WSJ: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., John Fetterman’s Israel Support Makes Them ‘Political Gadflies’ to the Left

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, who defected from the Democrat Party in 2023, and Sen. John Fetterman’s (D-PA) support of Israel make them “political gadflies” to today’s left, points out the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn, as an anti-Israel posture has gained popularity among Democrats.

McGurn analyzed Kennedy Jr. and Fetterman’s pro-Israel posture in contrast to increasingly mainstream pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel views on the modern left in an opinion article published Monday:

Each is a man of the left, which has become increasingly hostile to Israel. Pressure from the left has led both President Biden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to temper support for Israel with unprecedented public criticism of the country’s elected government and its war effort. The criticisms are striking because they come on the eve of an offensive in Rafah that Israel deems essential to root out the Hamas leadership and destroy its ability to inflict another attack like Oct. 7.

Messrs. Fetterman and Kennedy might have been expected to succumb to progressive pressure. But they didn’t. The question for a post-Joe Lieberman Democratic Party is whether the Fetterman-Kennedy resistance marks a restoration of support for Israel to its place in American liberalism—or a dying last gasp.

The far-left wing of the party has repeatedly issued demands for a ceasefire, marked by widespread demonstrations and protests, including at President Joe Biden’s glitzy and elitist fundraiser in New York City on Thursday night.

RELATED — “Ceasefire Now!” Pro-Palestinian Protesters Heckle Joe Biden at Charleston Church

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While Biden and other establishment, career-politician Democrats have engaged in an anti-Israel drift in attempts to walk a political tightrope on the massive division among their constituency, McGurn points out that Fetterman and Kennedy Jr.’s vocal support for Israel was a conventional view in the party not long ago:

It’s telling that the Fetterman/Kennedy position today makes them political gadflies. A generation ago, they would have been mainstream liberals firmly in the Democratic orbit. Then again, Lieberman lost his last Democratic primary to a candidate who ran to his left on foreign policy, and he died promoting the centrist No Labels party.

Fetterman, a freshman, ran as a “progressive” populist candidate in 2022 and surprised many with his championing of Israel — as Breitbart News Senior Editor Joel Pollak noted — and its right to defend itself following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks that slaughtered 1,200 Israelis.

On March 25, Vice President Kamala Harris told ABC News that “any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake.”

Fetterman quickly undermined the vice president’s position, tweeting, “Hard disagree.”

“Israel has the right to prosecute Hamas to surrender or to be eliminated,” he added. “Hamas owns every innocent death for their cowardice hiding behind Palestinian lives.”

In January, pro-Palestinian protestors targeted Fetterman’s Braddock, Pennsylvania, home, with the crowd chanting, “Fetterman, Fetterman, you can’t hide; you’re supporting genocide.”

Fetterman responded by taking to his rooftop and waving the Israeli flag.

Kennedy Jr.’s ardent support for the Jewish State has been on full display as well. In an interview conducted by Reuters and published by the Jerusalem Post in late March, he called Israel a “moral nation,” arguing other nations would “level” a terrorist adversary “with aerial bombardment.”

Kennedy said:

Any other nation that was adjacent to a neighboring nation that was bombing it with rockets, sending commandos over to murder its citizens, pledging itself to murder every person in that nation and annihilate it, would go and level it with aerial bombardment.

“But Israel is a moral nation. So it didn’t do that. Instead, it built an iron dome to protect itself so it would not have to go into Gaza,” he continued, adding that Hamas’s attacks did not leave Israel with a choice.

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Joel Pollak


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