President Trump has made yet another move to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, one that may also serve as a political calculation going into 2020, Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan argued Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Trump declared that the Golan Heights territory belongs to Israel, tweeting that the disputed area has “critical strategic and security importance” to the Jewish state.
During Thursday's All-Star panel on Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier," Bevan -- along with national security analyst Morgan Ortagus and Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane -- weighed in on the political ramifications of the president’s latest declaration.
Bevan began by pointing to the growing list of 2020 candidates who are boycotting the upcoming (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in Washington. The list includes U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
He also noted the anti-Semitism controversy surrounding U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, on which President Trump has commented.
Trump "has been a big supporter of Israel," Bevan told the panel. "Obviously, this is another issue on which he decided to move forward in part, I think, to draw the contrast between himself, his administration, and whoever his eventual opponent is going to be in 2020. So definitely some domestic politics at play here as well."
Ortagus called Trump’s decision a “landmark shift" in U.S. policy toward Israel, as top White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are actively working on a “larger peace initiative” in the Middle East. She also argued that it’s far more beneficial for Israel to claim the Golan Heights than for someone like Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or any other enemy of Israel to do so.
Lane pointed out the “politics” of Trump’s decision, telling the panel that it will help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection next month. But there's a "downside” to Trump’s decision, he added: It sets a precedent that the U.S. can “ignore” a U.N. Security Council resolution, which is something Russian President Vladimir Putin may consider regarding his actions in Crimea.