With all the talk about the Clinton forces beating up progressives over mentioning Israeli settlements and occupation, let alone the Gaza siege, in the Democratic Party platform, no one seems to have noticed that the platform is worse on Iran than it was in 2012– before the Iran deal!
The party platform characterizes Iran as an American enemy. It states that Democrats “will not hesitate to take military action if Iran” seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon, threatens to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and alleges that Iran “vows to eliminate Israel, and has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the Middle East.”
The Iran plank echoes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in saying that Iran denies the Holocaust and “is the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” with specific references to Israel’s enemies, Hezbollah and Hamas.
The 2012 platform also contained a threat of military force against Iran but repeatedly called for diplomacy, and it did not bash Iran over alleged terrorism, let alone Hamas and alleged Holocaust denial.
Ilya Sheyman, the executive director of Moveon.org, made the point about Iran in a discussion last week in Philadelphia, hosted by J Street at the Democratic convention. Sheyman said that a great deal is at risk in Hillary Clinton replacing Barack Obama as president, and Chuck Schumer, an opponent of the Iran deal, becoming Senate Democratic leader.
We are entering a turbulent political climate. We’re going from the president who championed the deal and made it one of his top priorities to one who played a role but has been lukewarm on some of the engagement seen by the Obama administration [as necessary].
Sheyman said that President Obama’s policy of resorting to diplomacy first is at risk in the coming election.
Right now there’s a danger that we go back to the time where Evan Bayh is elected in Indiana, one of the leaders with Joe Lieberman of opposing the Iran deal, where you have John McCain reelected– he’s talking against the Iran deal– and it seems like there’s a bipartisan consensus away from diplomacy and for war…
The thing that I think is at risk is a pro-diplomacy Democratic Party. I think that’s the first thing to fight for. There were some strides on Israel Palestine in the Democratic platform– on Iran the Democratic platform took a step backwards. It sounds more militant than it did in 2012…
I want folks to not take for granted that the Democratic Party of the last eight years is what we will have going forward. And we need to make sure the voices of ordinary progressives, of grass roots folks, of people in communities are heard [and the Congress knows] there is a hunger for diplomacy in the party. I just really fear the possibility of the Democratic Party slipping backwards because we’re not holding them to the kind of standards we hope for. We saw too many of them embrace the war in Iraq not too long ago.
The Democratic Party platform is here. While it does urge cultural exchange with Iran, it includes a lot of militant language:
We will continue the work of this administration to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon and will not hesitate to take military action if Iran races towards one…
Democrats will also address the detrimental role Iran plays in the region and will robustly enforce and, if necessary, strengthen non-nuclear sanctions. Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. It violates the human rights of its population, denies the Holocaust, vows to eliminate Israel, and has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the Middle East. Democrats will push back against Iran’s destabilizing activities including its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, counter Iran’s ballistic missile program, bolster the capabilities of our Gulf partners, and ensure that Israel always has the ability to defend itself.
Here is the 2012 Democratic Platform. There is no language about Iran as a sponsor of terrorism and a steady emphasis on diplomacy:
President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution. 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. But we have an obligation to use the time and space that exists now to put increasing pressure on the Iranian regime to live up to its obligations and rejoin the community of nations, or face the consequences.
Hillary Clinton personally intervened to make sure this year’s platform was pro-Israel, says her former State Department aide. Clinton may also have felt pushed by the Republicans. The 2016 Republican Party platform is far more belligerent than the Democratic platform. It calls the Iran deal “a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners and non-binding on the next president.”