JDCA’s Halie Soifer: S.1 ‘has very little to do with Israel’

 Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), discussed the Women’s March and the Senate Democrats’ opposition to the motion to proceed to a Senate floor debate on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 in a phone interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh.

“As of December 20th, we came out publicly against the leaders of the Women’s March, and while we support the overall objective of the march and stand behind all the sister marches that are going to take place this weekend, we called on the leadership to step down. The fact that they continue to stand in line with Farrakhan and the fact that they haven’t publicly denounced anti-Semitism, is deeply concerning. And we support those organizations who have pulled their partnership with them.”

On the Israel-related legislation: “This whole charade in the Senate has very little to do with Israel. There’s overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation. This was a bill that had unanimous support in the last Congress before Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) held it up. The story isn’t about Israel. The point Democrats are making here is that we are now in uncharted waters right now with the government shutdown and the focus has to be on reopening the government. And we stand behind the Democrats on this. Now obviously the Republican leadership has chosen to focus on other matters. And if the vote was just one vote, perhaps it would look as they were truly trying to pass that legislation. However, if they really wanted to pass this legislation in the previous Congress, McConnell could have found a way to do that. The fact that they have now scheduled the fourth vote on the same package exposes this strategy as it is, which is to make issues related to Israel partisan, and we reject that.”

Soifer on Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar’s recent remarks: “It’s important not to overstate their influence within the Democratic Party. They are the only two members of Congress out of 535 members that have publically expressed support for the BDS movement. The Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate is both strongly opposed to BDS and there’s absolutely no reason to believe that these two freshmen will have any influence on the party’s position beyond the influence they may have on social media. And we saw that with the clear condemnation of Tlaib’s dual loyalty claim.”

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