newsU.S.-Israel Relations

New York congressman: ‘Disgusting’ that Biden, Schumer play politics with Israel in election year

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito introduced legislation, he told JNS, because “Israel should have a seat at the table in decisions that are being made in the processes moving forward.”

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Credit: pogo_mm/Pixabay.
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Credit: pogo_mm/Pixabay.

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) introduced H.Res.1107 on Tuesday expressing Congress’s sense “that Israel must be in full support of any negotiation or agreement relating to the Israeli-Hamas conflict, including a two-state solution or similar long-term plan relating to Israel and Palestinians for it to move forward.”

The resolution, which doesn’t appear to have co-sponsors yet, will put House Democrats on record to “really show if they’re supporting Israel,” D’Esposito told JNS.

It will also demonstrate whether his colleagues across the aisle “are committed to eradicating the terrorist organizations that have caused so much damage, or are they willing to stand because of politics, with the leadership of their party,” D’Esposito said.

The resolution states that the “United States should continue to support Israel and should not attempt to force Israel to take any course of action that is against its best interests.”

Any conversations about peace, a two-state solution or dealing with Israel’s war with Hamas requires cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem, D’Esposito told JNS.

“This can’t be the United States overplaying their hand,” he told JNS.

He criticized the recent speech by Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Senate floor, in which Schumer called for fresh Israeli elections to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and then U.S. President Joe Biden’s lack of public comment opposing the speech.

“It’s comparable to, in the days following Sept. 11, that a foreign country would call for the removal of the president of the United States of America. I just find it completely preposterous,” D’Esposito told JNS.

“The Schumers and the Bidens of the United States of America should not try to force Israel to take any course of action, threatening funding, threatening resources, if they don’t get their way,” he added. “That’s not the way that we should be engaging with one of our greatest allies.”

D’Esposito told JNS that he is not concerned that there could well be criticism that his resolution would give Israel effective veto power over U.S. policy in the region.

“I don’t think that there’s any part of this resolution that does that,” he said.

The N.Y. Republican said that Biden and Schumer are “trying to pander to the far left, and especially states like Michigan and elsewhere, and college campuses.”

“If we don’t think that this is political, we’re crazy. They know that they are in an election year, and this shouldn’t be about politics,” D’Esposito told JNS. “Joe Biden’s poll numbers are in the dumpster, and he is losing ground in places where he has historically done very well—in places like Michigan—and this is his attempt at trying to bring that base back to his side.”

“Quite frankly, it’s disgusting,” he said.

D’Esposito told JNS that he doesn’t expect colleagues on the far left to support the resolution, but he believes that it will find support in the middle. The resolution would likely need Democratic votes to pass given the razor-thin Republican majority in the House.

“I do believe that there are good, rational and like-minded Democrats that will see through the political rhetoric that is being spewed by Chuck Schumer and the Biden administration and realize that this is a resolution that they should support,” he told JNS. “That Israel should have a seat at the table in decisions that are being made in the processes moving forward.”

D’Esposito’s office is contacting other legislative teams in the House seeking co-sponsors for the resolution. He has yet to receive a commitment from House leadership that the resolution will come up for a vote.

‘Where did this come from?’

In his district in Long Island—one of the nation’s most Jewish— D’Esposito said that Schumer’s speech has impacted voters.

“It’s definitely shaken conversation,” he said. “You have to ask yourself where are we headed and where did this come from?

“People who have been supporters of Schumer in the past are rightfully concerned. They’re confused and they’re angry that it seems like they’re playing pandering politics to the far left in order to pick up ground game in this presidential election,” D’Esposito told JNS.

He figures that his resolution gives members of Congress a clear chance to explain where they stand on the Middle East’s future and Israel’s role in it.

“It gives members of Congress the opportunity to state whether they stand with really driving and engaging in peace processes in the Middle East, continuing with the Abraham Accords and then trying to get to some sort of place of peace in the future,” he said. “Or if they are going to decide to play the political role, put their voting card in the machine and vote ‘No’ against this resolution.”

“I think that is something the American people deserve to know,” he told JNS. “That’s definitely something that Israel and our Jewish neighbors deserve to know.”

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