As a Maryland native, I am pleased that Jerome Segal, who was endorsed by the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper, was defeated in the Democratic primary. The issue of support and security for the Jewish state is important to many Marylanders, Jewish or Christian.
On the surface, it would appear that members of the pro-Israel community should do whatever it takes to strengthen U.S. President Donald Trump. The American president is a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.
He has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, defunded UNRWA and taken a strong stance against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Israel advocates assert that if he is empowered in these midterm elections, Trump can do more to thwart Palestinian terrorism and move us closer to peace.
However, such a stance does not take into account individuality. The pro-Israel community must acknowledge that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is not a typical Obama-style Democrat.
To the contrary, he faced much criticism from the radical left due to his pro- Israel positions. Cardin has sponsored legislation criminalizing BDS efforts and has not backed down, despite opposition from the far left within his party.
Cardin opposed the Iranian nuclear deal, even when such a position was not popular among Democrats. According to “The Nation,” he did more to discredit Obama’s Iran deal than any other Democrat.
While he did urge Trump to stay with the agreement after it was already concluded, these comments came on the heels of pressure from the progressive base of the Democratic Party during an election — not an excuse but a disturbing reality and reminder of the animosity toward Israel growing within the Democratic Party.
Cardin has affirmed that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But in order to maintain his legitimacy within his party, he tempered that position by claiming Trump should have made the declaration differently.
Speaking at the progressive advocacy group J Street’s national conference, he said that while he opposed Obama’s Iran deal, he was also against the divisive atmosphere created by Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress, adding that he opposes Israel’s African refugee policy, claiming it is too similar to Trump’s refugee policy.
Moderate Democrats like Cardin are a dying breed. With far-leftists gaining prominence within the Democratic Party, Cardin must become an outspoken critic against these anti-Israel voices. He must continue speaking truth to growing power without caving into pressure like he has in the past.
Cardin’s pro-Israel record speaks for itself. Considering that Democrats have begun abandoning the Jewish state when Israel should never have become a partisan issue in the first place, Cardin’s place in the Senate has never been more important.
To be fair, Republican Tony Campbell appears to be an excellent fit for Maryland. An African-American army veteran, his political positions are moderate, such as his priority to reform the educational system.
I failed to find any record of his position regarding Israel. Asked whether he supported the Iran nuclear deal, he answered: “Iran is a rogue actor and should be treated as a threat to American interests regionally in the Middle East and around the world. Every tool should be considered to make sure the Iran regime follows through on its promises.”
At such a critical juncture, America needs senators with a strong grasp of foreign policy. I wouldn’t mind supporting Campbell, especially if his opponent was Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who has demonstrated mediocre pro- Israel credentials, and a naïve understanding of foreign affairs. This is not the case with Cardin.
Therefore, if Israel’s security and future are important to you, check the box for Cardin for U.S. Senate.
Rachel Avraham is a Maryland native residing in Israel. She is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center and the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”