There were many items up for consideration when the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee held a virtual meeting last week to consider changes to a draft version of the platform, including proposals regarding Medicare for All and the legalization of marijuana, both of which were voted down.
Of particular interest to a large segment of the Jewish community, however, were the proposed platform changes regarding Israel. Leading up to the discussion, a number of groups, both Jewish and Palestinian American, lobbied the DNC to make significant changes to the platform that would toughen its stance toward Israel. Most of those proposed changes were not adopted, with the party choosing instead to use the platform to project firm and unyielding support for the Jewish state.
The message is clear: “Democrats believe a strong, secure, and democratic Israel is vital to the interests of the United States. Our commitment to Israel’s security, its qualitative military edge, its right to defend itself, and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding is ironclad,” the draft platform now reads. “Democrats recognize the worth of every Israeli and every Palestinian. That’s why we will work to help bring to an end a conflict that has brought so much pain to so many. We support a negotiated two-state solution that ensures Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state with recognized borders and upholds the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and security in a viable state of their own.”
The platform also opposes annexation and settlement expansion; affirms Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, “an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths”; and promises that “Democrats will restore U.S.-Palestinian diplomatic ties and critical assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with U.S. law.”
The platform also notes its opposition to BDS “while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.”
The platform committee rejected the use of the word “occupation” in its Israel plank and declined to support the imposition of conditions on U.S. aid to Israel should Israel move forward with annexation.
For years now, but especially since 2016, Republicans have pushed messaging suggesting that Democrats are anti-Israel and beholden to what they characterize as a far-left pro-Palestinian progressive agenda. But the position taken here by the platform committee reflects not only the party’s historic and unyielding support of Israel, but the centrist position of its nominee, Joe Biden.
This is the position of the Democratic Party that we are familiar with, and we are pleased that the platform committee has endorsed a view that reflects the bipartisan support for the welfare, security and long-term existence of the State of Israel that is so crucial to the continuation of its close bond with the U.S.
We encourage the DNC convention to embrace the platform committee’s recommendation, and to ratify the proposed Israel plank.