Democratic presidential candidates have been carefully skirting foreign policy issues, especially the Mideast, something that became more noticeable during the recent flareup with Gaza terrorists.
Of the 21 Democrats running for president, only four have spoken out about events in Israel this week, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Three of them, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, sided with Israel and called for an end to rocket fire, while former Alaskan Sen. Mike Gravel backed the Palestinians.
By contrast, President Donald Trump was characteristically pro-Israel:
“Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” Trump said on Twitter. “We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens. To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace — it can happen!”
But the majority of Democratic candidates preferred to continue pounding the president rather than condemning Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The generally pro-Israel Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who attended an American Israel Public Affairs Committee event in Boston, avoided the issue.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a consistent critic of Israeli policy, called for a more evenhanded U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a town hall in Perry, Iowa a day before rockets started flying out of Gaza into southern Israel. But Sanders has been quiet about Gaza since then.
Hickenlooper, on the other hand, while urging restraint from “all parties,” said “the random rocket fire by Hamas into Israel must stop. My heart goes out to the families of the Israelis killed, and those wounded in these grievous attacks. I call on all parties to show restraint and de-escalate this situation immediately.”
Booker told CBS News: “We support Israel’s right to defend itself, full stop. You have a terrorist organization that actually suppresses its own people, conducts acts of violence and human rights violations against people who live in Gaza. And so Israel has a right to defend itself and it should do that.”
Gravel the only one to take an extreme anti-Israel position, called for dismantling the state of Israel. “The bloodshed in Palestine and Israel will not cease until the fundamentally unjust existing structure is jettisoned,” he said on Twitter, accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”