Times of Israel: Democrats’ Israel and Jewish groups divided on Trump-brokered Israel-Sudan deal

October 24, 2020

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement that the group welcomed normalization deals for Israel, but that the Sudan agreement appeared motivated by Trump’s personal interests.

“We are concerned that President Trump views foreign policy toward Israel as a series of self-serving transactional deals. This is another Israel quid pro quo driven by Trump’s short-term political interests rather than the long-term safety and security of the United States and its allies, including Israel,” Soifer said. “Trump demonstrated that today when he called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Sudan and asked him to comment as he vilified Joe Biden.”

During the call announcing the deal, Trump asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “Do you think Sleepy Joe could have made this deal?”

“One thing I can tell you is we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America,” Netanyahu replied, avoiding being drawn into a partisan comment.

Soifer questioned the justification for Trump’s removal of Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism: “It appears that Trump has traded Sudan’s removal from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for compensating victims of terrorism and normalizing relations with Israel. This deal appears timed more to influence the outcome of the US election than a result of tangible policy considerations that would justify removing Sudan from this list.”

She added: “We are deeply concerned that as Trump’s presidency draws to an end, he has used Israel as a political tool, politicizing US foreign policy toward Israel to serve his own interests in a way that no president has ever done before. That’s why a majority of Jewish Americans trust Joe Biden more on every issue, including foreign policy and Israel, and will overwhelmingly support him in this election.”