Democrats critical of Israel switch tune after Iran attack: 'Popular to be pro-Israel again'

Some Democrats used the occasion to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
Missile, Iran, 2010

Many Democrats who were critical of Israel and even pressuring the country to agree to a cease-fire with Gaza are now saying they support Israel after Iran's major attack, leading to questions about how long their support for Israel will last. 

"It is politically popular to be pro-Israel again!" New York Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres, a vocal supporter of Israel, joked on X Sunday. "Count on me to be pro-Israel even when it becomes unpopular again, as it inevitably will. A fair-weather friend is no friend at all."

After Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel over the weekend, some Democrats are now voicing their support for Israel after heavily criticizing the country's response to Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023, attack, and calling for a cease-fire.

For example, Sen. Chris Van Hollen previously accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of enabling Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran, and he made multiple posts online criticizing Israel and calling for a cease-fire.

"I condemn the Iranian attack on Israel and support Israel's right to defend itself against this aggression," Van Hollen wrote on X.

Vice President Kamala Harris has also been critical of Israel's actions in Gaza and called for a cease-fire, but Saturday she said on X: "Our support for Israel’s security is ironclad, and we stand with the people of Israel in defense against these attacks."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has condemned Israel's response in Gaza and called for a temporary cease-fire, said after Iran's attack that the U.S.'s "commitment to Israel's security is ironclad."

Others, however, used the Islamic Republic's attack to demand Israel agree to a cease-fire in Gaza.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote on X that she condemns Iran's attacks and that the "U.S. supports the Israeli people during this difficult moment." But she also said: "We need an urgent deescalation and a cease-fire in Gaza to prevent a wider regional conflict."

Other Democrats who used the occasion to reiterate their demands for a cease-fire include Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Notably, Iran never stated that the attack was in response to activities in Gaza. Instead, Iran stated that the barrage was in response to alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria earlier this month that resulted in the deaths of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whose original support for Israel in its battle against Hamas has waned after several months and become stark criticism, did not even address Iran's attack on Israel, but he did call out the country for its war in Gaza. 

"More Americans, including mainstream media, understand that the U.S. cannot continue to blindly fund Netanyahu's war machine, which is causing a humanitarian disaster in Gaza. We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children to starve," he wrote on X.

Regardless, the Biden administration has reportedly told Israel it would not assist in any counter-strike against Iran over concerns that it could lead to a larger regional conflict.

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