There were reportedly no Democratic members of Congress in attendance at Monday’s opening ceremony of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, highlighting the party’s pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel foreign policy carried over from the Obama administration.
Even former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) – who left the Democratic Party in 2006 to run as an Independent before leaving politics in 2013 – was shocked at his former party’s no-shows, telling an Israeli daily that he was “surprised” that there were “no sitting legislators from his former party [who] were in Jerusalem for the embassy dedication.”
“I hope that the Democratic members had [scheduling] conflicts and they had to be somewhere else,” Lieberman told the Times of Israel. “I hope that they don’t see this as some kind of pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem. It’s not. Its a pro-U.S.-Israel friendship-partnership-alliance rally. And it’s celebrating the strength of our relationship, which has been always bipartisan.”
Not representing the Democratic Party, Lieberman told the Israeli paper that he was personally invited to attend the inauguration of the embassy by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who served at a law firm with the former senator. Lieberman was one on the co-sponsors of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act that mandated the embassy’s relocation – an act that included a waiver permitting the president to delay the move for six months at a time.
Republicans lament Democratic snub
Reflecting on the way former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and other key members of the Democratic Party snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visited Washington, D.C., during Obama’s second term in office, key Republicans expressed dismay at Democrats’ lack of support for Israel at the festive event.
“Hours before the official inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, controversy erupted over the fact that not a single Democratic congressman was scheduled to attend the festive event,” the Times of Israel reported. “Two senior U.S. senators from the Republican Party expressed deep regret that none of their colleagues from the other side of the aisle chose to attend the ceremony – one of them blamed former president Barack Obama for the ostensible crack in the traditional bipartisan nature of the US support for Israel.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was one of the more vocal Republicans to voice his disappointment at the Democrats’ anti-Israel statement of not showing up for the landmark celebration of the invigorated American-Israeli partnership.
“That is a sad, sad manifestation,” Cruz told the Times of Israel. “I wish he’d have every member of Congress here.”
Debunking excuses that Democrats were not invited, he stressed that it was the Democrats’ decision not to attend.
“I don’t know why the Democrats will not be here – chose not to come,” Cruz added. “Every member of Congress had the option before them to come and be here. There was no way on earth we could have inaugurated this embassy without my being here to celebrate it – it’s too important.”
After Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Sunday that Jerusalem’s U.S. Embassy did not extend Democratic lawmakers any invitations to the event, Cruz made it clear that congressmen did not need invitations in order to attend the embassy opening, noting that his delegation made plans after he personally asked three of his colleagues to join him at the Jerusalem ceremony.
“None of us were invited – any member of Congress could have come here as part of the delegation,” Cruz impressed. “All 435 House members could have come – all 100 senators. There was no administration invitation. There was no one in the White House deciding we won’t ask those Congressmen to come.”
In fact, one of the U.S. senators included in the four-member delegation with Cruz in Israel – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – emphasized that he personally invited a number of Democrats to join the delegation and noted that not one of them heeded his call to attend.
“I would just assume that the Republicans who didn’t come had [scheduling] conflicts,” Graham explained to reporters at a press conference at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, according to the Times of Israel. “But I am disappointed that not one Democrat came. What does that say? It’s not for me to tell you what that says. It hurts me because I work across the aisle on a regular basis. I think it was a mistake because there’s too much going on in this region.”
Agreeing with Cruz – also a former Republican presidential candidate – Graham pointed out that support for the U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital has always been a bipartisan issue championed by Republicans and flouted by Democrats.
“This has been the policy on the stump – forever,” Graham asserted.
To show their support for the Trump administration’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital over the weekend, many Republicans besides Cruz’s delegation made the trip to the Holy Land.
“The other two GOP senators in the delegation are Mike Lee, of Utah, and Dean Heller, of Nevada,” the Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren noted. “Also this week, Congressman Joe Wilson, of South Carolina, led a delegation of 10 Republican lawmakers to Israel.”
Israeli reporter Ariel Kahana set the record straight via social media to ward off Democrats’ excuses that they did not attend because they received no invites.
“Not correct – every member of Congress was invited through the congressional delegation (codel) of congress member Joe Wilson who opened his codel to any member who wanted to come,” Kahana tweeted Monday. “People involved in the process blame the Democratic leadership of congress blocked its members.”
With 47 Democratic members of the U.S. Senate and 193 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives all registering as no-shows, Cruz rebuked the Democratic Party for turning the historical celebration into a partisan spat that most likely had a lot to do with Trump exiting the Obama administration’s failed Iran nuclear deal after Israel exposed the Islamic Republic’s lies about its nuke program not producing weapons of mass destruction.
“I’m gratified for those [of] you [who] came but I am saddened [by those who didn’t],” Cruz expressed. “Support for Israel shouldn’t be a bipartisan issue, and it is worrisome that the fallout of president Obama’s Iran deal is that more and more, we’re seeing a divide among partisan lines. It’s not good for Israel – it’s not good for America.”
One glimmer of Democratic support from afar
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) did not attend the U.S. Embassy opening, but he did commend Trump for the embassy move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem,” Schumer proclaimed in a statement, according to Townhall. “Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”
There were conflicting reports in Israel about one Democratic senator attending the event, but America’s largest news agency shot the rumor down.
“According to some other Israeli news outlets, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) was in attendance at the ceremony,” Townhall reported. “However, a reporter with The Associated Press says Deutch did not attend.”
Heartfelt thanks from Israel
Netanyahu expressed his deep gratitude to Trump for doing what numerous presidents before him were not bold enough to do – move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in acknowledgement of the Holy City as Israel’s true capital … a controversial stance that has embroiled the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab/Muslim world.
“What a glorious day – remember this moment!” Netanyahu declared at the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem on Monday, according to Breitbart News. “This is history – President Trump, by recognizing history you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”
Trump made good on the promise he made during his 2016 presidential campaign – which came to fruition on the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel (1948) on Monday – and Netahyahu, in turn, gave America his accolades.
“Today the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth; our greatest ally – the United States of America,” Netanyahu declared. “Today its embassy opened here. Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.”
Trump’s promise was galvanized back in December, when he announced his plans to move forward with the move, and then later confirmed his reasoning for making the bold resolve to move the embassy.
“Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious – that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Trump proclaimed about his decision, according to Breitbart. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
Where’s the media?
The conservative media commented about how the mainstream media gave little coverage to the celebration of the U.S. Embassy’s opening, while focusing on the scores of Palestinians who were killed and injured while violently protesting the event.
“It’s interesting when you look at the way the media’s tone is towards this … they always take the one perspective,” Faithwire’s Dan Andros said, according to TheBlaze. “The media is mostly highlighting Palestinian protesters instead of acknowledging how ardently many Israelis support the move to Jerusalem.”
The partnership between Israel and the United States was ignored by U.S. journalists, who played up the longstanding volative Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead.
“Obviously, they care about this relationship, yet the media doesn’t bother to try to figure out why,” Andros said, while noting signs he witnessed during the protests that read, “Trump, make Israel great.”
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