One plank of the anti-Trump - anti-GOP Resistance is firming up as Anti-Israel. It's getting harder and harder to support the Israelis killing Palestinians to steal their homes.
Democrats forced to confront growing divide over Israel heading into 2020
(CNN)Democrats are entering the 2020 election cycle with many of their leading presidential contenders increasingly willing to break with a pro-Israel foreign policy orthodoxy that guided the party for a generation.
The new crop of progressive political stars in the House and a base more sympathetic to the Palestinians than ever before helped push a half-dozen White House aspirants to break with the pro-Israel lobby last week on a major bill, even as it passed with support from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other high-ranking Democratic officials.
The ongoing political shift came clearly into focus last week when nearly all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls -- with Sen. Amy Klobuchar a notable exception -- voted against a Senate bill that would allow state and local governments to withhold contracts from those who participate in BDS. Most of them took the same position in explaining their opposition to the bill: They oppose efforts to boycott Israel, they said, but they feared the measure violated First Amendment rights.
But in voting in near lockstep against it, the presidential contenders highlighted a shift that has been gaining steam among Democrats for years.
In 2018, the Pew Research Center found that 27% of Democrats said their sympathies lied with Israel, while 25% said the Palestinians -- with the rest saying neither. That was a sharp drop from the 43% who chose Israel just two years earlier. Younger and more liberal Democrats, in particular, said they were more likely to side with the Palestinians. And some companies that cater to a younger clientele have also shifted their positions in response to Israeli government actions: Airbnb in November said it would stop listing rentals in West Bank settlements.
The election of two BDS supporters -- Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim women in Congress -- to House Democratic ranks last year pushed the issue to the forefront.
"We are finally able to have conversations that we weren't really willing to," Omar told CNN recently, "and so it is really important for us to get a different lens about what peace in that region could look like and the kind of difficult conversations we need to have about allies."
Their willingness to criticize Israel, often in the context of clear and unabashed advocacy for Palestinians, has already begun to test old rhetorical boundaries in a way that even some of the party's more liberal elected officials have typically sought to avoid. Freshman lawmakers like Tlaib, Omar and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been quick to reject those constraints, and seem poised now to insist on a conversation that top Democrats have long stifled or sought to avoid.
"Straight up, the party is not ready for the debate that is coming," one senior aide to a Democratic senator told CNN last year
. "It is an overdue debate and my strong sense is that no, the party is not ready to have it -- look who the foreign policy leaders are. But that doesn't matter because it's coming."