Yesterday we reported about a Pew Research poll which demonstrated that Liberal Democrats were not fans of the Jewish State, and recalled the four pro-Israel planks removed from the 2012 Democratic Platform and how the delegates booed when one of the planks about Jerusalem was put back. Based on people put on the DNC platform committee, it looks as if the Democratic Party is looking to continue backing away from supporting Israel.
It seems that the DNC Platform Committee is loaded with people who are not exactly friends of the Jewish State. Among those Bernie Sanders added were James Zogby and Cornel West. (Note: Rep. Keith Ellison was also placed on the committee; while he leans toward the Palestinian side, he is not the same kind of froth-at-the-mouth Israel hater as Zogby and West). Hillary’s picks include some who should be worrisome to Israel supporters: Ambassador Wendy Sherman and Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden. One of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s picks was California Rep. Barbara Lee, a longtime critic of Israel.
James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, has a long history of anti-Israel rhetoric. He has referred to Israelis as “Nazis,” and has called Israel’s actions in protecting herself from terrorism “a Holocaust.” He has also described sitting members of Congress as “Israel Firsters,” an anti-Semitic charge that implies dual loyalty to the Jewish state.
“Zogby has two goals: to make Arab Americans more powerful than Jewish Americans and to be their preeminent leader,” Yehudit Barsky, a fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, wrote in a profile about Zogby’s anti-Israel attitudes.
In a 2014 column, he tried to sell the falsehood that Arafat never turned down an offer from Israel and turned to violence instead.
My first observation is that the myths that defined my visitor’s views of the conflict are ahistorical. A prime example is the fervently held notion that “Arafat turned down the best offer ever and turned to violence.” This was first put forward by then President Clinton in 2000. It was a great applause line, but it just wasn’t true.
When Israel launched an operation against Hamas because of repeated terrorists attacks and the tunnels constructed to enable them to kill Israelis, Cornel West has also launched repeated attacks at Israel, especially related to its ability to defend itself. West stated that Israeli actions in 2014 were a “crime against humanity.” He’s directed tremendous vitriol at Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that there was “much blood on the hands of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” West has also been a long-time supporter of the BDS movement aimed at Israel. And has called President Obama a war criminal for supporting Israel. (Gee, I wonder what he would say if Obama did support Israel.)
Zogby and West’s placement in such a prominent position within the Democratic Party highlights the changing face of the Democratic Party, as does some of Hillary Clinton’s and Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s picks.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman may not be classified as an Israel hater. In fact, she is Jewish. But keep in mind, as a Reform Jew she does not have the same theological connection to Israel as the rest of the faith. This is not a put down just a fact. Sherman is a supporter of the Obama/Clinton anti-Israel policies and was one of the chief negotiators of the P5+1 deal, which enables Iran to remain an existential threat to Israel. Therefore, on both accounts she is not concerned about the security of Israel or the lives of the 8+ million people who live there.
Center for American Progress (CAP) head Neera Tanden is not necessarily anti-Israel, but CAP has been accused of being anti-Israel and worse. In the lead up to the last election, Politico published a piece about how CAP was fighting to change the Democratic Party to the Anti-Israel party. Stories by CAP bloggers had appeared in the vehemently anti-Israel fringe publication The Electronic Intifada. CAP bloggers have also accused American Jews of a dual loyalty, calling them “Israel-Firsters.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center went beyond calling CAP anti-Israel; they called them anti-Semitic.
Perhaps the worst infraction of CAP was the creation of the anti-Israel group J-Street, which is explained in the next section.
Rep. Barbara Lee tries to have it both ways. At times she votes for military aid, and claims to be a supporter of Israel. But generally she looks at the Jewish State through the jaded lens of the anti-Israel group J-Street, which endorses her. J-Street was founded in 2008 with help from Center for American Progress (one of Hillary’s people on the committee is the head of CAP) and money from progressive sugar daddy George Soros. It markets itself as kind of left-wing AIPAC. From the very beginning the group went out of its way to emphasize its motto of “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” But as even fellow progressive Alan Dershowitz said about the group, “J Street is neither pro-Israel or pro peace.” The group has little legitimacy in the Jewish Community, but has been promoted by Barack Obama as an important organization.
Rep. Lee also has credentials from the American Arab Institute (AAI). According to the AAI, Lee has a rating of +7, “indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.”
Looking at the record of these people on the DNC platform committee and the liberal move away from support of Israel as shown by the Pew study, do not be surprised if the 2016 platform committee does more than remove pro-Israel planks from the platform, and becomes more overtly anti-Israel.
Cross-posted at The Lid