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The Divide: How a protest over Israel exposed a serious rift in the Democratic Party



The Divide: How a protest over Israel exposed a serious rift in the Democratic Party

There was chatter among Congressional reporters about wandering over to The Monocle for a drink last Wednesday night. The Monocle is an old-school Capitol Hill watering hole located next to U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters and across the parking lot from the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senators sometimes hang out there while they wait for the body to get its business together for late night votes.

It was pushing 9 p.m. last Wednesday and the Senate was mired in a vote which began at 2:26 p.m.  Senators struggled to work out a deal to finish up its work before Thanksgiving. The only reason reporters still lingered at the Capitol at that hour was because the Senate was slated to vote later to align with the House and avert a government shutdown. There would have been drama surrounding a potential government funding cliff just a few days earlier. But not now. The question was not if the Senate would pass the stopgap spending package – but when. And since there wasn’t an agreement over a pending defense policy bill, the Senate forestalled closing the roll call vote until everything was settled.

That’s when word came from the Capitol Police that all the office buildings on the House side of the Congressional complex were locked down. No one could come or go.

A massive, pro-Palestinian demonstration descended on the Democratic National Committee Headquarters just steps from the House office buildings. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Minority Whip Kathleen Clark, D-Mass., Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., and other Democratic members were at the DNC for an event. Democrats huddled throughout the day at the DNC with campaign operatives and Democratic candidates ahead of the 2024 election cycle.



The protesters encircled the building, demanding a Middle East ceasefire, blocking anyone from entering or leaving the DNC.

The Capitol Police moved in.

Jeffries and Clark have USCP security details due to their leadership positions. The protesters fired tear gas at the Capitol Police. The USCP then began clearing the way to evacuate members from the crowd. USCP arrested one man for assaulting officers.

The protesters injured a total of six officers. 

U.S. Capitol Police secure the U.S. Capitol Building in response to a call for a “Day of Rage” on Oct. 13, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


“Last night’s group was not peaceful,” said the USCP in a statement the next day. “When demonstrations cross the line into illegal activity, it is our responsibility to maintain order.”

Democrats holed up in the DNC and let loose on the protesters.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who is Jewish, characterized them as “pro-Hamas” and “pro-terrorist.” He added that demonstrators “want Republicans” to win in 2024.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is also Jewish and was trapped in the DNC as well.



“When you engage in tactics that are intimidating and certainly blocking access or exit from a building, I think that crosses a line,” said Wasserman Schultz. “It was a very troubling, disturbing situation.”

“We were rescued by armed officers who did not know the protesters intent,” said Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., on Twitter.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., tweeted that she was stuck in her office in the Longworth House Office Building with her newborn baby during the raucous demonstration.

Democrats have a problem.

Rep Anna Paulina Luna

U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) waits for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on February 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. The speech marks Biden’s first address to the new Republican-controlled House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

There is a tear in their party over the Middle East. Progressive, left-wing activists – fueled by college campus outrage – are fracturing the party over calls for a ceasefire and Israel’s assertion to defend itself. That’s to say nothing of controversial comments by Squad members like Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for a ceasefire and criticism of pro-Israeli groups like AIPAC (the American Israel Political Action Committee). 


“I don’t think the Democratic Socialists of America, the Justice Democrats, et cetera, are part of the Democratic coalition,” said Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.

Schneider has long aligned with AIPAC. He voted to sanction Tlaib on the House floor for pushing the trope “from the river to the sea,” which calls for the elimination of Israel.

“What we need is people of good conscience and moral clarity to stand united and say Israel was attacked by a terrorist organization seeking to destroy the country,” said Schneider.

AIPAC is now prepared to run candidates against Democrats who oppose its goals.



Progressive groups warned Jeffries last week that he and Democratic Congressional Committee Chairwoman (DCCC) and Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., need to keep AIPAC out of Democratic primaries.

Republicans have plenty of schisms on their side – between “Reagan” Republicans, the MAGA crowd, the Freedom Caucus and those who just want to lay a blowtorch to everything. That is radioactive. But the political, radioisotopes over the Middle East cauterize like no other issues.

That’s why some on the left now refer to President Biden as “Genocide Joe.”

The New York chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America faced criticism after it included a watermelon on a flyer pushing for a protest of Jeffries. Jeffries is Black. Racists have long used a watermelon to emphasize anti-Black views. The watermelon is also an icon of Palestinians who view Israel as occupiers.

A reporter asked Jeffries last week about the accusation by Rep. Summer Lee, D-Penn., that he shared the stage with Pastor John Hageee at a pro-Israel rally on the National Mall. Lee termed Hagee “an antisemitic bigot,” adding “this must be condemned.” 

Pro-Palestine protestors gather outside of the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan

Pro-Palestine protestors gather outside the New York Public Library. (Stephen Yang for Fox News Digital)

Jeffries replied that he appeared on stage at the rally alongside House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

“I have no idea what she’s talking about,” responded Jeffries to Lee’s accusation.

Republicans might not face the same internecine sniping as Democrats over the Middle East conflict. The GOP is more unified when it comes to standing behind Israel and approving legislation to assist the Jewish state financially and militarily. But there are Republicans who are tired of U.S. involvement in “foreign wars” and the spending which accompanies that. Look no further than the GOP divide over Ukraine. A potential Republican split hasn’t materialized yet over Israel. But it’s something to watch.

Democrats like Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., are now the victims of anti-Israel graffiti and vandalism at their district and state offices.

The rift over the Middle East is more pronounced on the Democratic side as evidenced by the protest at the DNC last week. Republicans certainly have their own special level of chaos after the Speaker debacle and struggles to pass their own spending bills.



But nothing is as volatile as the Middle East. It poses a special level of political problems for the Democratic Party.

That’s why the lockdown of the House office buildings and the tense protest outside the DNC last week was so important. It’s liberals attacking liberals. There’s division among Democratic members as mentioned earlier with the Squad and others. Democrats will struggle to highlight internal Republican dissent over government funding and even threats of violence between lawmakers when members of their own party are clashing over something as flammable as the Middle East.

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Biden expected to raise more than $15 million in star-studded fundraising blitz: Sources



Biden expected to raise more than $15 million in star-studded fundraising blitz: Sources

EXCLUSIVE: President Biden’s re-election campaign is expected to raise more than $15 million this week as he travels across the nation for multiple high-profile and star-studded fundraising events, Fox News Digital has learned.

Two sources close to the campaign and familiar with the president’s fundraising efforts told Fox News Digital that the more $15 million will also include small-dollar donations.


President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on August 15, 2023. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The president attended a fundraising event in Boston, Mass. on Tuesday, which featured a concert by singer-songwriter James Taylor. Front-row tickets sold for $7,500 per seat. 

James Taylor wears a blue jacket, black shirt and pants and plays the guitar wearing a cap at the Gershwin Prize for Joni Mitchell

James Taylor performing on stage. (Shannon Finney)

The president is expected to attend fundraising events in Washington D.C. on Thursday near the White House.

Steven Spielberg and Sasha Speilberg attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

And on Friday, the president will travel to Los Angeles for a Hollywood fundraiser hosted by Steven Spielberg, Shona Rhimes, CEO of Paramount Pictures Jim Gianopulos, actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner, and others.

The Los Angeles event will be at the home of interior designer Michael Smith and his partner James Costos, who had served as former President Obama’s ambassador to Spain.

Director Rob Reiner (R) and wife Michelle Singer Reiner. (Barry King/FilmMagic)

Top tickets for that event are said to be $930,000 each. 



Lenny Kravitz is expected to perform at the event. 

Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz speaks onstage during the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2023 in Hollywood, California.  (Jeff Kravitz)

Barbara Streisand and a slew of other celebrities are expected to attend. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also expected to attend the event.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The expected fundraising haul comes after the campaign’s strongest grassroots fundraising month since the president announced his re-election campaign, a Biden campaign official told Fox News Digital.

Campaign officials told Fox News Digital that in the third quarter, 97% of all donations were under $200 and the average grassroots contribution was $40.


The campaign announced in October that it raised more than $71 million in the third quarter of 2023. The campaign, as of October, also had nearly $91 million in cash on hand, with officials calling that figure “the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate in history at this point in the cycle.”

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U.S. pulling visas from Jewish Israeli settlers who attack West Bank Palestinians



U.S. pulling visas from Jewish Israeli settlers who attack West Bank Palestinians

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced it was banning dozens of Jewish Israeli settlers from traveling to the U.S. because of their involvement in brutal attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank aimed at driving people from their homes and taking away their land.

Extremist settlers suspected of violence who already have U.S. visas will find them to be canceled, and any applying now for a visa will be denied, U.S. officials said. The measure is punitive: Many settlers have family in the U.S. and highly value having a visa for travel there.

The settlers’ attacks are unacceptable, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in making the announcement Tuesday.


“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said in a statement.

U.S. officials said they were taking action because Israel has largely failed to arrest, prosecute or punish settlers who have burned Palestinian homes and olive groves, stolen their sheep and shot members of Palestinian families.

The politically powerful settler bloc is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

The Palestinian Authority, which nominally governs the West Bank, says 260 Palestinians have been killed there since Oct. 7 in various attacks.

A number of West Bank Palestinians who have engaged in violence against Israelis will also be subject to the visa ban, U.S. officials said. The number is smaller because Israel usually arrests Palestinian offenders while ignoring the Jewish settlers guilty of similar crimes, U.S. officials said.


Palestinians regard the West Bank as part of a future independent state. But settlers also lay claim to the land and have constructed communities across the West Bank, chopping it up into a noncontiguous pieces that would make a cohesive Palestinian state next to impossible. The settlements are considered illegal under international law.

In Israel, initial reaction to the visa ban was angry. Benny Gantz, a former opposition politician and now member of the war cabinet, said at a news conference that the majority of settlers in the West Bank were “law-abiding people” and that the violence was only the work of a group of extremists.

Even before the Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel by the Hamas militant group, which touched off the now 2-month-old war in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were being terrorized by settlers.

At the same time, the Israeli army was mounting numerous raids in the West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians, some civilians and others whom Israel claimed to be militants from various groups, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

It was the deadliest period for Palestinians since the second intifada, or uprising, which began in 2000.


Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups say the most insidious West Bank violence comes from the settlers, who act as vigilante mobs with impunity, often under the protection of Israeli soldiers.

U.S. officials have referred to the settlers’ actions in the West Bank as Jewish terrorism. They said they are confident they have enough evidence to choose which settlers to ban, even though they have not faced an Israeli court. Stability in the West Bank is essential, the officials said, to prevent the current war from spreading beyond Gaza.

U.S. authorities will begin issuing the bans Tuesday, and “more will be coming in the coming days,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. “We expect ultimately this action will impact dozens of individuals and potentially their family members.”

Blinken and others have repeatedly urged the Netanyahu government to crack down on rampaging settlers, to no avail. Last week in Israel, Blinken told Netanyahu that the U.S. would take the visa restriction actions regardless of what the Israeli government does in response.

What impact the move will have remains to be seen. Israeli civilian and military authorities have appeared largely impervious to U.S. entreaties to minimize civilian casualties in the war and to allow the entry into Gaza of food, medicine, water and fuel.


Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris in recent days have repeatedly lamented the number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza and told Israel that its offensive launched this week in the southern half of the Gaza Strip must not replicate the devastation of the barrage on the northern half.

But the death toll in southern Gaza, especially around the city of Khan Younis, is already similar to that of the first days of the northern offensive. Israel ordered Gazans to flee to the south for safety and is now attacking the south, to where more than a million people have been displaced.

Under U.S. pressure, Israel agreed to set up “de-confliction” zones, or safe areas, in which Palestinians can shelter, but the United Nations and other aid groups say those areas are vastly overcrowded, suffering without sufficient food or water, and are not necessarily safe.

Israel is also notifying Gazans of neighborhoods that will be bombed so that they might flee. But the notifications usually require receivers to have access to electricity or an internet connection to be effective, and few Gazans have either, U.N. officials say.

Miller said that it was too soon to evaluate the civilian death toll in the south, but that “Israel is not doing enough” to ease the humanitarian siege.


New focus, meanwhile, is being given to reports of rape and sexual violence committed by Hamas against Israeli women and girls. Hamas has said it did not use rape as a weapon of war, but testimony from witnesses is being gathered by the U.N. and Israel that describe numerous cases of sexual torture.

“Over the past few weeks, survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty,” President Biden said Tuesday. “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them. It is appalling.”

Biden said Hamas’ refusal to release a last batch of female hostages, ages 20 to 39 and mostly civilian, caused Friday’s collapse of a fragile truce that had seen freedom for about 100 hostages and a surge in humanitarian aid for Gaza. Fighting immediately resumed.

In addition to hostage-taking, the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 killed 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, mostly civilians, Israel said, and Israeli bombardment of the densely populated Gaza enclave has killed at least 16,000 people, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

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Tuberville ends blockade of most military promotions after months-long abortion fight



Tuberville ends blockade of most military promotions after months-long abortion fight

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., announced on Tuesday he is finally backing down from his hold on hundreds of military promotions to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

Tuberville told reporters he would release all holds except for four-star generals after a nine-month long protest that angered several of his colleagues, including Republicans who feared the stalled promotions would impact military readiness. 

The former college football coach claimed he could not continue his hold after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “changed the rules” in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual must-pass defense spending bill. 

“I’d love to have had five downs in football instead of four, but you can’t do it. It’s got to be fair for everybody,” Tuberville said. “So that being said, I’m not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer. We just released them.” 



Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., arrives for the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.  (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Tuberville began blocking President Biden’s military nominations in February over what he said was the Pentagon’s “illegal” policy of providing travel expense reimbursement to service members who seek an abortion. The Biden administration adopted the policy last year in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and held the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. 

Almost 400 military nominations have since been in limbo due to Tuberville’s blanket hold on confirmations and promotions for senior military officers. It’s a Tuberville’s opponents say has left key national security positions unfilled and military families with an uncertain path forward.


Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville

Tuberville maintained his hold on military promotions for nine months before Senate Democrats attempted to out-maneuver him with a rules change.  (Caroline Brehman/Pool via REUTERS)

In October, a bipartisan group of lawmakers planned to maneuver around Tuberville’s hold by introducing a rules change in the Senate Rules Committee that would allow them to approve a batch of nominees through 2024.


Majority Leader Schumer last week said he would bring a resolution to the Senate floor that would adopt the rules change and circumvent Tuberville. 


Chuck Schumer speaks to press on debt ceiling

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would move forward with military promotions as soon as possible, and that he hopes no one will attempt Tuberville’s strategy again.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

After Tuberville’s announcement, Schumer spoke at a press conference and said that lawmakers would move the delayed military promotions as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

“I want to say, in regarding Senator Tuberville, in regards to Tuberville finally lifting his unnecessary and harmful holds on our nation’s military officials, I’m happy that we can finally move forward and give these men and women the promotions they deserve. I plan to move these promotions as soon as possible, possibly later this afternoon,” Schumer said.  


He added, “I hope no one does this again, and I hope they learn the lesson of Senator Tuberville. And that is: He held out for many, many months, hurt our national security, caused discombobulation to so many military families who have been so dedicated to our country and didn’t get anything he wanted. It’s a risky strategy that will not succeed. I hope it doesn’t happen again.” 

Fox News Digital’s Jamie Joseph and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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