basis of Israel’s security.

Americans are questioning the fact that the U.S.’s Middle East policy is being used for to Israel’s advantage. Young Americans are starting to get sick and tired with the reference to Israel’s security in every single matter. Young Democrats are also working on a restriction to political donation amounts to prevent Congress members from being manipulated. Meanwhile, some Democrats who announced their presidential candidacy in 2020 have already declared that they will not be accepting donations received through companies.


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