Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) represents a state with a small Jewish population. Klobuchar is popular among both Jewish Republicans and Democrats in her home state. “She’s ubiquitous in the Minnesota Jewish community,” Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Klobuchar said in March of 2017 that “a lot depends on the Jewish community in America because I believe that you can find common ground while still standing your ground.”
Amy is pop-u-lar (cue Glinda voice here) among Jews. But where does she stand on Jewish issues?
First up, what has Klobuchar said about anti-Semitism?
In November, Klobuchar’s Twitter account shared an article about how a far right network orchestrated synagogue attacks, writing, “As President, I’ll counter the divisive rhetoric that has grown all too strong in the past few years — and emboldened hate groups. For our Jewish communities & communities of all backgrounds, we must make it clear: there’s no room for hate in America.”
Her campaign has focused on condemning hate, even if she hasn’t explicitly named anti-Semitism and white supremacy as a part of that hate.
Stop the fear-mongering and stop the hate. We may come from different places. We may pray in different ways. We may look different. And love different. But we all live in the same country of shared dreams. pic.twitter.com/qFtvHy49Ll
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 10, 2019
“We must condemn hate without equivocation and stand up for its victims, whether they worship in our Mosques, synagogues or churches,” she wrote on Twitter in March 2019. After a Jewish Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota was evacuated due to a bomb threat, Klobuchar tweeted, “It is unacceptable for their good work to be threatened by hate.” Again, not explicitly naming anti-Semitism, but calling it hate.
@AmyKlobuchar has tweeted multiple times about anti-Semitism — with reference to Holocaust Rememberance Day, the Chabad of Poway attack, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, and a 2015 Jewish roundtable. (She also tweeted about anti-Semitic attacks against George Soros.)
What’s Amy Klobuchar’s relationship with Jewish groups?
She has a solid relationship with the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Speaking at their Policy Conference in 2018, Klobuchar said that Israel should remain a bipartisan issue, explaining, “A lot depends on the Jewish community in America because I believe that you can find common ground while still standing your ground.” She also met with Minnesota AIPAC delegates in 2019.
Met today with Minnesota @AIPAC to discuss policies that ensure a strong and secure Israel. We also talked about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Thanks to all who attended our meeting! – AK #AIPAC2019 pic.twitter.com/C4IT0ZGQ4W
— Senator Amy Klobuchar (@SenAmyKlobuchar) March 26, 2019
Klobuchar also spoke at J Street’s conference in 2019.
What does Klobuchar say about BDS, the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel?
She was the only Democratic presidential candidate to vote in favor of the anti-BDS bill in early 2019, which “codifies $38 billion in defense assistance to Israel and which provides legal cover to states that target the boycott Israel movement.”
So she’s super anti-BDS?
None of the 2020 candidates support BDS, but Klobuchar is the only Senator who voted in support of the controversial 2019 bill.
On her senate website under “National Security Issues,” Klobuchar’s position on BDS reads: “As staunch allies of Israel, we must also ensure that harmful movements, like the resurgence in anti-Semitism and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement are not successful. The BDS movement undermines a two-state solution and is counterproductive to both Israelis and Palestinians.”
To sum that long statement up: Klobuchar thinks BDS is counterproductive, harmful, and links it to anti-Semitism, without outright calling the movement anti-Semitic.
What does Klobuchar think about solving the conflict?
Can you guess by now?
Yep. Let’s let her campaign spokesperson take it away: “As President, Senator Klobuchar will get back to a meaningful peace process that combines — not separates — the political and economic tracks, has buy-in from Israelis, Palestinians, and the Arab world, and ultimately leads to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves that can lead to a two-state solution.”
What about aid to Israel? And settlements and annexation of the West Bank?
Tommy Vietor, co-host of Pod Save America, asked Klobuchar at J Street’s conference in October 2019 about this very thing!
He asked, “Recently Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg said they were open to the idea of conditioning some U.S. assistance to Israel if Israel either annexes the West Bank, or if there’s continued settlement construction. Would you be open to conditioning aid, or withholding aid as leverage, to prevent annexation or stop settlement construction?”
Klobuchar replied, “I think we are at this moment in time where 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 — that he was going to annex a third of the West Bank. Also the Golan Heights, and what he did there, I disagreed with that.”
Essentially, she didn’t really say whether or not she would withhold aid, but she is against Netanyahu’s promise to annex the West Bank, and Netanyahu’s annexation of the Golan Heights.
Later in the conversation, Klobuchar affirmed her commitment to continued aid to Israel: “I just think allowing Iran to have a foothold in Syria … with Russia does not make Israel any safer and getting out of that [Iran] agreement did not make Israel safer. And that is why I am so wedded right now to making sure we are continuing the aid.”
What about Klobuchar’s thoughts on Netanyahu?
On Twitter, she criticized Netanyhu’s decision to partner with Otzma Yehudit, a far-right party, although her tweet did not mention Netanyahu by name. She was the first presidential candidate to critique this decision.
And other Israel-related things?
Klobuchar, like many other candidates, would not move the U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv. She told the Jewish Insider, “I think it would have been better if that was done as part of a negotiation for a two-state solution. I think it’s unfortunate it was done the way it was done but I wouldn’t reverse it.”
Jewish fun fact?
In 2005, she tried to explain what feather boas are to then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Image of Amy Klobuchar by Mario Tama/Getty Images, design by Grace Yagel.