‘Focus on the word solution … ‘
(Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald) Even as Democrat congressional leaders Sen. Charles Schumer, N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Calif., told a pro-Israeli gathering in Florida that it was urgent to gin-up greater U.S. support for the embattled nation, Pelosi received jeers for endorsing the idea of Israel ceding territory to its greatest adversary, the Palestinians.
The pair’s message Sunday at the annual national conference of the Israeli-American Council generally went over well with the crowd, but Pelosi momentarily hit the rocks when she spoke favorably of the so-called two-state solution—that is, the creation of a Palestinian nation alongside Israel—for the Middle East’s troubles.
Jeers and shouts of “No way!” erupted from the audience. “Focus on the word solution,” pled the seeming surprised Pelosi, and the protests quickly died out.
Pelosi and Schumer were the highlight Sunday as the conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, attended by more than 3,000 Israel supporters, wrapped up its four-day run. Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis addressed the conference on Friday.
Schumer, alluding perhaps to a wave of anti-Semitic sentiment on liberal-leaning college campuses, said enthusiasm for U.S. support of Israel is dying out among young Americans and the two countries must employ a high-powered educational campaign to restore it.
“We need a campaign aimed particularly at the young, using the media they care about and the language they use,” Schumer said, to convince them that “Israel’s very existence is still precarious.”
Both Pelosi and Schumer agreed these are worrisome times for the U.S.–Israeli alliance, threatened by what they described as a rise in anti-Semitism combining with a general lack of awareness of how the relationship between the two countries benefits America.
Schumer described Israel as “a mighty aircraft carrier” in service of U.S. interests in the Middle East. “Israel does the job so American soldiers and sailors don’t have to be there,” he said. “Israel does more to help against terrorism than any other place.”
Added Pelosi: “It is in our national security interest” to support Israel. “It’s about security. It’s about values.”
The atmosphere grew more sober as Schumer described what he called a historic tendency toward anti-Semitism once again on the rise in Europe.
“The poison of Europe, for millennia, has been anti-Semitism,” Schumer said. “You go to Europe, even places like France and Spain, Jewish people are afraid to live there.”
In the U.S., the wave of anti-Semitism has surfaced in the media—where CNN recently fired Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill as a commentator after he echoed terrorist organization Hamas’ call to “free Palestine from the river [Jordan] to the [Mediterranean] sea” generally understood to mean the destruction of the Israeli state.
Pelosi’s House of Representatives also faces new tests with the election of two Islamic, anti-Israeli congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, Mich., who have unabashedly continued to defend their anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Meanwhile, many left-wing organizations, including the Women’s March, were divided over whether to condemn the harsh anti-Semitic comments of Nation of Islam black-supremacist mouthpiece Louis Farrakhan.
“Our faith tells us that we have not done enough to rid our nation of the poisonous attitudes that we are witnessing now,” Pelosi told the audience.
(c)2018 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.