U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While there are two full years before the 2016 US presidential race, the parade of possible candidates to Israel began Monday afternoon in Jerusalem with a meeting between Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Warren, whose name has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, arrived Saturday in Tel Aviv, and is set to also visit Ramallah and Amman. This is the first trip abroad for the senator, elected in 2012, who has so far concentrated largely on US domestic issues.
In addition to meeting Netanyahu on Monday, Warren went to the Knesset, where she witnessed an especially raucous session that featured Balad MK Jamal Zahalka being taken off the podium after calling presiding Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin (Likud) a fascist.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was among the government officials and Knesset members who met Warren, addressed the chaos from the podium, and then extended a welcome to Warren, standing in the balcony and accompanied by US Ambassador Dan Shapiro. The Knesset, which just a moment ago seemed gripped by bedlam, politely applauded her presence.
According to The Boston Globe, Warren has been among only a handful of senators who have not traveled abroad. The paper wrote that while the trip may “reignite speculation of a 2016 presidential run, Warren has been planning to travel to Israel for months.”
According to the Globe, “Warren’s foreign policy views seem to be anti-interventionist, with a skeptical eye to any US military action. In February, delivering her only major speech on foreign policy since she took office, she warned of using military might without considering the implications.”
During an August meeting with constituents, Warren was pressed on her support of Israel and her votes to send money to support its fight against Hamas, and said that Israel was being attacked “indiscriminately” and had a right to fight back even though civilian casualties were the “last thing Israel wants,” the Globe said.
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets,” Warren was quoted as saying. “And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.”
A plank on Israel that appeared on her website when she ran for senate in 2012 said that she believed Israel “must maintain a qualitative military edge and defensible borders.”
“The United States must continue to ensure that Israel can defend itself from terrorist organizations and hostile states, including Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others,” she said. “I also believe firmly that a two-state solution is in the interest of Israel and the United States.
“Lasting peace, however, requires negotiations between the parties themselves, and although the United States can and should aid in this process, we cannot dictate the terms. Unilateral actions, such as the Palestinians’ membership efforts before the United Nations, are unhelpful, and I would support vetoing a membership application,” she said.
Other possible US presidential candidates are scheduled to visit Israel in the coming months.