In the Washington Post, Abby Phillip and Anne Gearan report on the concessions that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is willing to make to Bernie Sanders to try and placate his hordes at the convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. DWS wants to give Sanders “seats on a key convention platform committee,” but that might not stop Sanders from picking a fight over the party’s policy positions, including our focus:
Even with the committee assignments, Sanders plans an aggressive effort to extract platform concessions on key policies that could prompt divisive battles at a moment when front-runner Hillary Clinton will be trying to unify the party. Among other issues, he plans to push for a $15 national minimum wage and argue that the party needs a more balanced position regarding Israel and Palestinians, according to a Sanders campaign aide who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
Go to the bottom of the story and you get the Israel Palestine news.
Clinton aides have said that on a slew of issues, Sanders is not far from the party. But the issue of U.S. policy toward Israel — which a Sanders adviser said “absolutely, legitimately will be a point of conversation” — has made some of Clinton’s backers nervous.
Sanders is seeking a more “even-handed” U.S. approach to Israeli occupation of land Palestinians claim for a future state. The current platform does not address the nearly five-decade occupation directly, but it endorses “a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples.”
Speaking last month during a contentious debate with Clinton, Sanders — who declared himself “100 percent pro-Israel” — said that Israel’s 2014 military assault on the Gaza Strip was “disproportionate” to the threat posed by Hamas rockets launched from the Palestinian territory into Israel.
Behind his words is a long debate among U.S. and international policymakers — one that divides the Democratic base and could pose a challenge for Clinton when she must bring her party together: how to weigh Palestinian interests when dealing with Israel, and whether resolute U.S. backing for Israel diminishes leverage to promote peace and fair treatment of Palestinians.“On one hand there is not an enormous amount of difference between them. They are both pro-Israel, they are both pro-peace,” said one longtime Clinton supporter. “But in the context of the campaign terms like ‘even-handed’ can come to mean that the United States is signaling a shift” — and Clinton would oppose that.
Remember Hillary Clinton’s hard-right Israel positions stated again and again, including at AIPAC in March: She will invite Netanyahu to the White House in the first month; she will take Israel relationship to “the next level,” whatever that is; she will fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement hammer and tongs and working with Republicans to do so; and she said that Donald Trump has “no business being president,” because he has pledged neutrality on the Israel Palestine question, and an American president must never be neutral on Israel.
Then Bernie Sanders pulled the rug out from under her in that “contentious” April 14 debate in NY, saying that Netanyahu is not always right and that Israel used disproportionate force against Gaza in 2014, when it killed 500 children, and the audience cheered. They cheered because this is the Democratic base’s position, fairness toward Palestinians.
We’ve said again and again here that Israel can divide the Democrats, grassroots versus establishment, and it should divide the Democrats, it’s that important an issue. And the media will break up over this issue, as they should; and Dana Milbank and Jonathan Chait and Jodi Rudoren will go right with Jeffrey Goldberg and the Atlantic and New York Magazine, and Jake Tapper and David Corn will go left and bring scores with them. Looks like we’re going to meet our rendezvous with destiny before long.
Why is Clinton worried about divisive? Because of fundraising. Remember that when President Obama pushed through a platform position at the Democratic convention in 2012 saying Jerusalem was the forever capital of Israel, there was a floor demonstration by the grass roots (and this was before the 2014 Gaza slaughter) to try and defeat the plank, and the chair of the convention said that Obama was “absolutely livid” that the platform hadn’t included the language originally. Maintaining a rigid pro-Israel stance is essential to fundraising. And Clinton’s position is surely based on what Haim Saban, her megadonor, wants.
Thanks to Yakov Hirsch.