Democratic senator Cory Booker has long been the protégé of a grifter known as rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an ardent right-wing, anti-evolution advocate of Israel who cares nothing for Palestinian rights. Booker, like many politicians, has been a frequent speaker at AIPAC conferences, the premier Israel lobby organization, and spoken of his unswerving loyalty to Israel, ignoring the rights of Palestinians and the way they have been treated by Israel. But the mood is changing when it comes to giving Israel a pass on its human rights abuses, especially in the Democratic party, along with the rise of the BDS movement.
Since Booker is now running for president, he clearly feels that he needs to become more circumspect, at least in his public remarks. Alex Emmons of The Intercept has released a secretly recorded tape of Booker talking privately with members of AIPAC, where he marched in lockstep with that main organ of the Israel lobby.
IN A CLOSED-DOOR meeting with activists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday, presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., spoke about working closely with the organization and his desire to create a “unified voice from Congress” against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, or BDS.
In describing his opposition to anti-Semitism, Booker continually brought up congressional legislation aimed at punishing BDS, a global movement focused on pressuring Israel to end human rights violations and its military occupation of the Palestinian territories. The disruption of BDS activism is an Israeli foreign policy priority, and AIPAC has successfully lobbied Congress, as well as numerous state and local legislatures, to sanction the BDS movement.
Philip Weiss quotes Booker’s remarks extensively and comments:
Yesterday the Intercept published a secret recording of Senator Cory Booker meeting with a New Jersey delegation at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington last week — AIPAC is the leading Israel lobby organization — and the speech is so over the top it’s hard to fathom.
And Booker says not one word about Palestinian human rights or Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. That’s right. A progressive senator who invokes Martin Luther King Jr. over and over again has not one word to say about the Jim Crow status of Palestinians while describing Israel as a “country that I love so deeply, that changed my life from the day I went there as a 24 year old.”
As Emmons says, both AIPAC and Booker clearly want to keep this meeting on the down low because the base of the Democratic party no longer gives uncritical support for Israel while ignoring Palestinians.
AIPAC did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for Booker reviewed a transcript of the audio and confirmed that it matched what was said, but declined to comment further.
It will be interesting to see if Booker is asked on the campaign trail about Israel’s appalling treatment of Palestinians.