News Release

Kamala Harris: “More AIPAC Than J Street”

Al-Jazeera reports: “U.S. Senate advances controversial anti-BDS legislation” — see Institute for Public Accuracy news release: “Senate Job One: Attack First Amendment Rights of Israel Critics.”

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He just wrote the piece “‘More AIPAC Than J Street’: Kamala Harris Runs to the Right on Foreign Policy” for Foreign Policy In Focus.

Zunes writes that Kamala Harris “is being embraced by many progressive Democrats, and she’s branding herself as a progressive. Yet in the course of her little more than two years in the U.S. Senate, she’s taken some foreign policy positions that should give pause to supporters of human rights and international law.

“In her very first foreign policy vote in January 2017, for instance, Harris sided with President Trump in criticizing the outgoing President Obama’s refusal to veto an otherwise-unanimous, very modest, and largely symbolic UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements. Among other things, that resolution reiterated previous Security Council calls for Israel to stop expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, which violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice. …

“While most Democrats today ally more with the moderate pro-Israel group J Street rather than the hardline AIPAC, which has generally backed Republicans in recent years, Harris has been virtually the only Democrat to appear before the right-wing pro-Netanyahu organization each year since being elected to the Senate. Indeed, as the Jewish Telegraph Agency observed, her record demonstrates that ‘She’s more AIPAC than J Street.’

“It is not unusual for otherwise progressive members of Congress to have a blind spot when it comes to Israel and Palestine. However, Harris’ views are not only particularly extreme and dangerous, but may be indicative of a wider contempt for human rights and international law in her foreign policy views overall. …

“She’s accused campaigns supporting boycotts and divestment targeting the Israeli occupation of anti-Semitism, and she claims that efforts in the United Nations to pressure the Netanyahu government to end its violations of international humanitarian law are actually designed to ‘delegitimize Israel.’ She even signed a letter criticizing the United Nations and its agencies for such efforts which commended Trump’s former UN Ambassador Nicki Haley’s attacks on the world body.”