Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday expressed his frustration that elements of the Democratic Party are criticizing Israel’s 2014 response in Gaza, without mentioning Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by name.
“I am surprised and saddened, in truth, that with the political turmoil in this country, there have been so many questions raised about our relationship with Israel and our support for Israel,” Cuomo said during a pro-Israel speech at The Harvard Club in New York on Sunday. “You now have aspects of the Democratic Party that are being critical of Israel as being disproportionate in its response. I’m sad as a Democrat.”
“As a Democrat, I always took for granted that there was a natural relationship with Israel that was unquestioned, and it was that way for many, many years. And it’s one of the things that gave us pride as Democrats,” Cuomo asserted. “To question Israel’s response saddens me. To question the situation they’re dealing with and the tenacity of their opponents misunderstands the situation.”
Cuomo made the comments during a signing ceremony of an executive order to fight BDS against Israel.
The governor said he finds comfort in the fact that the Democratic Party and the leadership of the Democratic Party “are far and away stronger supporters of Israel than of any other party – not to get political.”
Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from Manhattan, also slammed Sanders for calling Israel’s response to Hamas’ firing of rockets into Israel “disproportionate.”
“The most incendiary and disgusting thing that Sanders said at the debate in Brooklyn, when he said that Israel had a ‘disproportionate response’ when they were being bombarded by Hamas,” Nadler told Jewish Insider after the event. “I was there (in Israel) then. I saw those missiles. The fact that there were more Palestinians killed than Israelis does not say anything about a disproportionate response. It’s not the issue. This ‘disproportionate response’ doctrine is an attempt to handcuff Israel from responding to aggression, from fighting in defensive wars. And that’s wrong. Bernie is every guilty of that.”
Nalder added that he’s sure the Democrats will approve a “fine platform” at the convention, although he would not say what wording – if any changes are made in the drafting committee – would be acceptable. But he said that he’s mostly “concerned” that a faction of the party led by Sanders or Cornel West “could generate a debate that makes the Democratic Party look – during the debate – not good or anti-Israel, which could cost us a lot of votes against Trump.”
The Democratic platform, according to Nadler, should be supportive of Israel, supportive of the two-state solution, and “not be condemnatory against Israel.” He also suggested an educational campaign to increase support for Israel among young Democratic and liberal voters.
Speaking to reporters in New York City on Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer said he believes that the Democratic Party’s platform “will be as strong for Israel this year as it has been in the past years. The vast majority of the Democrats believe in a strong Israel, believe in an independent Israel, and know that she is beleaguered by terrorists left, right and center.”
According to Schumer, “Sanders put one or two people on his part of the platform committee who don’t have the views of the vast majority of Democrats, but they don’t have a majority of votes on the platform committee and I don’t think they will get their will.”