WASHINGTON (JNS) — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said on Sunday that she “disagreed” with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in March to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“It’s not a good idea to negotiate these things right now, but let me be very clear in how strongly I believe that that promise that the prime minister made during his political campaign was wrong,” she said on stage at the annual J Street Conference in Washington, D.C.
Her reply was in response to a question from former White House National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor, who served under former U.S. President Barack Obama, whether she would condition U.S. assistance to Israel on the Jewish state not fulfilling a campaign promise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank.
“That he was going to annex a third of the West Bank,” she continued. “Also the Golan Heights and what he did there. I disagreed with that.”
Candidates including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have expressed an openness for such a contingency.
Regarding the Golan Heights, Buttigieg told JNS in August that the U.S. recognition was “an intervention in Israeli domestic politics.”
Klobuchar added, “I also strongly disagreed when he, at President Trump’s urging, said that members of Congress couldn’t even visit Israel,” in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) being barred from entering Israel in August for their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
Trump called on Israel to reject the freshmen congresswomen from entering the country.
“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!” he tweeted.
Tlaib was later granted a humanitarian request to visit her elderly grandmother in the West Bank. In the end, she chose not to go.
In her remarks, Klobuchar reiterated her positions, including re-entering the United States into the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Accord, and the need to fight anti-Semitism. She also noted the one-year anniversary of the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 worshippers were killed in the deadliest attack in American Jewish history.
She did not reiterate whether or not she would keep the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, where it was relocated from Tel Aviv in May 2018.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Buttigieg are scheduled to address the J Street conference on Monday.
They, too, plan to sit with the hosts of the weekly podcast “Pod Save the World,” Vietor and former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes to “discuss the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship, their visions for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their plans to combat the growing threat of white supremacy and more,” according to an email from J Street ahead of the conference.
The conference concludes on Tuesday, when participants will lobby J Street’s agenda on Capitol Hill.