Why won’t Democrats go as far as Clinton did on Israel?


Josh Ruebner writes in The Hill on the Democratic National Committee’s failure to go further on criticism of Israel:

The tension in the air at the St. Louis Grand Hotel was palpable as the Democratic National Convention’s platform drafting committee’s meeting stretched well beyond its scheduled early Friday evening adjournment and into the early hours of last Saturday morning.

After a spirited and, at times, contentious, daylong set of debates on issues such as whether the party should endorse a $15-per-hour minimum wage, support abolishing the death penalty, and back a carbon tax on fossil fuel use, the 15 committee members tensed as they prepared for the final, and perhaps most highly anticipated, amendment to its draft platform.

Crafted with “direct input” from Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), according to James Zogby, a Sanders campaign appointee to the drafting committee, the amendment called for “an end to [Israeli] occupation and illegal settlements so that they [Palestinians] may live in independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”

At first blush, the language of the amendment appeared noncontroversial. After all, the Obama administration has spent the past eight years pursuing these same policy goals. And presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as President Obama’s first secretary of State, spoke out vigorously against Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestinian land and the imperative of ending Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, an occupation which just entered its 50th year.

The Obama administration “wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions,” Clinton stated emphatically in a 2009 press conference with the Egyptian foreign minister. “We think it is in the best interests of the [negotiating] effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease.”

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