New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker has been mentioned as a possible contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but his chances at becoming the nominee may have just taken a significant hit.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Booker was in attendance at the progressive Netroots Nation conference on Friday when he posed for a picture with a group of activists while holding a sign that demanded the removal of security barriers around the nation of Israel.
The activists were part of a radical anti-Israel organization known as U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and the sign Booker was pictured holding read, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” a leftist slogan based on the impossible Utopian vision of an open borders world … and a nation of Israel unable to defend its territory and people from those who threaten it.
The picture of Booker with the activists was posted to Twitter by the radical group with a caption that read: “Excited to be here at Netroots Nation talking with progressives like Sen. Cory Booker about our shared commitment to freedom, justice, and equality for all people.”
— Palestinian Rights (@US_Campaign) August 3, 2018
Not surprisingly, Booker’s office soon received pushback over his holding the sign with an anti-Israel message and initially remained silent until controversy began to build and a statement was eventually released.
“Just before delivering a speech in New Orleans, Senator Booker was approached by dozens of people for photos,” explained Jeff Giertz, a spokesman for Booker, in an emailed statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“In one instance, amid the rush, he was posing for a photo and was passed a sign to hold — he didn’t have time to read the sign, and from his cursory glance he thought it was talking about Mexico and didn’t realize it had anything to do with Israel,” Giertz continued.
“He hopes for a day when there will be no need for security barriers in the State of Israel, but while active terrorist organizations threaten the safety of the people living in Israel, security barriers are unfortunate but necessary to protect human lives,” the spokesman added.
JTA noted that Booker is quite popular with his Jewish constituents in New Jersey and has portrayed himself as a solid supporter of the nation of Israel.
But while Booker’s spokesman may claim that the senator supports Israel’s security barriers to protect them against “active terrorist organizations” that threaten them, his claim rings hollow when the senator poses for a picture with and holds a sign in support of a group that has ties to “active terrorist organizations” that have threatened to attack and ultimately destroy Israel.
Indeed, The Times of Israel reported in June that the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights served as a sort of umbrella group for hundreds of smaller organizations that are involved in the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement, which seeks to punish and ruin Israel through economic means.
Worse than that, the group has financial ties to a Gaza- and West Bank-based organization known as the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which in turn hosts as members recognized “active terrorist organizations” such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, though it is unclear if funds raised by the U.S. organization were being directly funneled into the coffers of the terrorist groups.
The U.S. pro-Palestinian group has made it quite clear that they stand opposed to the security barriers, fences and walls Israel has built along their borders with the Palestinian territories. Those barriers have been credited by many as the most effective counter-terrorism tool utilized by the Israelis and is responsible for the steep decline in suicide bombings and other terror attacks inside Israeli territory.
Booker may win some additional support among the anti-Israel far-left of his party’s base, but it will likely come at the expense of support among Democrat-aligned liberal Jewish groups he has previously stood alongside.
Of course, Booker could also end up losing support from both the anti- and pro-Israel wings of his party, given the pathetic manner in which he has tried to weasel out of the backlash he received over this picture. The 2020 Democratic primary is going to be interesting, to say the least.
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