In the span of two days, one Jewish lawmaker became the first to call on Israel to ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, another called the Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war “unacceptable,” and a third said suffering in Gaza was a “moral failure.”
On Wednesday, Sen. Jon Ossoff, who has been a consensus-seeking voice on Israel within the Democratic party and who has carefully avoided overly criticizing the Jewish state since entering Congress in 2021, issued a blistering critique of the IDF’s ongoing military operation against Hamas in Gaza.
“The extent of civilian death and suffering in Gaza is unnecessary. It is a moral failure, and it should be unacceptable to the United States,” Ossoff said in a speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday.
While Ossoff had hitherto been critical of certain Israeli policies in the West Bank, he had tapered that criticism and relied heavily on talking points regarding the importance of a two-state solution while working to build relationships with several key Israeli lawmakers. He has led efforts in Congress to back largely consensus initiatives such as boosting funding for the US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem and encouraging an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Thus, Wednesday’s criticism voiced by Ossoff went further than he has in the past and raises the question of whether it may amount to the start of a trend within the Democratic party led by a president who has backed Israel’s military operation in Gaza while urging the IDF to protect civilians as much as possible. [Continue reading…]