Pulling the Democrats in an Anti-Israel Direction

Aug. 15 2016

Last week, while Black Lives Matter (BLM) issued a platform accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians, the U.S. Green party formally endorsed BDS. These far-left movements, though hardly mainstream, exert substantial influence on the Democratic party, writes Jonathan Tobin:

Democrats can still point to their platform that denounces BDS and backs the Jewish state, and they can note that their congressional caucus embraces the pro-Israel community. But it’s the positions of BLM and the Greens that portend what may lie down the road for the party.

We already know that Democrats are, as polls have told us for a generation, less inclined to support Israel than Republicans. But the generational shift among Democratic voters is particularly worrisome when one considers the way so many young voters got behind Bernie Sanders and are enthusiastic backers of BLM. With each passing year, support for anti-Zionist agitation grows.

Indeed, if Hillary Clinton is elected president she may find herself subjected to great pressure from her party’s base to maintain her predecessor’s hostility to the Israeli government and perhaps exceed it. Looking even farther down the road, it’s likely that the next Democratic nominee will echo Sanders’s and Jill Stein’s positions on Israel and not the nominally mainstream pro-Israel rhetoric of Clinton.

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More about: Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism, US-Israel relations

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat