These include legislation from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that empowers state and local governments to avoid doing business with entities that support the boycott campaign against Israel. AIPAC is also pushing Congress to adopt Defense spending legislation that sets aside $601 million for US-Israel missile defense. That bill cleared the House earlier this year but faces uncertain prospects in the Senate, where many Democrats are worried about Trump's budget priorities.
The journey of Norm Coleman, the former Republican senator from Minnesota, is an instructive one. Coleman, who started his political career as a Democrat, was the mayor of St. Paul from 1994 to 2002. He served one term in the Senate before losing his seat to Al Franken, by just more than three hundred, votes in 2008. He now works in the private sector, as the chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and as a lawyer and lobbyist representing the Saudi government. When Donald Trump won the Republican Presidential nomination, Coleman reacted with a horror shared by many members of the political establishment. In an op-ed published in March, 2016, titled "I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump," Coleman called Trump "a bigot. He added, "And any man who declines to renounce the affections of the KKK and David Duke should not be trusted to lead America.
In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Martin Indyk on the US-Israel relationship. Formerly the United States' ambassador to Israel, assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, and US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013-2014, Martin Indyk has been at the heart of US-Israel relations for several decades. He worked as adviser to US President Bill Clinton and was a member of his negotiating team at the Camp David talks in 2000. We challenge him on whether the US has been an unbiased mediator in peace talks, whether its role has been to play "Israel's lawyer", and the consequences for peace in the Middle East. We also examine the current state of the US-Israel relationship, asking whether tensions between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have loosened the countries' close ties, or whether it is, in fact, business as usual.
After months of remaining neutral in the Republican battle for the presidential nomination, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson on Thursday said he will back the party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. "Yes, I'm a Republican, he's a Republican," Adelson said in an interview with the New York Times. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17--he was one of the 17. He won fair and square." Watch: Asked casino mogul Sheldon Adelson if he'll back #Trump.
A coalition of progressive Democratic politicians and Jewish groups are calling for withholding US military aid to Israel in response to planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is gathering legislators' signatures on a letter urging the Trump administration to take steps to block Israel's planned annexation. "The United States must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy," Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other legislators said in the letter. "We therefore urge you to make clear to the Israeli government that such a move is unacceptable," they said in the letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Five other letters are circulating in the US Jewish community demanding accountability for the Israeli government and concrete actions by US Jewish institutions if a planned annexation goes forward.