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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘platform’

The Democrats’ Jerusalem Problem

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

We probably will never know for sure whether President Obama was involved or even aware of the decision not to carry over a reference to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel in the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform to its 2012 platform.

Frankly, we cannot conceive that a shift on such a hot button issue would have taken place without clearance from someone close to the president if not the president himself. To be sure, after a torrent of criticism the Democrats, in a bizarre televised procedure, restored the reference – ostensibly, at least according to party officials, at the president’s personal direction in order to align the platform with his own view on Jerusalem.

In the end, all the episode served to do was raise some real concerns about the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama.

Anyone who viewed the video of the restoration vote has to know that, notwithstanding the chairman’s transparently phony ruling, not only did the voice vote fail to muster a required two-thirds majority required by the convention rules, it sounded like there wasn’t even a simple majority.

This is but the latest indication that the party of Harry Truman, who ordered U.S. recognition of Israel in 1948, is no longer hospitable to our community’s core concern for Israel. Indeed, the strained voice vote seemed to confirm sentiments that led to the elimination of Jerusalem from the 2012 platform in the first place.

But even the amended platform should cause great concern, particularly as it cannot now be claimed that President Obama is unaware of its contents. Jerusalem was hardly the only Middle East reference deleted, though it was the only one restored. Thus, the 2008 reference to Hamas as a terrorist organization that deserves isolation is gone. Also missing is the 2008 reference to U.S. support for Israel’s retention of Jewish population centers in the West Bank. Similarly vanished is the reference to Palestinian refugees having no right of return to Israel, only to a Palestinian state.

Plainly, a second term for Mr. Obama would mean some very real problems for Israel in terms of the American approach to Hamas as a legitimate political force, the future of Jewish settlements, and a Palestinian right of return.

And one can expect problems with regard to Jerusalem as well, notwithstanding the platform flip-flop. If Mr. Obama has all along believed in an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, why hasn’t U.S. policy reflected this?

Editorial Board

“Israel’s Capital” Lingo Re-Added to Democratic Party Platform

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

At President Obama’s behest, and to boos from some delegates, Democrats on Wednesday night inserted a few lines into their party platform affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Two of the lines had appeared in the 2008 party platform but had been dropped for some reason when this year’s platform was released Monday night; no one could quite explain the omission.

The removal of the language had prompted a firestorm of criticism from Republicans, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and from Democratic lawmakers in Congress, who said the removal of references to Jerusalem had blindsided them. Pro-Israel groups also asked that the language be restored to the party platform.

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” stated the amendment that passed Wednesday evening when the party’s platform committee met in Charlotte, the site of this year’s Democratic National Convention. “The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Robert Wexler, a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama’s reelection campaign and a drafter of this year’s platform, told JTA that Obama played a direct role in Wednesday’s change. “The president directly intervened to make sure this amendment happened,” he said.

The first two sentences appeared in the 2008 platform. The third satisfied longstanding demands from pro-Israel groups that Obama restate the pledge he made at the 2008 American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference that he is committed to an “undivided” Jerusalem.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles’ mayor and a chairman of this year’s convention, faced a chaotic scene when he brought the committee’s reconstituted language to the full floor for a vote. The amendment also restored the word “God” to the platform, following complaints from some religious groups.

It took three voice votes to pass the language, and although Villaraigosa finally declared a two-thirds majority, it was not clear that the amendment got majority support. Boos were audible.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, the Romney campaign and the Arab American Institute suggested that what Democratic opponents at the convention didn’t like was the change made to the Jerusalem language.

Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, called the approval of the language “begrudging.” Matthew Brooks, RJC’ director, said, “To hear delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention strongly voice their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then boo when the chairman passes the resolution to adopt that language, is a shock.” James Zogby, the Arab American Institute president, expressed his pride “that so many delegates delivered a resounding no.”

C-SPAN video showed delegates in the institute’s “Yallah, Vote” T-shirts voting against. But a report from the floor on the news website BuzzFeed cited myriad reasons by delegates for their opposition. Some objected to the God language; others appeared to resent having the resolution forced past them without consideration.

“I didn’t get a chance to read it and there was no discussion,” John Washburn, a delegate from Georgia, told BuzzFeed. “It was up there for 30 seconds and then it was down. I’m upset with the process. That’s why I voted no.”

An array of congressional Democrats had complained on Tuesday and Wednesday about the removal of the Jerusalem language from the party platform, saying they were caught unawares.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) said he was angry when he learned of the omission. “It’s wrong,” he told JTA, although, he added, “these platforms don’t have a lot of meaning in terms of the work I do in the U.S. Senate.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), who is running for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat and is one of the most steadfastly pro-Israel Democrats in Congress, said that it was an understatement to say she was disappointed.

“I believe with every breath in my body that Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” she told JTA. She added that she believes Obama’s record on Israel overall is supportive, noting the enhanced U.S.-Israeli security relationship and Obama’s efforts to push back in the United Nations against anti-Israel measures.

Campaign officials had said that the language was removed because the overall platform focused on Obama’s achievements — in Israel’s case, the enhancement of defense cooperation and the isolation of Iran.

JTA

Democratic Platform Omits Language on Jerusalem, Notes Iran Military Option

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The 2012 Democratic Party platform omits language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and suggests that military force is “on the table” as an option for addressing the Iranian nuclear issue.

The platform released late Monday night makes no mention of Jerusalem or of the issue of Israel’s capital. By contrast, the 2008 platform stated that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” The 2008 platform also stated that the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations.”

The new platform touts President Obama’s work on implementing tougher international sanctions against Iran. It says that Obama “is committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

“President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution,” the platform states. “At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options — including military force — remain on the table.”

The 2008 platform referred to “keeping all options on the table.”

On Israel, the new platform emphasizes the Obama administration’s support for Israeli security measures such as Iron Dome and refers to Obama’s “consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel.”

It also states that the president and his party are committed to seeking peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state,” the platform states. “At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition, on Twitter, criticized the omission in the new platform of language describing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The current Republican platform refers to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The RJC also highlighted the absence from the new Democratic platform of language in the Democrats’ 2008 platform calling for Hamas to be isolated, Palestinian refugees to return to a future Palestinian state rather than to Israel, and stating that “it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The Republican platform also does not articulate these positions.

JTA

Democratic Platform Tilts Against Israel: Side by Side Comparison to 2008, 2004

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I’ve been beating on President Obama so much lately that I’ve been accused of being, God forbid, a Republican.

My pro-Obama friends have told me over and over that the president is pro-Israel, and they quote administration spokespersons about the relationship being closer than ever, and they quote the president’s comments about the “unbreakable bond” and about “having Israel’s back.”

They tell me that nothing’s changed, that this administration is as pro-Israel as any previous one, Democratic or Republican, and I needn’t fear that a reelected President Obama will punish Israel.

With all due respect, they are full of it.

The Washington Free Beacon compared the 2012 Democratic platform— the Obama platform — with the 2008 and 2004 models. What they found is shocking:

Several pro-Israel sections of the 2008 Democratic Party platform have been removed from the 2012 platform—on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Hamas. The new platform represents another shift by the Obama Democrats toward the Palestinian position on key issues in the peace process.

For Jerusalem, the new platform has been brought into line with the Obama administration’s policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and supporting its division. Jerusalem is unmentioned in the 2012 document, whereas the 2008 and 2004 Democratic Party platforms declared “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The Obama administration’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem has been a point of significant controversy in recent months.

On the issue of Palestinian refugees, the new document has removed language from the 2004 and 2008 platforms specifying that Palestinian “refugees” should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel.

The 2004 platform: “The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”

The 2008 platform: The peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”

The 2012 platform contains no language on the matter.

Previously, Obama has incorporated the Palestinian positions on Jerusalem and borders into his administration’s policies. It appears that with his party’s new platform, he is also doing so with refugees.

Gone as well is the language from 2008 on the terrorist group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip. That platform declared, “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”

The 2012 platform contains no mention of Hamas.

Previous platforms also contained promises to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region. The 2008 platform, for example, spoke of a “commitment which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense.” The 2012 platform mentions only that “[t]he administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” with no commitment to doing so in the future.

There is no question of pro-GOP journalistic spin here. These are entirely objective comparisons that anyone can verify.

If you are a Democrat who cares about Israel’s survival — yes, it is that critical — while opposing Romney-Ryan for other reasons, you have a very difficult choice to make in November.

Just don’t make it on the basis of the reassuring lies the Obama campaign is telling about his commitment to Israel.

Visit the Fresno Zionism blog.

Vic Rosenthal

Why didn’t they leave the platform alone?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Earlier today I discussed the surprising degree to which the 2012 Democratic platform differed from the 2008 and 2004 platforms in respect to Israel. The changes represent a significant tilt toward Palestinian positions on Arab refugees,Jerusalem and Hamas. It also leaves out prior language about helpingIsrael maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its adversaries.

The interesting question is “why did they change it?” A platform is not a binding document; it is intended as a general statement of a party or candidate’s positions. Its planks are generally written to appeal the broadest possible constituencies. Most voters never read platforms or care about them.

If they had not changed the 2008 text nobody would have noticed. And at a time when Republican opponents are doing their best to argue that Obama is an anti-Israel president, one would expect Democrats to avoid giving them ammunition.

Unless they think that being anti-Israel is a plus. This would also fit in with recent public statements and actions regarding Iran, which they present as a problem forIsrael but not particularly the US.

But polls consistently show that the majority of Americans supportIsrael. So how can this make sense? To answer this, we need to look at who these pro-Israel Americans are; and by in large, they are not likely Obama voters. Most are white Evangelical Protestants, who are solidly Republican already. Some — a comparatively tiny number — are Jews for whomIsraelis a major issue that influences their vote. Many of these have already abandoned Obama. The majority of Jews, however, lean Democratic on the basis of domestic issues and will not be affected.

If this tilt againstIsraeldoesn’t hurt Obama too much, where does it help him? There are two groups that will take notice and approve of the change. One is his left-wing base. These are mostly students and others who have a “postcolonial” anti-Zionist (and anti-Western) point of view. It is critical for the Democrats to enlist these activists in the final get-out-the-vote effort.

It seems that just as Romney barely budged toward the center after receiving the nomination, so too Obama prefers to activate his troops rather than to reach out for undecided votes.

The second group of voters is the Ron Paul crowd. They have not as yet displayed much affection for either Obama or Romney, but they will find the suggestion of less military aid toIsraelappealing. They are also happy to see Obama avoiding ‘complicity’ in a possible Israeli attack on Iran.These two groups, along with American Muslims, constitute an anti-Zionist bloc. This move locks it in for Obama.

There is another possibility that cannot be discounted. That is that the change is intended to send a message to the leadership of the Muslim nations that Obama has been courting since his 2009 speech in Cairo — Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. — a message that he is taking concrete steps to weaken the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel. Perhaps he is finally working to fulfill his promise to pro-Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah that he would be “more up front” in helping the Palestinians in the future.

Visit Vic Rosenthal’s blog, Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

1500-Year-Old Jewish Town Discovered

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

After more than 100 years of archeological research in Israel, I’m always surprised there’s still so much more to discover.  Sadly, today most such discoveries are driven by construction work.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced today that a 6th century Jewish town was discovered north of Beersheba, during work on the southern extension of Route 6.

The archeologists discovered two ritual baths (mikveh) and two large public buildings.  Both buildings had a large platform facing Jerusalem, and archeologists think they served either as synagogues or as a beit midrash, a place for Torah study.

The town was evacuated at the end of the 6th century or the beginning of the 7th century.  A century later a new town was built over the ancient remains.

Jameel@Muqata

NY City Councilman Dan Halloran in Israel

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Dan Halloran, who is a candidate for the US congress from the state of New York joins Yishai in our Mount of Olives studio.   Together, they discuss Halloran’s background and his reasons for visiting in Israel and move on to talk about how the Islamic world wants to discredit and destroy a Jewish tie to the Land of Israel.  Halloran gives his opinion about whether Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish prisoner who has been held by the United States for espionage for over 25 years, should be released and ends his talk with Yishai by giving his principal ideas behind his platform.  Yishai ends the segment by talking about the relationship that should exist between the United States and Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Moshe Herman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/radio/yishai-fleisher-on-jewishpress/halloran-on-israel-and-yishai-on-the-united-states/2012/08/21/

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