Trump is pushing annexation as political tool to cast Dems as anti-Israel, says J Street expert

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, January 28, 2020. (Photo: Koby Gideon/GPO)
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, January 28, 2020. (photo: Koby Gideon / GPO)
Annexation divides Democrats, providing Trump with a wedge issue.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | June 16, 2020

‘…it’s not so much a mobilization tool but a hard political tool to use against Democrats in a very tight election.’
— Neri Zilber, Israeli journalist

Israeli journalist Neri Zilber was on a J Street zoom session today and said that Donald Trump is pushing Israeli annexation of the West Bank to have a tool to divide the Democratic Party ahead of the election and paint the party as anti-Israel.

When people talk about annexation in Trump political terms they often pinpoint, Well, he wants to get out the evangelical and pro-Israel vote back in the States. To my mind I would argue something slightly differently, I think perhaps he wants to move forward or allow Israel to move forward with annexation to create a wedge issue visavis Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. In other words it’s not so much a mobilization tool but a hard political tool to use against Democrats in a very tight election.

We all obviously remember last summer the big brouhaha that Trump created over the potential visit of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to Israel and accusing the Democratic Party of being anti-Israel, of being leftwing radicals.

I wouldn’t put it past Trump to perhaps seize on the annexation issue and say Look, there’s a wide consensus at least politically in the top of the government in Israel for annexation You have two former IDF chiefs of staff who… may support it, why is Nancy Pelosi’s position for instance more credible visavis Israel’s security and interests than Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi. I would argue that’s Trump’s motivation.

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