On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on the Taylor Force Act, a bill that would effectively cut off funds to Palestinian terrorists. The bill passed 16-5 and will makes its way to the upper house for a floor-wide Senate vote. The bill had bipartisan support, with a handful of Democrats joining every single Republican on the committee.
Democratic Senators Ben Cardin of Maryland, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Menendez of New Jersey and Ed Markey of Massachusetts voted in favor of the bill, according to Haaretz.
Shockingly, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic politician who is relatively well-respected in the pro-Israel community, voted against the bill, siding with hardline leftists.
Now: Senate Foreign Relations Committee (16-5) passes the Taylor Force Act and advances it to a floor-wide vote (Shaheen, Booker, no)— Aaron Magid (@AaronMagid) August 3, 2017
What should worry friends of Israel about Cory Booker's votes: Booker's a weather vane, not an ideologue. He's following Dem sentiment.— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 3, 2017
The move is alarming given just how morally straightforward the Taylor Force Act appears to be.
The bill calls on "all donor countries" that send funds to the Palestinian authority to "cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror." In addition, it establishes certain preconditions for the PA to receive aid, including the the revocation of "any law, decree, regulation, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation" for terrorists and their families.
If anything, the bill isn’t as harsh as it could be, thanks to the last-minute maneuvering of Democratic lawmakers.
“The committee also approved an amendment proposed by Senator Kaine which would attach a one-year escrow to the bill, meaning that the money supposed to go the Palestinian Authority will be kept in a bond for one year, giving the PA an opportunity to prove that it has changed its practice of paying the terrorists and their families,” notes Haaretz.
Notably, the bill honors the memory of Taylor Force, the 29-year-old American army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa during a scheduled visit to Israel with his fellow Vanderbilt University graduate students.
So why did Booker vote against the bill?
Here’s a guy who has regularly condemned “one-sided” U.N. resolutions targeting Israel. In fact, the New Jersey senator strongly pushed back against the Obama administration’s decision in early January to abstain from a rabidly anti-Israel U.N. resolution condemning Israel with blood libels and false accusations.
“One-sided resolutions in the UN Security Council that isolate Israel in the international community will not move us closer to a two-state solution and to peace,” Booker said in a statement released late last year. “We need direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people, and I urge the Administration do everything in its power to stop this resolution from moving forward.”
Sadly, Booker’s move to the left may be more a reflection of the state of the Democratic party than anything else.
Booker knows full well that the party of identity politics and ideological purity tests has little tolerance for dissent. If he wants to make a presidential run in 2020, then he needs the support of both left-wing activist groups and the Democratic leadership.
While the Democratic leadership has been more or less on Israel’s side when push comes to shove, the recent wave of left-wing populism, heralded by socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, has placed pressure on the party’s old guard to embrace the new “progressive” coalition, the Linda Sarsours, the Islamophobia industry, the Black Lives Matters zealots, the trans activists, and, of course, the violently anti-Israel left.