Fetterman shows support for a U.S. ally — and bravely stands his ground
search
OpinionGuest Columnist

Fetterman shows support for a U.S. ally — and bravely stands his ground

Fetterman has shown a great deal of strength and commitment in his response to the crisis faced by Israel.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) speaks at an Orthodox Union event on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10, 2023. (Credit: Courtesy of Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.)
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) speaks at an Orthodox Union event on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10, 2023. (Credit: Courtesy of Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.)

On Jan. 27, 2024, in an incident that crossed the firm line between protest and targeted harassment, a group of Palestinian independence protesters gathered outside of Sen. John Fetterman’s house in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The incident was marked by taunts from demonstrators, accusing the senator of complicity in genocide against Palestinians. Fetterman responded in the most appropriate and commendable way possible: by standing his ground, and displaying an Israeli flag from his roof.

This protest demonstrated the long-standing issue of popular-elite divides in foreign policy discourse. It also demonstrated the deep ignorance of those gathered outside of Fetterman’s house of the necessity of the United States’ commitment to its allies abroad, particularly in such a volatile region as the Middle East. Unlike Saudi Arabia, whose state-sanctioned Wahhabism creates vulnerable internal politics, Israel remains one of the United States’ most consistent allies in the Middle East. This is something that Fetterman clearly understands, having called out South Africa for misapplying and abusing its own history by grafting its own national anxieties onto the current conflict in Israel. That South Africa’s stance is viewed as a source of moral legitimacy by Palestinian independence protesters further betrays their ignorance.

The “Free Palestine” set, often chanting the genocidal and antisemitic slogan “From the river to the sea,” have made clear their own faulty understanding of history. Among them exists a self-reinforcing culture of disinformation that portrays Israel not as something special — the only Jewish-majority state in the world — but rather as a neo-colonial enterprise comprising the subjugation of an indigenous people. As such, these protesters insist on projecting their own anxieties over European colonialism and the United States’ treatment of indigenous populations onto a country with a substantively different historical context.

Furthermore, implicit in this “Free Palestine” activism is apologia for terrorism. The Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 should leave us as Americans reminded of our own experiences with the Al-Qaeda-led terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We should remember that, at the time, there was no room for sympathy with the enemy forces who attacked our country. We should similarly have no tolerance or patience for any sympathy with such entities who would launch an assault on a United States ally, regardless of their motivations.

This is something that Fetterman, as a U.S. senator, comprehends firmly: The United States must stand by its allies and must not call for solutions that kowtow to a mutual enemy. The state of Israel, a steadfast U.S. ally, is under attack — yet a swarm of demonstrators hassled a U.S. senator for the purposes of threatening and intimidating him into turning his back on an allied state plagued by a war it did not ask for.

The actions of these demonstrators belie a disturbing anti-Americanism, not to mention that they ought to consider they have found themselves — at least on this issue — on the same side as far-right antisemites and jihadists. These demonstrators should take a good look in the mirror and
consider what it means about themselves and their cause, that these have now become their political bedfellows. Like both other groups — far-right extremists and Islamist militants — the “Free Palestine” movement has displayed a disturbing disdain for both the security of the United States and the sovereignty of its allies abroad.

The United States, during the Biden administration, has shown bravery in standing up for the sovereignty of allies. This includes the sovereignty of Ukraine, under threat from Russia. This also includes Israel, whose sovereignty is under threat not only from Hamas but also a global network of activists who viciously attempt to cast doubt on the state’s legitimacy. Thankfully, this is something that Sen. John Fetterman has made clear that he has no patience for.

Fetterman has shown a great deal of strength and commitment in his response to the crisis faced by Israel. He understands that the United States cannot allow a weakened Israel, and that any cease-fire or conclusion of hostilities must occur on terms that are favorable to Israel — and by extension, favorable to the United States.

Fetterman made it clear that even under pressure, he has the willpower to stand up for not only a United States ally in the Middle East, but also the only majority-Jewish state in the region — and for that matter, the world. For that, we should remain continuously grateful that the good senator represents our state.

We can hope for a similar level of commitment from John Fetterman to both the United States and our allies abroad — including Israel — in the future. PJC

Adam Arthur holds degrees in Asian studies and international affairs from Florida State University. His written work has appeared in Modern Diplomacy, Geopolitical Monitor and Petrichor PGH. He lives in Pittsburgh.

read more:
comments