For anyone wondering how Democrats really feel about Israel — forget their nonstop kowtowing to Jews during every campaign and their endless pledges to help the nation — look no further than this fact: Not a single Democrat attended Monday’s ceremony in Jerusalem to declare the city the capital of Israel.
“That is a sad, sad manifestation. I wish he’d have every member of Congress here,” Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Monday in Jerusalem. “I’m gratified for those who come but I am saddened [by those who didn’t]. Support for Israel shouldn’t be a bipartisan issue. And it is worrisome that the fallout of president [Barack] Obama’s Iran deal is that more and more we’re seeing a divide among partisan lines. It’s not good for Israel, it’s not good for America.”
Cruz attended the ceremony with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV). Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) is also leading a delegation of 10 Republican lawmakers to Israel this week.
Graham said he had personally tried to persuade several Democrats to attend the ceremony, but with no success.
“I am disappointed that not one Democrat came. What does that say? It’s not for me to tell you what that says. It hurts me. Because I work across the aisle on a regular basis. I think it was a mistake, because there’s too much going on in this region,” Graham said, noting that there has long been bipartisan support for American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“This has been the policy on the stump forever,” he said.
Cruz, meanwhile, said no invitation was needed to attend. “None of us were invited,” he said, but arrangements had been made to accommodate anyone who wanted to attend.
“Any member of Congress could have come here as part of the delegation,” Cruz said. “All 435 House members could have come. All 100 senators. There was no administration invitation. There was no one in the White House deciding we won’t ask those Congressmen to come.”
Israeli reporter Ariel Kahane rejected reports from Democratic leadership in Congress that Wilson’s delegation to Israel had “blocked its members” from attending the embassy opening on Monday.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a longtime Democrat who became an independent in his last run for office, also attended the ceremony and said he was disappointed Democrats didn’t go.
“I hope that the Democratic members had [scheduling] conflicts and they had to be somewhere else,” he told The Times of Israel. “I hope that they don’t see this as some kind of pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem. It’s not. Its a pro-U.S.-Israel friendship-partnership-alliance rally. And it’s celebrating the strength of our relationship, which has been always bipartisan.”
Lieberman, who in 2006 left the Democratic party and ran as an Independent until he quit politics in 2013, was one of the co-sponsors of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated the mission’s relocation but included a waiver allowing the president to delay the move for six months at a time. The law was co-sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats. It got 95 out of 100 votes in the Senate. In the House it received 374 yes votes and 37 no votes.
“Over the years, there has been tremendous bipartisan support for moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” said Lieberman. “I’m confident it’s going to stay that way. The fact that there are no Democrats here from Congress is kind of aberration, but I think you’re going to find us to go through this year and in the future there will be a continuation of bipartisan support in Congress for the US-Israel relationship and Israel.”
Graham summed up the situation. “If you’ve got a problem with Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, take it up with God,” Graham said on Fox News.