US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Top Democratic lawmakers are warning the Trump administration against using Israel for short-term political gain, a move they fear might erode bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
In a letter sent to the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Democrats on the House Foreign Relations Committee, including ranking member Eliot Engel of New York, Ted Deutch of Florida and Brad Sherman of California, accused the president and his aides of acting with “political considerations” on Israel policy, citing their decision not to invite any Democrats to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem earlier this month.
Several Democrats supported the embassy move.
“On many previous occasions of importance to the US and Israel, such as funerals or other national ceremonies, the White House has organized bipartisan participation of members of Congress. Unfortunately, this was the not the path taken by the administration for the embassy dedication in Jerusalem,” reads the letter, first obtained by the Jewish Insider, an online newsletter based in Washington.
“This episode raises serious concerns about how information is being relayed to our ambassadors at post,” it continues, “and whether our diplomats are receiving communications tainted by partisan political considerations.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly embraced Donald Trump and his policies, on the heels of his acrimonious relationship with his predecessor, Barack Obama, leaving the Israel advocacy community in Washington with concerns that the relationship may develop a partisan appearance.
The Democrats further claimed the administration was intentionally pursuing “a dangerous effort to politicize the US-Israel relationship.”
Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has recently denied accusations he is part of any campaign to politicize the alliance, telling Channel 10 that any perceived slights from the embassy event were unintentional.