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All politics is local

When President Donald Trump at 12:50 on a Thursday afternoon tweeted it was “time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the average world citizen said a collective “huh?” Israel captured two-thirds of the strategic plateau from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War—and no one has seriously contested its control in more than 50 years. Syria’s minister of defense, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad, gave his troops an order no Israeli has likely forgotten: “Strike the enemy’s settlements, turn them into dust, pave the Arab roads with the skulls of the Jews.” Unlike then-foes Egypt and Jordan, Syria has never made peace with Israel. The barrier is made more necessary now eight years into a war inside Syria that Assad also has refused to end through a negotiated peace process. Groves of mangoes and avocados compete with orchards of apples and pears. Hothouses vie for hillsides with vineyards making some of Israel’s best wines. Securing Trump’s endorsement of stepped-up control over the Golan could secure votes. Netanyahu lobbied first National Security Adviser John Bolton, then Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his Middle East trip in March. During a March 18 phone briefing with Pompeo and about a half-dozen reporters I attended, Pompeo was vague in response to questions about the Golan Heights. Israel more firmly in control of Syria’s southern border takes attention away from Turkey’s problematic control at Syria’s northern border. That same frailty, he said, has fed the current war in Syria.
Report: Five rockets fired from Gaza strip into Israel

Report: Five rockets fired from Gaza strip into Israel

This as thousands of Palestinians continue to protest at the Israel border. Trey Yingst reports. FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, and the direct-to-consumer streaming service,…

Netanyahu, Ilhan Omar spar over role of AIPAC’s political money: ‘It’s not about the...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back Tuesday at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) weeks after her remarks deemed anti-Semitic triggered controversy. Omar drew condemnation from members of both parties last month after she suggested in the tweet that AIPAC has been paying members of Congress to support Israel. She later apologized for the tweet — and for other comments — but also insisted on what she called “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.” The Minnesota Democrat responded Tuesday to Netanyahu in a tweet: “This from a man facing indictments for bribery and other crimes in three separate public corruption affairs. "It’s because America and Israel share a love of freedom and democracy. It’s because we cherish individual rights and the rule of law," Netanyahu told AIPAC, as USA Today reported. Netanyahu on Monday visited the White House, where President Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967 and unilaterally annexed in 1981. The document reverses more than a half-century of U.S. policy. Trump had previewed the move last week saying that it was time for the U.S. to take the step after 52 years of Israeli control of the strategic highlands on the border with Syria. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Beto O’Rourke slams Israeli leader Netanyahu as ally of ‘racists’

We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he charged. O’Rourke also jabbed at Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. “On the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader. The candidate was asked during a question and answer session with the crowd about accepting large sums of contributions from pro-Israeli lobbyists during his 2018 Senate election in Texas. O’Rourke once again called for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace in the Middle East. During Wednesday's New Hampshire stops, meanwhile, O’Rourke targeted sales of assault weapons, skirted his stance on late-term abortions, called for pre-K starting for four-year-olds, and acknowledged that he has a learning curve as he runs for president. I don’t want to take anyone’s guns from anyone in the country.” But he said the AR-15, “which is a variant of something that was designed for battlefield use, I see no reason for it to be sold into our communities.” Speaking with reporters, O’Rourke was asked by Fox News how he would have voted on a controversial GOP-sponsored Senate bill that would have required doctors to provide medical care to newborns, including those born during failed abortions. The candidate gave a hint of his support for abortion rights by adding that “I’ve seen the effects of regressive women’s health care policies in Texas, the inability to get much needed medical care… I want to make sure at a national level we don’t make those mistakes.” As a three-term congressman representing El Paso in the House, O’Rourke supported a bill in 2017 that would have lifted most state restrictions on abortion, including waiting periods. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $5.9 million in the day after he announced his candidacy last month, had contributions from 223,000 people, with the average donation standing at $27. Discussing the comments – which critics said spotlighted unwelcome gender stereotypes – O’Rourke promised “not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage.” On Wednesday, O’Rourke told the crowd that “Amy and I are raising those kiddos.” Asked if there’s a learning curve on the presidential campaign trail, he quickly answered: “Yeah.

Donald Trump predicts Jewish voters will switch to GOP in ‘Jexodus.’ Democrats call that...

President Donald Trump has branded as "disgraceful" the resolution passed after Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments suggesting House supporters of Israel have dual allegiances. Democrats increased their share of the Jewish vote between the 2016 and 2018 elections, from 71 percent to 79 percent. Trump's efforts to paint the Democratic party as anti-Jewish came after tweets and comments by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who suggested that pro-Israel lobbying groups controlled U.S. lawmakers through political money. While some Democrats said the remarks played into anti-Semitic slurs about how Jewish money controls American politics, Omar said they were "not intended to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole." Jesse Lehrich, a foreign policy spokesman for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, said Trump's attacks ring hollow from a man who spoke sympathetically of some of the white supremacists who held a 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia. Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said "there's a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of support" among Jewish voters for what Trump is doing, though he has not seen any new polling on the question. Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, cited the drop-off of Jewish support for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections to say that Trump and the GOP are losing traction with these voters. A Gallup report released Thursday said that, according to 2018 data, 52 percent of Jewish-Americans described themselves as Democrats, while only 16 percent identified themselves as Republicans. Among Jewish respondents, 26 percent approved of Trump's performance as president; 71 percent disapproved. Trump carried only 8 percent the African-American vote in 2016, according to exit polls.

Politics intrudes in Israel’s gas strategy

Usually positioned on the margins of the Middle East’s complex energy politics, Israel now is a legitimate player in its own right. Pouyanné further explained that Total was unwilling to put its other relationships in the region at risk by inking fresh deals with Israel. This should be no surprise, as Total likely still wants to partner with Iran in a gas-exploration deal that has now been put on hold because of renewed US sanctions. Additionally, the company has been working closely with Lebanon to explore that country’s offshore gas potential in the eastern Mediterranean. Over the past decade, boycott activists have been successful in pressuring European companies to end business relationships in Israel. It has the power to make deals that much more “complex” and bothersome for companies that wish to do business in or with Israel. Then again, Israeli political complexities in Levantine energy deals might soon face competition. Any significant discovery likely will be exported to Turkey, given its proximity to the fields and its recently upgraded relationship with Russia. But once Israeli gas begins flowing into the European Union, the relationship could soon strain, as Russia’s economy depends significantly on revenue from Europe. The complexity of politics – local and international – in the Levant will therefore factor increasingly in calculations of companies such as Total.
House resolution to condemn anti-Semitism delayed indefinitely

House resolution to condemn anti-Semitism delayed indefinitely

House Speaker Pelosi faces pushback from some Democrats over her response to the Rep. Omar controversy; Ellison Barber reports. FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, and…

Ilhan Omar’s Victory for Political Sanity

This was destined to be another example of the impossibility in Washington of deviating from unflinching support of Israel’s policies. A powerful lobby tried to suppress criticism of its work, and rank-and-file Democrats spoke their minds. Earlier this month, she tweeted that support in Congress for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby,” referring to $100 bills. Let’s be clear about the sums we’re talking about. Outside of lobbying, AIPAC rallies its members to assist in political campaigns of like-minded candidates. AIPAC aside, one of the GOP’s largest donors is Sheldon Adelson, who is almost singularly focused on Israel policy. (The bill that AIPAC most frequently lobbied on during the last Congress was the “Combating BDS Act.”) Adelson’s campaign contributions exceeded $100 million in 2018, breaking his own record of $82.6 million in 2016. How these interests are advanced in Washington is pretty elemental. Either big-money lobbying puts powerful interests ahead of the public interest, or it doesn’t. Omar has made clear where she stands on the matter.
House Democrats delay anti-Semitism resolution vote

House Democrats delay anti-Semitism resolution vote

A House vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism following recent comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar has been delayed as Democrats scramble to rewrite the motion to include all forms of prejudice; Peter Doocy has the details. #AmericasNewsroom #FoxNews FOX News…

Rep. Omar deletes tweets that sparked political firestorm

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, has deleted her controversial tweets that triggered bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill. Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy first noted that representative erased three posts that were considered by some as anti-Semitic. Fox News has confirmed that those tweets have been deleted. Omar’s Twitter troubles date back to 2012 when she claimed that Israel has “hypnotized the world” regarding the Jewish state’s ongoing conflict with Palestinians. The Minnesota Democrat then reignited accusations of anti-Semitism when she suggested that the GOP’s support of Israel is bought, saying that its stance is “all about the Benjamins.” She later named AIPAC as a group that pays pro-Israel politicians despite the fact they don’t make financial contributions to campaigns. Amid uproar, Omar issued an apology. "Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," Omar stated. "We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize." Many in the GOP called Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.