Hours before the official inauguration of the United States embassy in Jerusalem, controversy erupted over the fact that not a single Democratic congressman was scheduled to attend the historic event.
Four U.S. Senators addressed members of the press at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Monday morning, hours before the official relocation of the U.S. embassy — and all four were Republicans.
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mike Lee (R-UT) made the trip, along with ten Republican U.S. Representatives — but not one Democrat joined the U.S. delegation for the embassy event.
According to Israeli reporter Ariel Kahane, Wilson “opened his [delegation] to any member [of Congress] who wanted to come.” He cited “people involved in the process” as saying the Democratic leadership in Congress “blocked its members” from attending the embassy opening, Times of Israel reported.
Not correct. Every member of Congress was invited through the congressional delegation (codel) of congress member Joe Wilson who opened his codel to any member who wanted to come. People involved in the process blame the democratic leadership of congress blocked its members https://t.co/7PKqEE6RPn
— Ariel Kahana אריאל כהנא (@arik3000) May 14, 2018
And here lies the real question, “And so the downward slide in support for Israel in the Democratic party continues. When will the American Jews, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, wake up to the fact that their party of choice is abandoning them?”
And so the downward slide in support for Israel in the Democratic party continues. When will the American Jews, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, wake up to the fact that their party of choice is abandoning them?
— IsraelTal (@IsraelTal18) May 14, 2018
The Democrats boycotted this historic event because of their disdain for President Trump, they are obstructionists.
Only former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) — who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 before being rejected by his party in 2006 for his support of the Iraq War — came to Jerusalem to join in the festivities.
Two journalists asked the Republican Senators why no Democrats had come.
Sen. Cruz said: “That is a sad, sad manifestation — I wish we had every member of Congress here … every member of Congress had the option before them to come.”
Sen. Graham said that no one, Republican or Democrat, had been specifically invited to the ceremony — they simply chose to come or they did not. And he noted that only Republicans had come of their own volition.
“It’s not for me to tell you what that says,” Graham said. “It hurts me.”
He noted that the absence of Democrats sent a dangerous message that Americans were not united in their support for Israel.
“There’s too much going on in this region to send mixed signals,” he said.
Breitbart News spoke to Sen. Lieberman separately and asked him whether he was disappointed that no Democrats had come to the embassy opening.
“I’m not disappointed, but I’m surprised, because support for it has been broadly bipartisan.”
“I hope that the Democratic members had [scheduling] conflicts and they had to be somewhere else,” he said. “I hope that they don’t see this as some kind of pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem. It’s not. Its a pro-US-Israel friendship-partnership-alliance rally. And it’s celebrating the strength of our relationship, which has been always bipartisan.”
He recalled: “I was part of the group that worked to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995. There was Bob Dole and John Kyl on the Republican side, and myself and Pat Moynihan on the Democratic side, and it got 95 votes.
“I don’t want there to be a misimpression that this is a partisan act. And I would hope that Democrats understand that this is not a pro-Trump rally. It is a pro-U.S.-Israel partnership, alliance rally.”
Sen Graham observed that the partisan divide over Israel seemed to have grown deeper since President Barack Obama signed the Iran deal, over the objections of Republicans and the Israeli government.
Sen. Lee noted that Iran deal had lacked the consent of the American people.
“There was no backup for this deal, not to the degree contemplated under the Constitution.
“Shame on them for not submitting it to the Senate … We had no business entering into an agreement like that, with that many ramifications, without the Senate backing it up.”
Lee praised President Trump’s courage in deciding to move the embassy, as did Sen. Heller.
“Except for President Trump … and his promises made and promises kept during the last campaign, we wouldn’t be here today,” Heller said.
Sen. Cruz also praised Trump, likening his decision to that of President Harry S. Truman — a Democrat — to recognize Israel 70 years ago, 11 minutes after it declared independence.
Graham agreed, calling the president’s decision to move the embassy a “strong, bold move, not just by the president but by the American people.”
“[Trump] has a new way about him,” Graham added. He’s not stuck into the swamp, for lack of a better word.”
“If you have a problem with Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, I tell people in South Carolina somewhat jokingly, take it up with God,” he said.
Asked how the embassy move served American interests, Graham said, “In a time of great turmoil and doubt, where the region in fracturing in many fissures, this is a certain statement that I think will give the region more certainty about who America is.
“Look at this as the cavalry coming in a symbolic and substantive way.”
Cruz added: “By moving the embassy American simultaneously makes clear that we are willing to stand with our friends … and stand up to our enemies.”
Asked whether he was concerned about threats of violence by Palestinians, Cruz quipped: “It is not as if the terrorists need an excuse.”
He added that “Israel is more than ready for peace … The impediment to peace is Palestinian leadership that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and continues to embrace and celebrate terrorism.”