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Why Is It So Hard To Talk About The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Supporters of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) take part in an anti-Israel protest rally in Islamabad on May 21, 2021.
Supporters of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) take part in an anti-Israel protest rally in Islamabad on May 21, 2021.

How America talks about one of its closest allies is starting to change — at least, on the left. But U.S. policy toward Israel remains the same. 

NPR’s Asma Khalid reports:

For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have stood by Israel, almost unconditionally, insisting the country has a right to defend itself.

President Biden did that throughout the recent conflict as Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets into Israel. Now, Biden has pledged to help replenish Israel’s air defense system while promising humanitarian aid to Gaza, which was pounded by fierce Israeli airstrikes before a cease-fire took effect early Friday.

But this latest violence marked a shift in the American political debate over Israel. The criticism from the left was louder than in the past, with progressives pressuring Biden to speak up forcefully in support of Palestinians, who saw a far greater civilian death toll in recent days.

President Biden has expressed his steadfast support for the country’s right to defend itself. 

What’s different about the conversation this time? And why has it been so hard to talk about Israel — and the search for lasting peace with Palestinians?

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

Kathryn Fink
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