The big news today is that the split inside the Democratic Party over Israel is at last front-page news in the New York Times. The schmattes we’ve been trying to sell on this site for the last six or seven years are suddenly in fashion. The battle we’ve predicted inside the Democratic Party in 2016 is coming to pass. Write Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman:
A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.
The other big news is that the Times exposed its bias, and tried to scare people about those Israel-despising radicals in the Democratic Party, by putting the word “occupation” in quotations, and then got busted for it by Adam Johnson and Annie Robbins and Max Blumenthal among others on Twitter — and the Times then took the quotation marks off “occupation” without any explanation.
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) May 26, 2016
James North reports that his paper-and-ink edition of the story includes those quotation marks — and he’s looking forward to the Times explaining the correction, per its own policy. It is a fact that Israel maintains an occupation, he says. Putting it in scare quotes makes it into an allegation. It’s like putting “pogroms” into quotation marks. When are we going to see a correction and explanation?
The article also casts Hillary Clinton as a moderate on the Israel question and Bernie Sanders’s platform surrogates Cornel West and James Zogby as marginal figures. The Israel lobby was given plenty space by the Times to wag its chin over Sanders’s anti-establishment approach to the issue:
In a statement on Wednesday, Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser, indicated that her appointees to the platform committee would resist Mr. Sanders’s attempt to shift the center of gravity on the Israel debate.
“Hillary Clinton’s views on Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship are well documented, and she’s confident that her delegates will work to ensure that the party platform reflects them,” Mr. Sullivan said.
The reaction was less reserved among those who champion a more traditional and full-throated support for Israel. Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he found the inclusion of Dr. West on the committee “disturbing.” He said that the presence of other representatives of Mr. Sanders on the platform committee, including Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim who has supported the rights of Palestinians, raised concerns that the party could “adopt positions that could be seen as hostile to Israel.”
“For us, the concern is that it legitimizes and potentially puts into a major party platform” a point of view “that undermines the principles of the Israeli-U.S. relationship that have been bipartisan for decades,” Mr. Hoenlein said.
The Democratic Party is lost to Israel forever — that’s the news in the Times today, as interpreted by Yakov Hirsch. Some Republicans are turning against the neoconservatives, and the Democrats are finally talking about Israel support openly, and this issue is like same-sex marriage, the politics move in one direction. We are going to see a major faultline at the Philadelphia convention between big money and the grass roots, between a reactionary establishment that needs to hold the party for Israel so as to maintain its funding sources and the Sanders base, which reflects the growing constituency in the country that is sympathetic to Palestinians. The Democratic Party has fought this split for years and been able to maintain a PEP position — progressive except Palestine; but that line is at last going to collapse, as it began to at the last convention, when there was a floor demonstration against calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital, and President Obama beat the grassroots down because he was worried about fundraising.
The line has collapsed because of economic conditions: because Sanders was able to raise his money on the internet at an average of $27 a pop. Now that is revolutionary! The secret is out that Hillary Clinton adopted pro-Israel positions so as to please big Jewish Zionist donors, who exercise a “gigantic” and “shocking” level of influence over politicians’ views, according to mainstream experts.
Let’s review Clinton’s speech to AIPAC in March about taking the Israel relationship to “the next level.” Read these lines and consider how the progressive Democratic base looks on them:
The United States and Israel must be closer than ever, stronger than ever and more determined than ever to prevail against our common adversaries and to advance our shared values.
This is especially true at a time when Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home. Parents worry about letting their children walk down the street. Families live in fear . . . .
And Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence, stop celebrating terrorists as martyrs and stop paying rewards to their families.
Nothing about Israeli violence against Palestinians! She wants to go to the next level and give Israel even more money:
Because we understand the threat Israel faces we know we can never take for granted the strength of our alliance or the success of our efforts. Today, Americans and Israelis face momentous choices that will shape the future of our relationship and of both our nations. The first choice is this: are we prepared to take the U.S./Israel alliance to the next level?
Indeed, at a time of unprecedented chaos and conflict in the region, America needs an Israel strong enough to deter and defend against its enemies, strong enough to work with us to tackle shared challenges and strong enough to take bold steps in the pursuit of peace.
That’s why I believe we must take our alliance to the next level. I hope a new 10-year defense memorandum of understanding is concluded as soon as possible to meet Israel’s security needs far into the future.
That will also send a clear message to Israel’s enemies that the United States and Israel stand together united.
She warns about “terrorist” attacks and then promises to bring Netanyahu to the White House during her first month, and praises Israel as a startup nation:
One of the first things I’ll do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House . . .
Let’s also expand our collaboration beyond security. Together, we can build an even more vibrant culture of innovation that tightens the links between Silicon Valley and Israeli tech companies and entrepreneurs.
There is much Americans can learn from Israel, from cybersecurity to energy security to water security and just on an everyday people- to-people level.
Here she says that BDS boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is anti-Semitic and she’s going to fight it, as she’s promised her megadonor Haim Saban:
Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS.
Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.
I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS. Many of its proponents have demonized Israeli scientists and intellectuals, even students.
To all the college students who may have encountered this on campus, I hope you stay strong. Keep speaking out. Don’t let anyone silence you, bully you or try to shut down debate, especially in places of learning like colleges and universities.
Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society, not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere.
Here she talks more about the Israeli victims of terrorism — nothing about Palestinians — and says Donald Trump has no business being president because he doesn’t support Israel enough:
Yes, we need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable. Well, my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.
I have sat in Israeli hospital rooms holding the hands of men and women whose bodies and lives were torn apart by terrorist bombs. I’ve listened to doctors describe the shrapnel left in a leg, an arm or even a head.
That’s why I feel so strongly that America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security or survival. We can’t be neutral when rockets rain down on residential neighborhoods, when civilians are stabbed in the street, when suicide bombers target the innocent. Some things aren’t negotiable.
And anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president.
She then goes after Iran for a while, distancing herself from the Iran deal. Then this is her only criticism of Israeli government, as a passing vague statement:
Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements.
“With respect to settlements.” I have no idea what that means.
Had enough? The Democratic base has too.