Democrats try to bury Palestine in middle of the night
Rania Khalek, Electronic Intifada, Jun 27 2016
In the early morning hours of Jun 25, while many Pindosis were asleep, Hillary Clinton allies on the Democrat Party’s platform drafting committee blocked a motion that called for an end to Israel’s military occupation and illegal settlement enterprise. The vote came after several gruelling hours of bickering between members named to the committee by Clinton and Democratic National Committee chair D Wasserman Schultz, on the one hand, and those appointed by Bernie Sanders, on the other. The video above shows highlights of the heated exchanges surrounding the vote. Deeper struggles over Israel taking place within the party have been brought into the open since Sanders named prominent supporters of Palestinian rights to the committee that is writing the party’s general election platform. Clinton members back her staunchly pro-Israel line. Throughout the day, Clinton surrogates shot down motions endorsing universal health care, a carbon tax, stronger support for raising the minimum wage, forceful opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and a moratorium on fracking. While these defeats took place during the day, committee organizers waited until the dead of night to deliberate on issues related to Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. The vote appeared to be deliberately timed to garner as little attention as possible. It was the very last section raised, and by then it was nearly 1am. Holding votes in the middle of the night is a Republican tactic for passing right-wing measures with as little public scrutiny as possible. But if the purpose in this case was to suppress public debate over Israel, it doesn’t seem to be working.
James Zogby, a Sanders appointee, introduced an amendment to revise the language in the Isro/Pal section of the platform, proposing deletion of a drafted pledge to oppose so-called delegitimization of Israel at the UN or by the BDS movement. He also proposed removing a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital. He pushed for wording that called for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements so that [Palestinians] may live in independence, sovereignty and dignity,” “an international effort to rebuild Gaza which the UN warns could be uninhabitable by 2020” and recognition that Palestinians, like Israelis, “deserve security, recognition and a normal life free from violence, terror and incitement.” Sanders “had direct input” in crafting the amendment, Zogby said, arguing:
The term “occupation” shouldn’t be controversial.
Indeed, there was nothing radical about the amendment, which left the pledged Pindo commitment to subsidizing Israel’s military machine and the reference to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” intact. J Street did not object to the word “occupation,” although the memo it circulated to members of the platform committee urged them to adopt language opposing BDS. Clinton appointee Wendy Sherman, a lobbyist who effectively sells access to government officials, said that BDS and the UN “create anti-Semitism.” Former Congress crittur turned lobbyist Howard Berman framed opposition to Israel’s occupation as “one-sided” and suggested that Palestinians bear some responsibility for Israel’s illegal conduct. B Schaefer, former joint-CEO of a jewelry chain called Claire’s Stores, didn’t even bother addressing the issues raised in the amendment. Instead, she engaged in pinkwashing. opining:
As a gay Jewish Zionist, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, as we all know, the only place in the Middle East that I can walk down the street with my wife hand in hand and not be afraid.
A Clinton supporter and major donor to the Democrat Party, Schaefer was named to the committee by the DNC. Zogby fired back:
You can go and walk down the street of Tel Aviv holding the hand of your wife? I can’t get in the airport without seven hours of harassment, because I’m of Arab descent. We have to be able to call it what it is. It’s an occupation that humiliates people, that breeds contempt, anger, despair and hopelessness that leads to violence.
Cornel West, an outspoken supporter of BDS appointed by Sanders, expressed outrage, saying:
When the IOF kills innocent people, over 500 babies in 51 days, no matter how many shields they say Hamas uses, it’s wrong. Democrat Party must tell the truth. We can never fully respect the Palestinians unless we can name … the boot on their necks. … I come from a people who’ve been hated.
The motion was nonetheless defeated in an 8-5 vote, with Sanders’ representatives being the only committee members to back it. That vote, combined with other defeats throughout the day, prompted West to abstain from approving the platform altogether, exclaining:
[If] we can’t say a word about TPP, if we can’t talk about Medicare for all explicitly, if the greatest prophetic voice dealing with impending ecological catastrophe can hardly win a vote and if we can’t even acknowledge occupation as something that’s real in the lives of a slice of humanity … it just seems to me there’s no way in good conscience I can say take it to the next stage. I have to abstain. I have no other moral option, it would be a violation of my own limited sense of moral integrity and spiritual conscience. That’s how I roll.
The Clinton wing of the party has attempted to neutralize them through the most cynical form of identity politicking. CNN reported:
Concerned that Zogby and West’s viewpoint may be gaining traction at least in the public narrative, Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina representative and now a CNN commentator, sent a letter signed by 60
Black African politiciansUncle Toms around the country to the co-chairs of the platform committee last week urging them to stick to the traditional language on Israel. [as a] counterpoint to West, a prominent member of the Black community.
Josh Ruebner, policy director of the Pindosi Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Jewish-led fraud – RB), told EI:
As Dr Jim Zogby noted in the debate last night, there is a fundamental disconnect between official Pindostani policy and the unwillingness of the Democrat Party to back it.
It called on activists to urge both parties to support Palestinian rights in their platforms.