The White House-Israel feud over settlement building in East Jerusalem has Republicans racing to attack the White House as squishy and disloyal to Israel, weak-kneed on foreign policy and even soft on Iran. Democrats, meanwhile, are dealing with sensitive intraparty conflicts between those who want to reiterate America’s strong support for Israel and a more dovish wing that insists a tougher approach to Israel is the best way to push the peace process forward.
“I think candidates are just hiding under their desks because no one wants to get into this,” said Steve Rabinowitz, a longtime Democratic strategist and Clinton administration official who has advised Jewish groups. “This week, the answer is to just not dance.”
In Florida’s Senate race, a spokesman for Republican candidate Marco Rubio told the pro-Israel publication Commentary that the White House had “sent a message that America is not as committed to Israel as it once had been.” Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, meanwhile, put out a coolly worded statement criticizing the administration for using “undiplomatic language” with Israel.