A report from Foreign Policy claims that Joe Biden personally intervened to make sure the word “occupation” was omitted from the Democratic Party platform.
According to three sources familiar with the discussions, Biden’s move came after heavy pressure from pro-Israel groups. Aides of the presumptive Democratic nominee also called progressive delegates and encouraged them to drop the demand for occupation language.
Last month, the Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly rejected a motion to condition aid to Israel and add the word “occupation” to the platform. The vote was 34-117. As Josh Ruebner reported at Mondoweiss, the proposed motion was actually a watered down version of a stronger amendment that had been authored by Palestinian-American delegates.
Eight Palestinian-American DNC delegates sent a letter to the platform committee, drawing attention to the fact they were cut out of the drafting process while pro-Israel voices were openly welcomed. “Expressing unwavering support for a country that continues to thumb its nose at international law while it steals Palestinian land, entrenches apartheid, and denies our families’ basic human rights is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to us; it is unacceptable to a growing majority of the Democratic Party; and it should be unacceptable to every American who aims for true freedom, justice, human rights, and democracy,” it reads.
In recent weeks, Biden has faced pressure from antiwar groups looking for a more progressive foreign policy from the former vice president. A letter criticizing Biden’s hawkish inner circle has been signed by over 275 Democratic delegates, almost all of them supporters of Bernie Sanders.
The Foreign Policy piece quotes Arab American Institute co-founder, and 2016 Democratic platform committee delegate, James Zogby on the omission. “I’m baffled by the refusal to put the word ‘occupation,’ this is the first time we have mentioned the word ‘settlement’ and the first time we have called for an independent, viable Palestinian state. It’s a better platform, but it’s 30 years behind the times. No votes to lose by mentioning the word ‘occupation,'”, he told the publication.
You can read the entire piece at Foreign Policy’s website.