Only a strong grassroots movement can change US politics on Middle East — JVP

Jewish Voice for Peace has issued a statement on the Jerusalem plank in the Democratic platform.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) was deeply disappointed by the stunning last-minute changes made to the Democratic Party platform yesterday at the Democratic National Convention, both in terms of substance and process.

At the personal request of President Obama, the Democrats amended a platform, which already strongly supported Israel, to include a reference to Jerusalem as an “undivided” city and the “capital” of Israel.

This position directly contradicts long-standing U.S. policy that Jerusalem, which both the Palestinians and Israelis claim for their future capital, is a matter of “final status” negotiations. This platform change appears to pre-determine the outcome of negotiations which the United States claims to support as a neutral third party. In short, it’s terrible foreign policy that, if implemented, would make reaching a just and lasting peace virtually impossible.

Even more disturbing was the spectacle of the voice vote itself. From the video available, it is clear that the amendment did not pass by a two-thirds majority as required.  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was chairing the session, called for a voice vote three times because there seemed to be as many or possibly more No than Yes votes. Nonetheless, Villaraigosa finally claimed a two-thirds majority and passed the resolution. The immediate response in the room, only half full of delegates, was audible boos.

This embarrassing spectacle clearly revealed a political party leadership willing to subvert democracy when it comes to policy regarding Israel and Palestine. In fact, a recent Arab American Institute poll indicates that Americans are split evenly on the question of sharing Jerusalem. The voice vote also indicated a split base. But party leadership yet again chose to run roughshod over the will of its base.

JVP takes heart from the fact that a significant proportion of party delegates vocally and clearly rejected the amendment,which shows that there is a deep division within the Democratic Party over its approach to Israel and Palestine. We hope that eventually these forces will prevail, and we are more convinced than ever that only a strong, sustained grassroots movement can force a change in both parties approach to Israel and Palestine.

J Street also has a statement. It seems to think Jerusalem can still be divided to make a Palestinian capital. Has Jeremy Ben-Ami been there lately?

Oh and here is Chris Hayes’s great comment on the matter the other night on MSNBC. In the moment. Wow, nice work.

HAYES: Can we just say, I’ll just say for myself, it’s a substantively terrible decision. It’s bad policy alright. It’s a craven capitulation and it’s a craven capitulation that empowers the worst elements in the people that are working on this issue. If you read this platform, there is not a single condition put on Israel, in the Israel-Palestine section, there’s conditions put on the Palestinians that they must renounce — they must accept Israel’s right to exist, etc. There’s nothing said about the settlements.

And if the American government policy is actually that Jerusalem is the capital and the American government wants move the embassy to Jerusalem, there have been plenty of opportunities for both Republicans and Democrats to do that and they have not done it because it’s a terrible idea from the perspective of actually getting a lasting peace between these two peoples.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 3 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. thanks phil. i’m still obsessed with this ‘vote’.can’t stop thinking about it. i just visited a diary over at dkos and team shalom is doing their best to silence discussion of it over there.

  2. RE: “At the personal request of President Obama, the Democrats amended a platform, which already strongly supported Israel, to include a reference to Jerusalem as an ‘undivided’ city and the ‘capital’ of Israel.” ~ JVP

    MY COMMENT: The status of Jerusalem is mostly significant only because Jerusalem’s truly being the indivisible capital of Israel eliminates the possibility a two-state solution.
    Obama probably supported adding the plank declaring Jerusalem the indivisible capital of Israel because he realizes that the two-state solution is dead [largely due to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (and in East Jerusalem)]. Why should he put his head on the chopping block when the two-state solution is already dead?

    FROM ELLIOTT ABRAMS, The Washington (Neocon) Post, 04/08/09:

    . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE – link to washingtonpost.com

    P.S. Elliott Abrams has totally convinced me to wholeheartedly support the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank. He convinced me by the sheer power of his “logic” (and his excellent math skills)!
    Ergo, the ‘Abrams Principle’ stands for the proposition that more Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank will result in a larger area for the Palestinian state. That’s why I say: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the settlement actvity; so as to result in the largest Palestinian state possible (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River)! “Let Right Be Done.”