Stirring Up the Pro-Israel Status Quo at the DNC Convention

Proof that perhaps the Sanders campaign has not been in vain, whatever the outcome:

A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.

Two of the senator’s appointees to the party’s platform drafting committee,Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday denounced Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

According to a contributor to Juan Cole’s site, Sanders “will be allowed to name five members to the 15-member committee that writes the platform at the Democratic Party’s national convention in late July in Philadelphia even if he is not the nominee. Clinton will name six.” Debbie Wasserman Schultz will name the other four members, who no doubt will be Clinton sycophants. Although the DNC will deny that.

So the Sanders appointees will be outnumbered. But they aren’t going to be quiet. The New York Times continues,

The presence of Dr. Zogby and Dr. West on the 15-member panel, which also has six appointees of Hillary Clinton and four from the party chairwoman, does not guarantee their views will prevail. But it raises the prospect that one of the party’s most sensitive issues will be open to public debate while Mrs. Clinton is in a fight to unify her party and appeal to voters turned off by Donald J. Trump.

It also laid bare a steady shift in the Democratic Party, whose members have been less willing to back Israel’s government than in years past. According to a Pew Research Center survey in April, self-described liberal Democrats were twice as likely to sympathize with Palestinians over Israel than they were only two years ago. Forty percent of liberals sympathized more with Palestinians, the most since 2001, while 33 percent sympathized more with Israel.

Clinton surrogates, on the other hand, vow that the platform will reflect the Secretary’s views, which appear to be to allow Bibi Netayanhu to dictate our foreign policy.

Although Cornel West is a bit too much of a provocateur for my taste, I hope that at least some Dem insiders wake up to the fact that their slavish whatever-Likud-wants position is growing increasingly unpopular with Democratic voters. And if so, somebody should memo Chuck Schumer.

15 thoughts on “Stirring Up the Pro-Israel Status Quo at the DNC Convention

  1. UpChuck Schumer has taken over Lieberman’s (spit three times!) position as the US Senator from Likud!

    Bibi looks at Palestinian held territory as “Lebensraum.”
    I know I’ll catch heat for saying that, but…

  2. Please c u n d Gulag waste not thy spit. Having attended a graduation weekend last, and after receiving mush social correction for not standing up to the call to veterans. I prefer the spit. The applause is phony. My two honorable discharges are not. Both from the national guard for sure but hell I have two. Add that to the fact that I spent four years wearing a uniform in high school. Ten years of learning how to kill. No. Worry you not. No chance of a V. A. benefit for me. I would rather die than take it, I think, though I have not been faced with the choice.

    Just spit on me. Those of us who are not dead and not in Canada welcome it. It is so much more honest and proper than what we will endure on Memorial Day.

  3. bernie,

    I’m sorry you feel that way.
    But what does it have with my deep dislike of Joe Lieberman, and my problems with Israel’s policy towards Palestinians.

    Did I kiss something?
    Which is entirely possible, mind you!

  4. “Did I kiss something?”
    Cund, If that was a typo, it’s the best one on the internet today.

  5. More and more democrats are talking about a two-state solution. Especially if you are pro-Israel long term, it’s essential. When you do the math including citizens of Israel and residents of the West Bank & Gaza, there are 6 million muslims and 7 million jews. The demographics may favor muslims over the long haul. Muslims are breeding faster.

    Unless Israel is going to apply their experience from WWII to build gas chambers and ovens, they may become a minority in the land they control. How long can a minority oppress a majority and survive? For a while, probably. Permanently? History says no.

    The thing is, if the Palestinians become a majority with no representation and no chance of equality, they will revolt. It will be ugly and violent – in the final outcome, the authorities, as in UN forces called in to quell the bloodbath, will give Palestinians voting rights, potentially throughout Israel (including Gaza & the West Bank) If you are pro-Israel, and I am, you don’t want this outcome.

    To avoid it, give the Palestinians control over their own destiny. Make a fair deal and share control of Jerusalem, which the leaders of the two religions both cherish. Why not put the seats of government for both countries in the same city? Give both sides a vested interest in peace and make keeping the peace the top priority of both governments, regardless of provocation.

    Risky, yes. But otherwise Israel will fail, and potentially cease to exist as they should.

  6. A two state solution, with Palestinian autonomy, has always made the most sense IF peace in the region is the goal. I say IF, because the slavish supporters of Israel on both left and right put Israeli dominance ahead of peace in the region. And if the Israeli government is unwilling to do that, then as an alternative call for a true democratic state and allow Palestinians under control of the government to cast votes, and let those votes change government policy accordingly.

    This slavish obedience to Israel by our political leaders is really embarrassing. Truth be told, its either due to the insanity of far right “religious” reasons, or fear of the Israeli lobby politically and the financial leverage it may have over their campaigns. Letting right wing Israeli PMs dictate our foreign policy is just fine with our own far right, because it is in line with their own views.

    Supporting Israeli policy that may be in line with our own is one thing, but this slavish, litmus-testing insanity that puts Israel above all else should not be something democrats would want to see continued in its own party platform.

  7. Doug and csm,
    I totally agree, and have written comments very much like yours, here, at maha, many times.

    Israel is very much heading towards being the (earlier version of) South Africa of the Middle East, with apartheid, and and all that goes with it.

    A two-state solution is the only solution, but Bibi and the LikudLunatics don’t want that to happen.
    The world – INCLUDING the US – needs to apply more pressure. But, so far, whatever pressure has been applied, has largely been ignored by Bibi and his “He Mans Palestinian Hating Club.”

    Embargo’s, anyone?

  8. gulag – I know I wasn’t suggesting anything new. You hit the nail on the head – the threat of a slowdown in the delivery of arms and support until the leadership sees the light is what’s called for. Israel has no other allies in the world – if we threaten to pull the plug, they will give in like – I’m not allowed to do sexist metaphors here, am I. You get the idea.

    Before we can imply we will cut off the flow of weapons, we need a Congressional mandate. The biggest obstacle to that is money from AIPAC and other pro-Israel militant groups. Cut of the flow of special interest money and you have a shot at building consensus. As long as Israel can buy Congress, progress is impossible.

    Funny how it keeps coming back to that same issue.

  9. Well, I’m not sure about what I’m talking about here but, isn’t the billions in military aid that we give Israel designed with the idea that the money can only be spent on American made weapons systems.. In other words, the money that goes for military aid to Israel is in reality is going to American businesses. If that’s the case, then cutting off aid would hurt the American economy or at least the defense industry portion of the economy? Somewhat, although minimally.
    If my understanding is correct… then don’t expect that cutting off aid to Israel will ever come to be if used as an economic lever to get Israel to act against their own desires.
    Aside from that I think we’re so caught up in the politics of the Israel can do no wrong mentality that I believe we’ll never be able to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian situation with any evenhandedness.

  10. @Gulag – “A two-state solution is the only solution, but Bibi and the LikudLunatics don’t want that to happen.”

    The Palestinians, for the most part, don’t want it either, as it would serve to ratify and make permanent the injustice that attended Israel’s creation. The only folks who want it are us liberal westerners.

    The only viable solution, in my view, is a single state consisting of present day Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights. And I think that will ultimately happen. What I don’t know is how much more blood will be spilled before it does.

    • Gator90 — unfortunately you may be right about Palestinians not wanting a two-state solution. Ten or so years ago it was supported by a large majority of Palestinians, but I understand in recent polls support for a two-state solution has slipped below 50 percent. A window of opportunity may have closed.

  11. Responding to Maha (above) – If I was representing Palestinians, I’d be arguing against the two-state solution. I’d want equal rights in voting and equal access in terms of perks – jobs, housing, benefits. Because I’m non-violent, I see the political impasse – Israel won’t annex the territories and grant equal rights – ever. Some Palestinian leaders may see equality as possible after considerable bloodshed and under the threat of near-genocide.

    This reminds me of the really scary part of the cold war – political elements in DC and the Kremlin thought an nuclear was not only survivable, but winnable. The collision in the mid-east looks like that, and it’s not winnable for either side. Some other solution has to be found before the window closes on all negotiation (if it hasn’t) because otherwise the conflict will look like (mixing historical metaphors) the genocide of Native Americans using 21st century technology and there’s a 50-50 chance that the Arab world won’t stay out of it.

  12. Swami,
    The one thing America will never lose, is the ability to sell military hardware to other nations!
    If it ain’t gonna be Israel, well, there are plenty of other markets.

    We’re now going to send planes and other military shit to Vietnam – not that black-market dealers haven’t already sold our shit to them from right under our noses.

    Hell, we arm the House of Saud, and all they export back to us, are Wahabi-trained terrorists!!!

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