Hometown political expert discusses implications of Hamas attack on Israel

NOW: Hometown political expert discusses implications of Hamas attack on Israel

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As the war between Israel and Hamas militants continues, with hundreds killed and thousands more injured, a hometown political expert is sharing insight into what this situation could mean for the political landscape here in the United States.

Mordecai Lee is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He anticipates seeing a similar response with Israel that we saw in 2022 after Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"We're going to see a mirror image of the Ukraine dynamic," Lee said. "Right now, maybe for the next 90 days, there's going to be the unanimity by Americans and by both parties to support Israel, whatever she needs. Then I think we're going to start seeing sort of the new left caucus of the Democratic Party starting to raise issues. I think we're going to start hearing things like 'Well, maybe Israel's response has been disproportionate. Why is it that more Palestinian civilians have died than Israeli citizens?' you know, just that slight dissent."

Lee expects that slight dissent to continue to grow into people choosing sides to support.

"Eventually, what I think we're going to start seeing is that there's going to be a kind of feeling that Iran was behind the attack and therefore the people in America and Wisconsin politics who are very anti-Iran are going to be more pro-Israel," Lee explained. "The people who are for a two-state solution, who are fighting for a peace agreement, who want to see Saudi Arabia and Israel establish diplomatic relations, they're going to be the ones who are going to be saying, 'We have to consider all the elements, and just because Iran was in support of the invasion doesn't mean that we shouldn't go for a peace process."

Funding for the war in Ukraine is already causing tensions in Washington, D.C., with President Biden urging Congress to allow billions of dollars in funding for Ukraine in the nation's fight against Russia. Lee expects President Biden will submit a new bill to Congress aimed at providing aid for both Ukraine and Israel.

"I fear there's going to be a deadlock in Congress all over again, it's going to be the same old story we've been seeing for months," Lee said. "All of a sudden we're going to start seeing the fraying of the politics. In other words, the extreme right of the Republican Party is against the package that goes to Ukraine, the extreme left of the Democratic Party is going to be against so much money going to Israel. I really find it disheartening when people take sides so quickly and when people shift from an automatic, authentic feeling of standing by Israel, standing by Ukraine, all of a sudden 'I'm concerned about this, I'm concerned about that' and then we're back to politics as usual in America."

The conflict in Israel didn't take long to hit the campaign trail here in the United States with GOP front-runners Ron Desantis and former President Donald Trump both speaking on the topic while campaigning in Iowa Saturday.

"They (Israel) not only have a right to defend themselves, they have a responsibility to defend themselves with overwhelming force. We will stand by them when they do," said DeSantis, while campaigning in Ankeny, Iowa. "This is a time for the President of the United States to say unequivocally, we stand with the people of Israel. We stand with Prime Minister Netanyahu."

In Waterloo, Iowa, former President Trump called Biden 'incompetent' in regard to his administration agreeing to free roughly $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil revenue funds in exchange for five American hostages. The former President also voiced his support for Israel.

"Israel is at war, and the United States obviously is going to stick with Israel and strongly," Trump said. "This is a time where the United States needs leadership. We don't have leadership."

On Saturday, the President publicly voiced his support for Israel, adding he would remain in 'close contact' with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Let there be no mistake, the United States stands with the state of Israel, just as we have from the moment the United States became the first nation to recognize Israel, eleven minutes after it was found 75 years ago," President Biden said. "We will not ever fail to have their back. We'll make sure that they have the help their citizens need, and they can continue to defend themselves."

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