In light of being given the go-ahead to prepare for a possible transition, Joe Biden is expected, this week, to announce his picks for potential presidential Cabinet positions. On Monday, team Biden reportedly floated Obama administration alum Antony Blinken as Biden’s pick for Secretary of State.
Few Democrats, it seems, responded to the selection with enthusiasm, according to The Associated Press, which indicated, Monday, that Blinken is likely to take up the Obama-era foreign policy strategy — a strategy progressives like “squad” member Rep Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), apparently believe is too focused on the United States’ only democratic ally in the Middle East.
“So long as he doesn’t suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s racist and inhumane policies. The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice,” Tlaib sneered on Twitter, in response to a positive review of Blinken from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) former campaign chief, Faiz Shakur.
At first, Tlaib’s comments don’t quite make sense. After all, as the AP notes, Blinken, a former “deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser” is not likely to nearly as friendly to Israel as any Trump administration official, something the notorious “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” supporter Tlaib should be pleased about.
But social media users quickly pointed out that Tlaib was commenting on Blinken’s background, not his credentials, according to Fox News.
“Biden names a Jew to his cabinet What’s Rashida’s response?! ‘Welp, as long as that Judische pick doesn’t stop me from focusing my hatred on one country, Israel, then he’s a good Jew!’ It’s not your 1A right you’re trying to protect but your vile Jew-hatred! That’s ALL yours!” replied Dov Hikind, former Democratic New York State Assemblyman.
“You can just say you’re worried because he’s Jewish,” the Republican Jewish Coalition fired back.
Indeed, Tlaib followed up on her statements Monday, demanding that Blinken reverse the Trump administration’s decision to condemn the BDS movement.
“Sec. Pompeo has moved to suppress BDS [Boycott, Divest, and Sanction], a peaceful protest movement protected by the 1st Amendment. I hope that Mr. Blinken and President-Elect Biden’s Administration will change course from Trump’s State Department & not target or suppress support of Palestinian human rights.”
Tlaib is regularly criticized for her comments on Israel and comments directed at her Jewish colleagues. Most recently, Tlaib was accused of spreading anti-Semitic “blood libel,” retweeting a story accusing Israeli settlers of torturing and murdering a Palestinian boy, according to the Washington Examiner, and earlier in November, Tlaib was criticized for appearing on a panel discussing anti-Semitism, per Fox News.
As Biden prepares for a possible administration, the battle lines between ‘moderate” Democrats and progressives have become clearer. Despite progressive hopes that Biden would bring far-left activists and policy experts onto his transition team, so far, Biden has pressed further toward the middle, largely indicating that he intends any possible first presidential term to be, essentially, a third term for the Obama White House.
In addition to Blinken, Biden also resurrected the career of former Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Biden’s team says he will appoint as “Climate Czar.”
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