Romney and Pro-Israel Dems attack party platform, but insider says AIPAC reviewed platform language and had no problem

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 37 Comments
DNC

Update 9/5/12:

This story has turned into one the mini-controversies of the Democratic convention to this point. Last night the Free Beacon ran with a story that AIPAC had not been consulted on the final Democratic Party platform and had advocated for the party to retain language referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Today, Ron Kampeas has the best rundown so far, although it doesn’t really clarify anything:

It’s not clear what role, if any, pro-Israel groups played in the removal of the Jerusalem language from the Democratic Party platform, or if they tried to keep the language in.

A Jewish official, speaking on background, said that at least three American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials were present during the entire period when the platform was drafted last month in Minneapolis. Other Democratic and Jewish officials confirmed AIPAC’s participation in the process. Wexler said he had consulted with AIPAC officials on parts of the platform but had not discussed Jerusalem with them.

A source close to AIPAC said that the group never saw the full platform language, and that AIPAC officials were not in the room when the platform was being drafted. The source noted that AIPAC in its written submissions had made the case for including a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but also noted that AIPAC regarded both party platforms’ final draft Israel sections as “strong.”

Update 9/4/12:

A Jewish Democrat close to the platform drafting process sends this along —

First, I find a lot of this criticism surprising since my understanding is that AIPAC reviewed several versions of the language and never raised this issue once.

Second, Pres. Bush has a history here (“the status of Jerusalem will be ultimately determined by the interested parties” and he never delivered on his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem “as soon” as he took office) that DNC critics are conveniently ignoring. 

Huffington Post has also picked up the story:

But the aide and a second source affiliated with the party — both of whom were not authorized to speak on the drafting process — added that officials with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the hardline pro-Israel interest group, had reviewed and approved the language prior to its finalization.

“They loved it,” said the aide who worked on the platform.

Representatives for AIPAC did not immediately return a request for comment.

Drafters of the DNC platform say they made the decision to back away from earlier, stronger terms because so-called “final status issues” like these should not be included in the platform of a governing party.

“The Dems took out all the mentions of final status issues because it’s silly to get into these in a party platform,” the aide said. “It doesn’t change the position of the Obama administration.”

The aide continued, “But we replaced it with ridiculously pro-Israel language. You read the platform and it’s like AIPAC wrote it. And now Republicans are saying it’s anti-Israel? Seriously?”

Original Post:

Below is the portion of the just-released 2012 Democratic National Party Platform that discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Middle East. President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation – including funding the Iron Dome system – to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security.

It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek 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. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will continue to support Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.

Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran’s destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.

Haaretz reports that “more than a few pro-Israeli party functionaries at the convention [are fuming]” that the platform left out a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The 2008 platform read, “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” These same functionaries are also evidently upset that the “language on Iran wasn’t tough enough.”

Mitt Romney has responded with the following statement:

It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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37 Responses

  1. talknic
    September 4, 2012, 7:07 pm

    Vomit bucket anyone? What other countries do presidential US candidates spend so much time on? The squeaking door gets the oil, Israel screams like a banshee. It’s like a junkie bashing at the clinic door wanting its daily methadone fix

  2. james3
    September 4, 2012, 7:21 pm

    I beg to pay attention to that fossil, CNN. They alone have played up the fact that the DNC 2012 party platform differs from the 2008 iteration regarding Israel. 2008 embraced BHO’s preelection truth; Jerusalem ought to be the capital of Israel and Israel is America’s BFF in the swirly world.

    The 2012 platform says Israel is fine but has nothing else to say. You’re not #1 in our hearts and dollars and Tel Aviv is pretty Jerusalem is holy.

  3. radii
    September 4, 2012, 7:29 pm

    AIPAC got to vet the Dem party platform – typical

    • just
      September 4, 2012, 8:12 pm

      My reaction as well, radii.

    • Krauss
      September 5, 2012, 12:31 am

      Even though the current platform is pro-Israel, it’s not even as closely as madly biased towards Israel as the 2004 and 2008 platforms.

      That AIPAC reviewed it before it was completed is interesting, either someone slept on the job, which is highly unlikely, or it was a trap.

      After all, do you think Democratic dignitaries know the code words and the correct phrasing in the fine print to satisfy a specific constituency? As always, it’s not what is said but what is omitted.

      If AIPAC indeed did review it, and let it go, then it could easily be a trap set up against Obama. Remember: AIPAC always does what the current Israeli government wants it to do.

      It could be retaliation.

      Now look at all the Israeli newspapers; even Haaretz is leading with the Likudnik angle.

      Ynet says that ‘Obama Drops ‘United J’lem’ From Platform’.
      Not the Democratic party, no, Obama.

      AIPAC is a tool of Israel, it’s important to remember this.
      Because it’s unquestionable that a lot has been left out, even if I don’t exactly think that the current version is pro-Palestinian by any stretch, it’s nonetheless more balanced than any recent party platform in recent history, which is a good thing, but it also raises some interesting questions about AIPAC, Bibi and the Likudnik strains within the lobby.

      • NickJOCW
        September 5, 2012, 4:30 am

        A more overtly pro-Israel message smells a bit like war and might not go down so well with many. Best skirt passed it?

  4. eljay
    September 4, 2012, 7:40 pm

    >> Mitt Romney has responded with the following statement: … As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.

    He then added: ‘I will aspire to be a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist, and I will support an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”.

    ‘Not because I particularly like Jews – American, Israeli or otherwise – but because I like their money and their influence and, well, I really want to be President of the United States of America.

    [sotto voce] ‘San Dimas High School football rules!

    ‘Gawd bless us, every one! But gawd bless me just a little bit more.’

    • David Nelson
      September 5, 2012, 2:01 am

      Actually, from the following wiki article, the Mormons believe themselves to be included in the tribes of Israel. I am guessing Mitt’s love for Israel is real:

      “The official position of the LDS Church is that those who have accepted Mormonism or are a part of the Latter Day Saint movement are primarily from the House of Joseph. Adherents believe they are members of one of the tribes of Israel, either by blood lineage or by adoption, when the recipient is not a literal descendant of Jacob, also known as Israel. Individual church members are told their tribal affiliation through a patriarchal blessing. The LDS Church teaches that all of the tribes exist within their numbers, though not every tribe in every country. “

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_Judaism#Mormon_claims_of_House_of_Israel_descent

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 5, 2012, 9:15 am

      Things are more moderner than before. Bigger. Yet smaller. It’s computers.

  5. Kathleen
    September 4, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Watching the Dem convention. Robert Wexler beating the Iran war drum hard. Wexler singing Obama’s Israeli praises…confirming Obama’s pledge of allegiance to Israel.

    • ColinWright
      September 5, 2012, 1:56 am

      Kathleen says: “…confirming Obama’s pledge of allegiance to Israel…”

      That is a thought. AIPAC already all but does the same with prospective candidates for Congress.

      Let’s make it formal! The President has to publicly swear that he will support Israel to the utmost of his powers at all times. ‘I, Barack Obama, do hereby swear…’

  6. tear-stained uzi
    September 4, 2012, 8:07 pm

    I think the fact that all the stars in the convention graphics have 5 points instead of 6 is antisemitic.

  7. ritzl
    September 4, 2012, 8:13 pm

    Maybe, to add an appropriate context, a combined headline about this is in order:

    “Pro-Israel interest group reviewed and approved the Democratic [and Republican no doubt] platform language on Israel prior to its finalization, as ‘Jesus is a monkey’ is scrawled on arsoned Latrun Monastery under Israeli protection.”

    Yes, by all means, Israel Lobby and party insiders, keep discussing how you believe you have the right to manipulate the US foreign policy agenda and how more and more is never, ever enough. Talk louder and more often, please. And most importantly, please talk publicly about the rest of us as if we’re not even in the room.

  8. Blake
    September 4, 2012, 8:21 pm

    Pukefest. All falling over backwards to brown nose the mammon nightmare.

  9. biorabbi
    September 4, 2012, 8:43 pm

    Dana Bash from CNN just reported the language was changed as a result of the White House. Her source was the DNC. I will add a link when I can find it.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 4, 2012, 9:38 pm

      and it must be true bio. because no one ever spins anything.

    • Citizen
      September 5, 2012, 7:41 am

      @ biorabbi

      Yes. I saw that short CNN video clip–Blitzer was questioning Bash. She said she was told by a DNC spokes person that the reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel was taken out of the 2012 DNC platform to reflect Obama’s policy. On the opening night, Blitzer pestered some high ranking Democrats with the question, why was the reference to Israel being are biggest ally in the ME deleted from the DNC platform?

      I spent an hour or so earlier this morning reading web sites on the Jerusalem plank deletion both US & Israeli news sites; nearly all were very critical and so were the comments. They reflected Mitt’s notion that Obama has again thrown Israel under the bus. None of the sites put this platform issue in the context of the consistent past US official policy that the status of Jerusalem was a final status issue in the peace process, nor did any of them indicate that nearly every nation in the world, and under international law, Jerusalem is not in Israel but is on land being occupied by Israel.

  10. yourstruly
    September 4, 2012, 8:43 pm

    pour on the lies, israel firsters. it’s like heaping coals on the fire, what with only two months left before the voting. meanwhile, the task for us justice for palestine folks is to get ready for the occasion when a well thought out mass response to israeli or israel firster lies and war mongering can bring the issue of justice for palestine into the political arena. a situation arising, that is, in which candidates will have to choose between playing it “safe” or coming up with something that will appeal to a public that’s had it with the one about israel being america’s best friend. the occasion could be israel’s staging an obvious false flag operation, or israeli politicos (backed by their israel firster friends) claiming for the umpty-umpth time that what’s good for the u.s. is what’s good for israel, could be something else. whatever it is, though, we have to be ready to spring into action. the public will be ready, so must we!

  11. flyod
    September 4, 2012, 8:59 pm

    proves both parties can work together and be united on 1 issue at least..

  12. Kathleen
    September 4, 2012, 11:26 pm

    best line I heard someone come up with on Twitter tonight. Headlines will read “Obama loves Castro” tomorrow morning

  13. ColinWright
    September 5, 2012, 3:22 am

    The Republicans are going to have to come up with more than this.

    Maybe Israel can stage an ‘Iranian terror attack’ that kills some Americans. I can’t see what else is going to do it.

  14. wes
    September 5, 2012, 4:24 am

    i like this part the best

    “We will continue to support Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.”

    great news especially the egyptian peace treaty talk and for a bankrupt state with its hand out for some badly needed dollars the brotherhood are off to a good start
    so obama will now use the treaties to pressure israel to back off gaza by saying ,hey the southern front is calm again- what can you offer in return for some peace and quiet
    obama is using aid to egypt and jordan to pressure israel-now that is a win win situation for him-just reread his speech he made in egypt a couple of years ago and it all clicks
    the only way mitt can up the ante is if their is a serious terrorist incident on israels border with jordan -something coming via syria that in turn would sour the mood considerable and give the republicans a chance to double up on the secure israel scenario by and whack some of those undesirables floating around syria

  15. Theo
    September 5, 2012, 8:21 am

    “AIPAC reviewed several vesrsions of the platform….”
    and I presume they approved the one that is best for Israel!!

    Reading just this we get an idea who is controlling and running this great superpower, the land of democracy and freedom!!
    I seriously doubt any free nation on this globe would allow registerred agents of a foreign power to “review, control and approve” the plans of their president! This alone is most demeaning to our nation.
    Europeans are laughing themselves to delirium. Uncle Sam, the giant military power that takes it on himself to police this globe and force nations to adher to its specification of democracy, is really a puppet of a tiny, sleazy and powerhungry little country, (or whatever we may call it), without any ethos.
    Is this really the beginning of the end, or just a prologue, and the real bad stuff is coming later?

  16. irmep
    September 5, 2012, 10:29 am

    AIPAC founder Isaiah Kenen had the following to say about political platform writing in the July 15, 1960 “Near East Report”

    “The importance of Platforms. Many people are skeptical about political platforms. But skepticism is unjustified. Platform declarations have a positive value in the clarification and implementation of our national policies. They help to mold public opinion at home because they inform and guide candidates, who stand for election on their party’s program. They have importance abroad because they transmit to other governments the views of the American people. Sometimes our foreign policy is expressed more forcibly and plainly in a platform than when masked in the language of diplomacy. ”

    Keep in mind that Kenen (ten years before an employee of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs) was being paid by the Jewish Agency (a quasi governmental Israeli organization with access to tax revenue and review powers over Knesset legislation) to publish the Near East Report. He directly participated in Democratic Party platform negotiations. This was a couple of years before Walter Pincus noted (as a Senate investigator of foreign agents) that the Jewish Agency/Israeli goverment were essentially writing some US legislation. In this case, the Jewish Agency was “expressing the views” of the “American People” through a party plank few would ever know about.

    And the charade of consent continues.

  17. Kathleen
    September 5, 2012, 10:48 am

    One of the best articles I have read on the Rachel Corrie verdict over at Professor Juan Coles site Informed Comment. “Was the Rachel Corrie Verdict the end of Israel’s Judicial Credibility” (Marlowe) Not sure what credibility she thought they had but great piece.

    “this verdict indicates open season on human rights defenders”

  18. BillM
    September 5, 2012, 2:12 pm

    To my mind, the definitive proof that AIPAC reviewed and approved the Democratic text was found in the Jerusalem Post. Note their original report on the platform:

    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=283760

    Democrats unveil 2012 platform, stress Israel ties

    By JPOST.COM STAFF 09/04/2012 11:55

    Ahead of Democratic National Convention, Obama touts strong bilateral cooperation, “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

    The JPost has no reason to love Obama or the Democrats, but the original story found no faults with the platform whatsoever. Indeed, it was quite complimentary of the platform “stressing Israel ties.”

  19. Erasmus
    September 5, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Curiosity question to Annie:

    i remember your near holy oaths-swearing that you won’t give your vote to a certain candidate you preferred last time in 2008.

    Considering the alternative now – and the Democratic Party Platform particulars re I + P – have you decided for the 2012 elections???

  20. seafoid
    September 5, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I’m sure in years to come political science students will find it very difficult to understand how a small country thousands of miles away captured DC. Especially when the country no longer exists.

  21. valency
    September 5, 2012, 5:06 pm

    I ask you — is there any other agent of a foreign power in America that exerts pre-approval over all policy statements issued by both parties in relation to that power? Seriously, am I just naive or does this happen more often?

    But of course AIPAC isn’t an agent of a foreign power — a bipartisan Congressional effort ensures that AIPAC, despite its confessed work for MOSSAD, doesn’t have to register.

    George Bush said “America will never seek a permission slip [from another power] to defend the security of our people.” Can you imagine how Romney would attack Obama if he had the embassy of Iran or Kenya or Germany vet the Democratic party platform? But of course, it’s different when it’s AIPAC.

  22. DICKERSON3870
    September 9, 2012, 2:48 am

    RE: “Romney and Pro-Israel Dems attack party platform, but insider says AIPAC reviewed platform language and had no problem”

    FROM Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, 9/05/12:

    [EXCERPT] “. . . And while the Republicans were chastising Democrats for not having that language in their platform in the first place, it was eventually discovered, because apparently they didn’t check first, that the Republican platform did the same thing, removing a 2008 promise to endorse Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” as well as removing a promise to move the embassy. . . “

    SOURCE – http://news.antiwar.com/2012/09/05/shaky-vote-returns-jerusalem-to-dems-platform/

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