Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is pushing back on the anti-Israel positions of ‘The Squad,’ calling them “misguided” and “fringe.”
Fetterman, who is currently leading in the polls for the Democratic Pennsylvania Senate primary, is associated with the left wing of the party, having endorsed both of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. He became lieutenant governor in 2018 by defeating incumbent Mike Stack in a primary where Sanders returned the favor.
Although Fetterman embraces the progressive label, he told Jewish Insider, he does not support the anti-Israel positions of many left-wing Democrats. He took particular issue with eight House Democrats, including three members of the “The Squad,” who voted against replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in September 2021. (RELATED: Democrat, Republicans Accuse Rashida Tlaib Of Anti-Semitism As Iron Dome Debate Devolves Into Shouting Match)
“Israel has the supreme right to defend itself, especially when there are thousands of rockets being indiscriminately fired at innocent civilians,” Fetterman said. “I believe that the vote was misguided, and that is something that I would never be a part of.”
John Fetterman says he was “dismayed” by the Squad’s opposition of Iron Dome funding for Israel — and adds other choice words for the left wing of his party.
Must read interview w @matthewkassel: https://t.co/CJZB3dCd8L
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) April 11, 2022
Fetterman also spoke out against the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which many pro-Israel advocates have labeled anti-Semitic.
“It’s just wrong,” he said. “Israel is our closest ally and friend in the region, and I do not believe that is anything productive that enhances not only Israel’s security but the region’s security through that process.”
“The views that I hold in no way go along the lines of some of the more fringe or extreme wings of our party,” Fetterman added.
Many left-wing groups have made opposition to Israel a litmus test for politicians seeking their support. A group within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) attempted to expel “Squad” member and Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman over his vote to fund the Iron Dome and a trip to Israel he attended that was led by the left-wing group J Street. The move was ultimately unsuccessful.
Other “Squad” members and their allies have made explicit opposition to Israel key parts of their political identities. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar equated Israel with the Taliban and Hamas terrorists, and has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments on several occasions. Illinois Rep. Marie Newman promised a political consultant that she would oppose aid to Israel in an arrangement that is currently under an Ethics Committee investigation.
Fetterman’s chief opponent in the primary, Rep. Conor Lamb, has also expressed support for Israel, leading the advocacy group Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) to decline to endorse a candidate in the race.
“People identify him with the left, with the far left, even,” DMFI president Mark Mellman said of Fetterman. “I don’t think he necessarily identifies himself with the far left, but the reality is, whatever his positions may be on other issues he is very much a down-the-line, pro-Israel Democrat.”