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January 29, 2019 3:06 pm

Democrats Launch Fresh Initiative to Stop Trend of Growing Partisanship Surrounding US-Israel Ties

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avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

The US and Israeli flags. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

Amid rising concerns over the growing partisanship surrounding US-Israel ties, a number of well-known Democrats launched a fresh initiative on Monday aimed at dealing with the troubling trend.

Building on the “long and strong track record of support for Israel” by Democrats, the goal of the newly-established Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) was to “strengthen the pro-Israel tradition of the Democratic Party, fight for Democratic values and work within the progressive movement to advance policies that ensure a strong US-Israel relationship,” the organization’s leader, longtime political pollster and strategist Mark Mellman, said in a statement.

The co-chairs of the group are recognizable Democratic figures Ann Lewis and Todd Richman.

The DMFI noted it would “focus its education and advocacy efforts first around the 2020 presidential and congressional elections.”

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“The organization will engage with grassroots activists, elected officials and Democratic candidates who promote progressive values to advocate for continued support of a strong US-Israel alliance based on shared values and shared interests,” it added.

The establishment of the DMFI was welcomed by a number of top Democratic politicians, including House Majority leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who said, “Democrats understand a strong US-Israel relationship is vital for our country and a key element of our party’s agenda. Knowing the leadership of Democratic Majority for Israel, I’m confident they will play a central role in ensuring our party remains steadfast in its support for our ally and fellow democracy, Israel.”

The executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), Halie Soifer, said her organization looked “forward to working with DMFI to elect Democrats in 2020.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, the head of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), Matt Brooks, tweeted, “This may not help them, but I strongly endorse this. It’s a much needed (and long overdue) effort to end the anti-Israel shift in the Democratic Party.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner this week, Malcolm Hoenlein — the executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — expressed concern about a small number of legislators on the extreme left of the Democratic Party.

“I think there has to be a real leadership message that just like Congressman Steve King’s comments [about white supremacy] were not tolerated by the Republicans, speech against Israel and the Jews must not be tolerated by the Democrats,” he said.

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