Israel’s stronghold in Washington

Posted: June 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Politico’s Ben Smith has an interesting story on what seems to be a growing concern amongst the House Democrats due to Obama’s pressure on Israel.

… even a key defender of Obama’s Mideast policy, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), is seeking to narrow the administration’s definition of “settlement” to take pressure off Obama. And the unusual criticism by congressional Democrats of the popular president is a sign that it may take more than a transformative presidential election to change the domestic politics of Israel.

This was kind of expected. The House was always Israel’s stronghold in Washington. After it decided in the 90′s to move the American embassy to Jerusalem – against the will of the WH, and even the Israeli government! – pundits used to joke that the House is more Zionist than the Knesset (all foreign embassies in Israel sit in Tel Aviv, because Jerusalem’s international statues was never resolved).

One should also note that two of the Representatives criticizing the president in the Politico article come from New York, what probably makes them super-sensitive to the concern of the Jewish community there.

The bottom line is that unlike on economic issues, the House is not that central in shaping foreign policy. And the American embassy, I should note, is still in Tel Aviv.