Jewish Dems Support President Biden’s Call for a Ceasefire

May 18, 2021

As violence continues to unfold in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, JDCA is here as a resource as you navigate the developing and challenging situation. JDCA strongly supports Israel’s right to self-defense, echoes the Biden administration’s calls for a ceasefire, and mourns the loss of life on all sides. Keep reading for JDCA’s four observations of the current crisis.


1. Jewish Democrats strongly support Israel’s right to self-defense: Jewish Dems are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence, and strongly and unequivocally condemn Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket fire from Gaza. We are grateful for the ongoing U.S. military aid to Israel, including for the Iron Dome missile defense system, which is saving countless Israeli lives. This underscores the importance of U.S. security assistance to Israel as determined by the Obama-Biden 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in security and peace, and we mourn the tragic loss of life on both sides. We also urge restraint in the face of rising tension and violence in and around Jerusalem, clashes in Arab-Israelis towns, and proposed evictions within Israel. It’s incumbent on all sides to refrain from actions that inflame an already volatile situation.

2. We support the efforts of the Biden Administration to de-escalate the crisis and support a ceasefire: JDCA supports the efforts of the Biden administration to de-escalate tensions and support for a ceasefire, including through engagement with Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Tunisian, and other regional officials. Both President Biden and Secretary Blinken are speaking directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, assuring U.S. support for Israel’s right to self defense and urging the de-escalation of violence, most recently in President Biden’s support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Jewish Dems also welcomed Secretary Blinken’s decision to send Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to Israel to help de-escalate the crisis.

3. There are multiple crises happening at once: Unlike past conflicts with Hamas, there are several crises happening in and around Israel: (1) There have been over 3,000 rockets shot by Hamas from Gaza into Israel, which appear to be aimed at dense population centers and intended to overwhelm the Iron Dome system; (2) There is ongoing tension and unprecedented communal violence between Jewish and Arab citizens within Israel; and (3) There is ongoing tension in and around Jerusalem, given the pending Israeli Supreme Court decision on evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Read here for a good explainer on how these conflicts do and do not intersect from the Israel Policy Forum.

4. We are seeing the consequences of Trump’s failed foreign policy: Leadership matters. This outbreak of violence can be traced back to years of neglect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Donald Trump, and Republicans politicizing Israel and rejecting the two-state solution. As JDCA CEO Halie Soifer said on BBC Newsnight last week, “What we’ve seen is a return of US leadership on the world stage after four years of a reckless foreign policy with Donald Trump and a complete neglect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Halie also discussed JDCA’s strong support of full funding for U.S. military aid to Israel, including the importance of Iron Dome, and how every intercepted rocket “is supported by US aid. It is essential, and it is saving lives.”

We are proud to be Democrats in this moment when leaders recognize there is no binary choice to be made between Israel’s security and right to self-defense, and Palestinian rights and safety. We reject the forced false dichotomy and narrative of divide, and are engaging with Congress and the Biden administration, serving as a resource for Democrats as they navigate this crisis.