The choice of an Israeli wine for the Passover seder at the vice president’s residence shouldn’t have been a controversial decision. Instead, however, Kamala Harris’ office handled it so ineptly it’s creating a kerfuffle on the left.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, anti-Israeli activists are hitting Harris on choosing a wine from an area they consider to be Palestinian land.
(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve been chronicling anti-Israeli sentiment — including the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement and its anti-Semitic roots. We’ll continue bringing America the truth — and you can help us by subscribing.)
On Friday, Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, hosted the first Passover seder dinner at the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, and they shared photos of the event on Twitter.
This evening the @SecondGentleman and I hosted a Passover Seder at our home and recounted one of humankind’s most inspiring stories. By retelling the Israelites’ journey from oppression to freedom, we remind ourselves that we must always keep the faith and fight for others. pic.twitter.com/VRx9p9yspC
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) April 16, 2022
Tonight, @VP and I were honored to celebrate Passover with our hardworking staff by holding a Seder at the Vice President’s Residence.
Whether you’re celebrating with your family, your work family, or the family you have chosen, we wish you all a Happy Passover! pic.twitter.com/g9qLOHqFUM
— Douglas Emhoff (@SecondGentleman) April 16, 2022
What could possibly go wrong?
Ask Michael Bueckert, vice president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a Canadian nongovernmental organization that is critical of Israeli settlements and advocates for a Palestinian state.
“Huge yikes: Kamala Harris @VP served wine from Psagot at her Passover Seder,” Bueckert tweeted.
“It is produced in an illegal Israeli settlement which is colonizing the occupied West Bank. This demonstrates serious contempt for Palestinians and int’l law.”
Huge yikes: Kamala Harris @VP served wine from Psagot at her Passover Seder. It is produced in an illegal Israeli settlement which is colonizing the occupied West Bank. This demonstrates serious contempt for Palestinians and int’l law. https://t.co/UvUMG7bEeI
— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) April 16, 2022
Naturally, this brought out the perpetually outraged, especially since the Psagot winery is a huge target of the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement, which seeks to isolate Israel as the international community did apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
They should have known better. She wouldn’t make this mistake with wine from Kashmir or Kosovo – or with products breaking the ban on Russia.
— Lior Suliman (@EnT_T) April 17, 2022
Exactly. How did NO ONE on their staff stop this?!?!
— Daisy *protect Trans youth* Blackstone (@LadyLibertyJane) April 17, 2022
How do you celebrate Passover supposedly a celebration of freedom by drinking wine from stolen lands and taking away other people freedom. It’s all contradiction and hypocrisy.
— BM (@baileymansur) April 16, 2022
What should the response by the vice president’s office have been? Absolutely nothing. This isn’t a controversy except on the far left.
Apparently, however, the veep’s office felt these were the people it needed to appease.
“The wine served at the Seder was in no way intended to be an expression of policy,” tweeted Herbie Ziskind, one of Harris’ top advisers.
The wine served at the Seder was in no way intended to be an expression of policy. https://t.co/ONLP3UU0ZF
— Herbie Ziskend (@HerbieZiskend46) April 17, 2022
The Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo noted the issues with this capitulation, however.
“Ziskend’s statement was meant to soothe BDS activists who had blasted the vice president for buying a product from an area they consider occupied Palestinian territory. Ziskend’s attempt to defuse the controversy, however, generated more doubts about the Biden administration’s commitment to battle the BDS movement,” he wrote.
“While the White House has expressed vocal opposition to the BDS movement, its State Department has hired several officials who have publicly backed Israel boycotts and have been critical of the Jewish state,” Kredo said.
“The Washington Free Beacon first reported in March that the administration is offering nearly $1 million in grant money for groups to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, an effort that critics say is meant to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state.”
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The left wing of the Democratic Party — particularly the so-called squad and those in its orbit — have pushed an anti-Israel BDS agenda. The people in charge assured us the adults in the room were handling things.
In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said politicians needed to be “vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy and that includes BDS.”
That was in 2019. What’s changed?
Well, quite simply, the “adults in the room” have become a lot more indulgent of the pro-BDS children who view Israel as a human rights violation masquerading as a nation-state. When they complain, the people in the White House are more than willing to hop-to in order to appease them.
The ineptitude of Harris’ office has given ammunition to ultra-leftists who help stir up unrest in the Middle East and take the side of the Palestinians without fail, excusing attacks up to and including terrorism while condemning Israel at every turn.
As Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz pointed out to the Free Beacon, this is at odds with the White House’s insistence Israel has no greater friend than the United States.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris just can’t help themselves. They say they support Israel, but they take every opportunity they can to bolster anti-Israel boycott campaigns,” Cruz said. “It’s disgraceful.”
“The State Department is already giving nearly $1 million to subsidize the international NGO campaign to demonize and isolate Israel, and now the vice president’s office is wringing their hands about where in Israel her wine came from,” he added.
“The only trade policy the United States should have toward Israel is that we want to trade with Israel, full stop.”
However, a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon it rejects the BDS movement’s desire to isolate Israel.
The administration sure has a funny way of showing it.