Five Senate Democrats on Friday signed onto a measure that would condition aid to Israel on its compliance with international law, bringing the total number of co-sponsors to 18. And a prominent Democrat, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, is rounding up support for his amendment to stop President Biden from circumventing Congress when he orders weapons transfers to Israel, a maneuver the president has pursued twice in recent months.
Earlier this week, 11 senators voted for a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders aimed at forcing the Biden administration to examine potential human rights abuses by Israel.
After weeks of unquestioning support, the Senate is emerging as a center of resistance to Biden’s unwavering embrace of Israel — at least in modest ways — as even centrist Democrats are signaling their discomfort with the president’s “bear hug” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A number of prominent Democrats have proposed or backed measures that aim to hold Israel accountable or to shift American strategy, even if they are unlikely to garner enough support to pass.
The growing willingness of establishment Democrats to criticize or push back on Israel — a move that would have come with serious political ramifications just a few months ago — signals a shift in the politics of the party since the war in Gaza began more than 100 days ago. Senators from swing states, including Georgia, Wisconsin and Minnesota, have signed on to some of these measures as polls show a notable drop in support for Biden among young, Muslim and Arab American voters over his handling of the issue. [Continue reading…]