Wednesday’s pro-Palestine rally in Portland’s Monument Sq. that led to rebukes from big-name Maine politicians was an instance of a long-term development of diminishing sympathy towards Israel on the American left.
That is one thing that has been measured in polling over the past decade or so. For the primary time, Gallup discovered this 12 months that Democrats sympathized extra with Palestine than they do with Israel within the long-term Center East battle, bucking the U.S. international coverage establishment.
The context: Divides between President Joe Biden and progressives illustrate this on the heels of Hamas’ brutal weekend invasion of Israel. The president defended Israel in a Tuesday speech, whereas some on his left “sought a extra nuanced description of the escalating battle,” as CNN put it, together with a deal with Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
That’s what Maine noticed on Wednesday. Tons of attended a pro-Israel rally at a synagogue in Portland concurrently the smaller downtown pro-Palestine demonstration held by left-wing teams. Notably, the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America joined the occasion as a sponsor, with a frontrunner saying it was to assist present safety there.
The DSA is a significant participant in Portland politics, racking up some victories in recent times. Nationally, it’s going by way of a depending on Israel, one thing that Politico reported on Wednesday. Progressive members of Congress are letting memberships lapse and criticizing chapters for his or her roles in pro-Palestine rallies, together with one in New York Metropolis.
What they’re saying: That chapter issued an apology in an announcement that later centered on the right-wing Israeli authorities’s “escalating human rights violations and explicitly genocidal rhetoric.” In Maine, some demonstrators have been clear that their assist for Palestine doesn’t prolong to Hamas however nonetheless blamed Israel.
“I hope this rally doesn’t get twisted in any kind of means as assist for … Hamas or harmless life loss,” one demonstrator in Portland informed CBS Information 13. “We’re saying that the U.S. must cease funding the Israeli navy occupation and return land and liberty to the folks of Palestine.”
The backlash was swift from institution figures in Maine. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the swing 2nd District, issued statements denouncing the rally, though state Rep. Austin Theriault, considered one of Golden’s Republican opponents, mentioned the congressman ought to condemn a few of his extra progressive colleagues.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, a progressive Democrat from the first District who has damaged with Maine’s delegation on sure Israel-Palestine points earlier than, sharply condemned Hamas in an announcement that mentioned the U.S. should assist Israel however that support “should be predicated on preserving humanity and never on perpetuating better cycles of violence.”
What’s subsequent: That reveals the official line from Democrats is fairly united round Israel however totally different in tone. The development on this debate is resembling Republican fissures on Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. In March, 53 of them within the Maine Home of Representatives voted towards a decision of assist for Ukraine.
The Israel-Palestine debate could not make it to the halls of the State Home, however the timing of Wednesday’s rally and the teams concerned are exhibiting that it’s a minimum of an undercurrent within the politics of Maine’s largest metropolis.