According to the Times of Israel, a delegation of Senate US Democrats arrived in Israel on January 17, and asked not to meet with MK Ministers Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir or any members of their Otzma Yehudit party. The request was made by the office of Democrat Senator Jacky Rosen, to whom Haaretz refers as “pro-Israel.“ Yet in November 2021, Rosen visited the repressive, Muslim Brotherhood-supporting regime of Qatar. She had no problems meeting with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on her visit, despite the fact that he collaborated with the Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, as recently as 2021. Haniyeh thanked Al Thani “for his continuous support for Palestine and the Palestinian people.” Al Thani has also stressed at the UN that Israel must “end its occupation,” and advocated for full solidarity “with the brotherly Palestinian people in their aspiration to achieve justice.” Yet the cowardly Jacky Rosen met with Al Thani while refusing even to dialogue with members of the Otzma Yehudit party within the Netanyahu coalition.
Otzma Yehudit means Jewish strength or Jewish power. The party platform “calls for the annexation of the West Bank, and for complete Israeli rule between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.” This platform is in direct opposition to the Palestinian goal of obliterating Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, as often chanted in “free Palestine”rallies. After the manifest failure of the arrangements set forth in the Oslo Accords, the Otzma Yehudit platform should be applauded, not condemned by anyone who supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself from those who would destroy it.
Far too many media outlets continue to reference the Otzma Yehudit as “far right” and “extreme” instead of simply by its name, thus editorializing on every news story. Most of these same media outlets did not refer to the Ra’am Party, a member of Israel’s last governing coalition, as an “extremist party,” despite its support for releasing Palestinian jihadi prisoners. Ra’am also supports a return to the pre-1967 borders (aka “the borders of Auschwitz”) and the status quo in Jerusalem, which forbids Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, a policy that was only instituted in order to appease Muslims Arabs and stop the ongoing violence.
The visiting Senate Democrats have sent a dangerous message not only to Israel, but also to Israel’s foes who seek to drive the Jewish state out of existence. Israel is already completely erased on Palestinian Authority maps. Right before the turn of the new year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hailed a UN vote condemning Israel’s “occupation of Palestine,” ostensibly to send a message of solidarity with Palestinians (including its jihad “resistance”) in the face of the Zionist party becoming part of the new Netanyahu coalition. Then on January 10, in an outright lie, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee condemned what it referred to as “Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa,” and called for “mobilizing efforts to protect Al-Quds,” which amounted to a call to violence. The OIC was inspired by Iran, which went before the OIC to bemoan the alleged “desecration of Islamic sanctities” on the Temple Mount. The OIC’s Secretary General, Hissein Brahim Taha, agreed with Iran about “the defiling of al-Aqsa Mosque by the Zionists,” while Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al Sabah “welcomed Iran’s proposal and initiative that the OIC take action in concert to stop the sacrilegious acts of the Israeli regime that disrupt regional peace and stability.” Pakistan “also voiced concern over the continuation of the Zionist regime’s aggressive policies and condemned its moves to desecrate al-Aqsa Mosque. He added that the silence of world countries toward injustice in Palestine must end.”
Senate Democrats, whether intentionally or not, have joined the OIC and the UN to stoke animosity against Israel. Being complicit in strengthening a violent agenda against the state of Israel while blaming Otzma Yehudit is obscene. And while pro-Palestinians danced to the tune of Palestinian propaganda against Ben-Bvir for spending thirteen minutes on the Temple Mount and not actually violating the status quo, Palestinian violations of that same status quo are ignored. According to i24 News:
Until the mid-1990s, only the Al-Aqsa Mosque was open to the public for prayers. From that time on, the Waqf violated the status quo by beginning, against the advice of Israel, the development of the site known as “King Solomon’s Stables,” located to the southeast of the Esplanade, but about ten meters below ground. In the course of the development of these stables into a mosque, the Palestinians will engage in a dramatic ransacking of archaeological remains dating back to the Second Temple period. No one at the UN or UNESCO was offended by these violations.
It isn’t Otzma Yehudit that is provoking Palestinians, it is Palestinians who are provoked by the existence of Israel. The goal of obliterating Israel entirely remains in the PA National Charter. The ongoing hope of the Palestinian leadership has always been for Israel to adopt an appeasement strategy. The Palestinian leadership wants to stoke international rage against Israel while disseminating Palestinian victimhood propaganda. Now faced with a strong Zionist party within the Netanyahu coalition, the Palestinian agenda is threatened, unleashing antisemitic rage on all sides, as well as fear among those who support an appeasement strategy.
Israel now has a government that will not bend to Palestinian intimidation and propaganda. The Senate Democrats point to past “offensive” remarks from the Otzma Yehudit camp, but any “offensive” remarks pale by comparison to the jihad against Israel. Meanwhile, the recent emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, “called by the United Arab Emirates (and the Palestinians) to protest the rise of Israel’s new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir,” ended with everyone angry. “The Biden administration, despite its opposition to the Jewish Power leader’s move, threatened to veto any anti-Israel resolution.”
This move was contrary to the Senate Democrats who are now boycotting the Otzma Yehudit segment of Netanyahu’s coalition. So far, the White House has avoided such boycotts, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating that the US would be judging Otzma Yehudit “by its policies rather than its personalities.” Others have stated that “their main interlocutor in Jerusalem will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and they will be holding him directly responsible” for his coalition’s actions.
The agenda being pushed by Senate Democrats should be widely called out for political interference in the affairs of a sovereign nation, and for exacerbating tensions.